The official opening ceremony for the mosaic decoration on the cupola of St Sava’s cathedral has taken place in Belgrade, attended by President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej, and Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov.
The mosaic decoration of the cupola on St Sava’s Cathedral is one of the most important projects in mosaic decoration, worldwide. At 1,248 square metres in size, implementing the project took a team of 70 Russian and Serbian craftsmen, led by People’s Artist of the Russian Federation Nikolai Mukhin, three years in total.
Alexander Dyukov, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft, commented: “Gazprom Neft has acted as an investor in this project to create a mosaic for the cupola on Serbia’s most important cathedral, and has taken an active role at all stages of its implementation. On acquiring a controlling interest in Neftyanaya Industriya Serbia (NIS) our company became the most important international investor in the Serbian economy. Gazprom Neft is, moreover, the most important corporate social investor in the country, implementing a programme to support Serbia’s culture and preserve its historical heritage.
Our involvement in the project for the internal decoration of the cupola on St Sava’s cathedral is part of Gazprom Neft’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and humanitarian programme in Serbia, and a matter of particular pride. The Russian and Serbian people are bound by a multitude of spiritual and cultural traditions. We have no doubt that St Sava’s cathedral will become a symbol of Russia’s and Serbia’s cultural and spiritual unity.”
The Cathedral of St Sava in Vracar is one of Serbia’s most important architectural monuments and one of the most important Orthodox cathedrals in the world, constructed on the site on which relics relating to St Sava were desecrated by the Ottoman regime in 1595. While architectural plans for the cathedral were drafted in the 19th century, construction commenced only in 1935, having been delayed due to the start of World War II.
Construction of the cupola was completed in 1989, with regular services at the cathedral commencing in 2004.
In 2012 the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia signed a protocol confirming Russia’s participation in the interior decoration of St Sava’s Cathedral, Belgrade. In 2014 the jury of an All-Russia competition for a design for the internal mosaic decoration of the cathedral adopted a design from a team of mosaic craftsmen working with a UNESCO-supported NGO, the “Moscow International Foundation for the Promotion of Culture”, headed by Nikolai Mukhin, a member of the Russian Academy of Arts. At the direction of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Rossotrudnichestvo (the country’s agency for the promotion of Russian language and culture abroad), was appointed the coordinator of this project. Work on the interior decoration of the cathedral is ongoing.