St.Andrew, a Christian Apostle had prophesied from the hills of the Dnieper River:”Believe me: on these hills the grace of God will shine forth. There will be a great city here, and the Lord will raise many churches in this place and enlighten all of the Russian land with holy Baptism.” Having said that, St.Andrew had blessed the hills and erected a cross on the slope. Prophecy of the Saint fulfilled. On these hills the city of Kiev has appeared, a head of all the Russian cities, a cradle and stronghold of the Eastern Christianity. St.Andrew became a patron saint of Russia and Ukraine.
In the 11th century Kiev Prince Vsevolod became the first one who commemorated the cross exaltation and built a church on the hills from which the prophecy was told. Many wooden Churches dedicated to St.Andrew and Cross Exaltation have been standing on the slopes above the waters of the Dnieper River until the 18th century but none of them has remained.
The Russian Empress Elizabeth has initiated the St.Andrew’s Church construction and laid the first three founding stones herself in 1744. Elizabeth was intending to build a residence in Kiev and the church was a part of the plan, together with a palace. Imperial Court chief architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli was engaged in this work. Special ground construction of stone was made by Michurin who was responsible for engineering and geology researches, and discovered subterranean waters under the site. Construction works have been in full swing, top experts have rolled their sleeves up, best construction material providers have been involved and more than a thousand of golden slabs have been used for the church interior decoration. Elizabeth planned to take personal care of the church therefore there was no bell tower to call parish for congregation. The church exterior has been finished by 1754 while interior works have been completed five years after the Russian Empress death.
Eventually the church was left without any funding and became property of the Kiev City Council in the end of 18th century. In 1828 the St.Andrew’s Church exterior already looked a bit different due to severe storm that took off the cupolas and they were replaced by the new ones, less beautiful, though all the rest architectural details have been well preserved. Many foundation restorations have been conducted and it is an actual restoration point nowadays too.
Currently this Church is more a Museum of History and Architecture, and is included to the National Conservation area "St. Sophia of Kyiv." It is the major Baroque style church in Kiev, and what we see nowadays looks much closer to what Elizabeth wanted to have as a part of her residence in Kiev. The Church domes were reconstructed in 70th by photocopies of Rastrelli originals from the Albertina Museum in Vienna, and beautiful gilded domes shine again from the Andrew’s Hills.