Under an agreement signed by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić (also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Construction of the Cathedral of St Sava in Vracar) and Patriarch Irinej (the Patriarch of Serbia) as part of its ongoing support for humanitarian initiatives in culture and the preservation of Serbia’s historic heritage, Gazprom Neft is to finance the interior decoration of the cupola of the Cathedral of St Sava, Belgrade.
The project will involve the installation of 1,230 square metres of mosaics on the interior of the cupola of the cathedral, using a technique involving mosaic tesserae and natural stone. Preparatory works have already been completed at the cathedral, the most important Orthodox cathedral in the Balkans. Work on the interior decoration of the St Sava Cathedral will be led by People’s Artist of the Russian Federation and full member of the Russian Academy of Arts, Nikolai Mukhin.
Completion of the cupola is expected at the end of 2017. To allow a draft of the mosaic panel to be produced a dummy of the cupola had to be made, displayed in the “Russian House”, Belgrade.
Alexander Dybal, Deputy CEO for Corporate Communications, Gazprom Neft, commented: “As part of the company’s humanitarian programme in the country we are making a major investment in developing the longstanding connections between Russia and Serbia. We are not only a major investor in the Serbian economy, but are also helping to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the Serbian people.”
Constructed on the site on which relics relating to St Sava were desecrated by the Ottoman regime in 1594, the Cathedral of St Sava in Vracar is Serbia’s most important architectural monument and one of the most important Orthodox cathedrals in the world.
While architectural plans for the cathedral were drafted in the 19th century, construction commenced only in 1935, before being delayed due to the start of World War II. While construction of the cupola was completed in 1989, the cathedral was not official opened until 2004.
Gazprom Neft is financing the decoration of the interior of the cupola as part of its implementation of a major programme supporting projects preserving Serbia’s culture and historical heritage, in which the company’s total investment to date stands at EUR4 million.
The Russian Centre for Science and Culture, Belgrade (the “Russian House”, Belgrade) is a branch of Rossotrudnichestvo, a federal agency of the Republic of Serbia. The main purpose of the Russian House is to strengthen friendship, cultural and inter-ethnic ties between Russia and Serbia, as well as promoting the Russian language and Russian science and culture.