Ceremony of Unveiling Mosaic in Church of Saint Sava Held in Belgrade

The ceremony of unveiling the mosaic decoration of the dome of the Church of Saint Sava took place in Belgrade, attended by the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, the Patriarch of Serbia Irinej and the Chairman of the Gazprom Neft PJSC Management Board Alexander Dyukov.

Ceremony of Unveiling Mosaic in Church of Saint Sava Held in Belgrade

The decoration of the dome of the Church of Saint Sava is one of the most ambitious projects of mosaic decoration in the world. The total surface covered by the mosaic amounts to 1248 square meters. It took three years of the joint effort of as many as 70 Russian and Serbian masters under the management of the Russian Federation’s national artist Nikolay Mukhin to implement the project.

Gazprom Neft was the investor in the project to create the mosaic of the dome of the largest Serbian church and took an active part in all stages of its implementation. Since it acquired the control package of “Naftna industrija Srbije” shares, the Company has become the largest foreign investor in the Serbian economy. Furthermore, Gazprom Neft is the largest social investor in the country, implementing the program of supporting the culture and preserving the historical heritage of Serbia.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic

Speaking to the attendees, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic brought to mind the centuries-old ties between Serbia and Russia and expressed gratitude for the help to decorate the dome of the Church of Saint Sava: “I especially want to thank the great Nikolay Mukhin for his dedicated and magnificent work that he leaves behind, for future generations of Serbia, but also of Russia. I would like to express gratitude to Gazprom for donating the funds, and especially to President Putin, without whom we would have done almost nothing in this sacred temple, as he came and expressed interest in the continuation of the works. My gratitude also goes to dear Sergey Lavrov, who has come personally, as a friend, to make our 180th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations even more magnificent. I also thank everyone in Serbia who worked for years to build this temple.”

Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, stated: “I want to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in this holy achievement. The President of the Russian Federation paid special attention to this project, initiated by the Serbian President and the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Gazprom Neft gave a great contribution, on its part.”

Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of the Gazprom Neft’s Management Board

“Our participation in the project of interior decoration of the dome of the Church of Saint Sava is part of the humanitarian program of Gazprom Neft in Serbia and something that we take special pride in. The peoples of Russia and Serbia are connected through centuries-old spiritual and cultural traditions. We are sure that the Church of Saint Sava will become one of the symbols of the cultural and spiritual unity of Russia and Serbia, said Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of the Gazprom Neft’s Management Board.

Patriarch of Serbia Irinej

“On this occasion, from this holy place, on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox people, we most warmly thank our brotherly Russia and its President, Mr. Putin, for their love for our people and for the assistance provided for the Church of St. Sava. At the same time, I warmly thank the Russian Orthodox Church and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow for his support in this holy work,” said the Patriarch of Serbia Irinej.

Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion

Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion said: “On behalf of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, I express profound gratitude to Gazprom Neft, whose noble assistance enabled the beginning of this magnificent historical project, the group of artists gathered by the “Moscow International Fund for Cooperation with UNESCO”, as well as the engineers and other specialists who contributed their efforts to the majestic decoration of one of the largest temples in the world.”

The Church of Saint Sava in Vračar is one of the most important architectural structures in Serbia and one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world. It is built on the site where the Ottoman authorities burned the remains of Saint Sava in 1595. The church was designed in the late 19th century, but its construction started as late as in 1935. However, it was postponed due to the outbreak of the World War II.

The erection of the dome was completed in 1989 and regular worship services in the Church started in 2004. Works on interior decoration of the Church continue to this day.

In 2012, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia signed the Protocol on the Russian participation in the decoration of the interior of the Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade. The Protocol on the session of the jury of the All Russian Competition for the project of interior mosaic decoration of the Church was signed in 2014, when the project of the creative association of the mosaic painting workshop of the “International Moscow Fund for Cooperation with UNESCO” was approved, under the management of the Russian Academy of Arts member Nikolay Mukhin. Pursuant to the decision of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, “Rossotrudnichestvo” was appointed the project coordinator.

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