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These three churches are the 3 largest ( or the 3 of the largest) (talking about size and only) (if someone knows also other bigger please post it :) perhaps there are other big churches that i ignore ) churches in the balkan peninsula.

1)
I start with the oldest first , St. Alexander Nevsky of Sofia
(all info are from www.sofia.com)

The St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral Stauropigial Memorial-Church rises in the center of Sofia, in a big square bearing its name. Its importance is determined by the proximity of the National Assembly, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the ancient St. Sophia Orthodox Church, the Synodal Palace, the Higher Institute of Mechanical and Electrical engineering, the Higher Institute of Art, the St. Cyril arid Metodius National Library and the St. Kliment Ohridskl Sofia University.

Its foundation-stone was laid in 1882, building work began in 1904 and the church was completed in 1912.

Built under the guidance of chief architect Professor Alexander N. Pomerantsev in co-operation with his gifted assistants, architects Alexauder N. Sniirnov and Alexander A. Yakovlev, at present the St. Alexander Nevslky Memorial-Church is a source of legitimate pride for the Bulgarian people and love for the Russian people.

The St. Alexander Nevsky Memorial-Church is an impressive five nave basilica of a cruciform domed type with basic Byzantine style elements, influenced in some parts by eastern models. Its builtup area is 3,170sq.m . and its total volume about 86,000sq.m.
Its external length is 73.50m. and the width 50.52m. From the pavement level to the tower cross, the height of the memorial-church is 50.52 m, that of the central dome 46.27m and of the roof bridge 28m. The main dome has a commanding position over a number of half-domes, rounded and straight on the apses of the church which lend it impressive stateliness. It is balanced by the lighter, soaring tower which gives the entire edifice the character of a monument.
On the eastern side of the monitorial-church there are three altar apses, the central one of which, in comparison with the two lateral, projects and forms a semicircle. Over this apse, from a slightly receding point, rises the semispherical part of the main body of the church. There are similar projections, one on the southern side and another on the northern. Over the semidoms of these projections, on a broad cylindrical drum rests the main dome in the shape of an inverted bowl. Its diameter measures 18 m.
On the western side of the main three-door vaulted entrance of the northern rises the bell tower which ends in a dome. The latter is placed on threefold columns, between which there are wide apertures. Through them one sees the twelve bells, the largest of which is weighs 11,758 kg, the second largest 6,002 kg, the third 2,911 kg and the smallest 10 kg. On a nice and calm day the ringing of the largest bell is heard as far as 30km from Sofia. Below the bells ,it a considerable height over the main entrance is placed the mosaic icon of St. Alexander Nevsky by the Bulgarian artist Professor Anton Mitov.

The interior'of the St. AIexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral Memorial-Church strikes one with its dimensions, the harmony of its architectural lines, its spaciousness and rich artistic decoration. The inside represents three naves and two aisles, the central nave considerably wider and lateral ones. Its central part is placed between four massive pillars which support the drum of the main dome through triangular spherical surfaces. All three naves are connected by high arches while smaller arches link them with the aisles.

Famous Russian and Bulgarian artists took part in the decoration of the St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral. it is in formless which depict the Trinity, sciences from the Old and New Testament, apostles prophets, Russian and Bulgarian saints and some events from the history of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. One is particularly impressed by the murals: "The Atmighty" by the Prof. Peter E. Myassoedov, in the interspace of the central dome; "The Eucharist" by Prof. M. Sudkovski, on the eastern wall of the central altar of the church; "The Wedding at Cana in Galilee) by the well-known mosaicist Prof. Vladimir D. Boiotnov, on the wall surface of the southern arched recess; "Twelve Year Jesus in the Shrine" by Prof. Ivan Mrkvicka, on the wall surface of the northern arched recess; the large fresco "The Last Judgment" by Academician A. A. Kisselev, over the stand of the choir, which is reminiscent of V. M. Vasnetsov's fresco of the same name in Vladimir's Cathedral in Kiev; "The Resurrection of Lazarus" and "The Resurrection of the Son of the Widow from Nain" by A.M. Korin; "The Sermon on the Moun" and "Christ Blesses the Children" by Prof. I. Lanskoi; "The Taming of the Storm" by Prof. Nikola Marlnov; "St. Mary Magdalene" by Assen Belkovski; "St. Ivan of Rila Returns the Gifts to King Peter" by Academician G. Zhelyaskov; "The Temptation of Jesus Christ" and "The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" by Prof. Ivan Mrkvicka. The latter is a mural of great impact, originality and masterful execution.
The iconostases, the big and small bishop's thrones, the pulpit, the rail lattices of the solea, the balustrade of the choir stand, the entire flooring of the church and the seat of the priests along the wall of the altar apse are done in onyx and marble brought from all parts of the world, in a Byzantine style, interspersed with Old-Bulgarian patterns. One is particularly impressed by the small columns in light-green "onyx brazillano"; the two magnificent columns dividing the front of the central iconostasis, freshened by wide bands of light-ochre veined Moroccan (onyx ro"ge); the columns of the small bishop's throne - "rouge oriental"; the dark-green columns of the iconostasis, the pedestal of the thrones and the large columns below the balcony of the choir - "verde di mare", the rectangular tablet with the state insignia of the time placed in the middle of the back wall of the big bishop's throne - "onyx d'or", etc. The walls and pillars of the memorial-church are sheeted to a height of two meters with light-green artificial marble, manufactured by tire Berlin firm "Axeno Brothers", which his a startling and unattainable similarity whit the natural product.
The ceiling of the canopy of the big bishop's throne and the space over the central altar are ornamented with high-grade glass mosaics of a Venetian type, which in the former are figural and in the latter symbolic. The figured [mosaics were designed by the Bulgarian Prof. A. Mitov, and executed In Italy by the firm Paolo Triscornia di Freddo - Carrara. The symbolic mosaics over the central altar were done by the same firm on the spot, after the designs of architect Yakovlev, one of Prof. Pornerantsev's assistants.
The royal gates of the three iconostases and the gates of the chapels in the narthex are in bronze with galvanized gilding on the face. Such are also the cornices over the side altars, the tympanum over the holy gates of the central iconostasis, the crown of the big bishop's throne, etc.
The illuminates in the interior of the church, such as chandeliers, icon-lamps, candlesticks, are in copper alloy with double galvanize(l gilding. They are pieces of exquisite work in Byzantine style done by the firm of "Schmidt and Sohn" in Munich . The largest of the chandeliers, the central one, has three crowns, it hangs at a height of 27m, weighs some 2 000 kg, and has 136 electric candles.
The St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral Memorial-Church is equipped with a special stream and air, installation. It consists of four ventilation caloorific systems which play a dual role. The Vienna's firm "Zentralheizungswerke" supplied the installations. An alarm and intercommunication system ensures the correct and safe operation of this installation. The air conditioning installation and the intercom system are housed in the crypt of the memorial-church.
The crypt runs below the entire interior of the church, porch altar and 1s3.75 m high. Its ceilings are vaulted in various ways and are interesting from an architectural point of view. Here is also the "foundation-stone" of he church , marked by by a large rectangle, covered by a pyramided roof. At present it is used as an exhibition hall and branch of National Art Gallery.
Being the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral on the Balkan Peninsula and one of the most lavishly adorned Orthodox churches in Europe, the St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral Stauropigial Memorial-Church constitutes a valuable and high-quality exhibition of the Christian religion and art, illustrated by more than 400 artists. it also constitutes a major national treasure. Its value is no only to its nominal price but also to the impossibility to replace it.
This Cathedral represents the material expression of gratitude of the Bulgarian people for the remarkable self sacrifices of the 200,000 Russian heroes in the Russo-Turkish Liberation.




front view










2)
St. Panteleimon (ΑΓΙΟΣ ΠΑΝΤΕΛΕΗΜΟΝΑΣ ) of Athens

( I have no technical or other info about this church except that it is a copy of Aghia Sofia and that the height of the central dome is about 45-50 m)








3) St. Apostol Andreas (ΑΓΙΟΣ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟΣ ΑΝΔΡΕΑΣ ) of Patras


Saint Andrew was the first disciple of the Lord.He is known as "Protocletus," meaning the first called.He and another disciple,commonly taken to be John himself, were the first two disciples of the Lord (John 1:35-42).

He was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patras in Achaia, and he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60); and both the Latin and Greek Churches keep 30 November as his feast.

Andrew's body was removed from Patras in 357 under the orders of the Emperor Constantine (son of King Constantine the Great) and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.The skull of St Andrew was kept in Patras until 1460.It was then taken to Rome by Thomas Paleologos, the last ruler of Morea just before the Turks conquer Constantinople .In 1967 it was returned to Patras.

The two churches dedicated to Patras' patron Saint, St Andrew, constitute a national and Pan-Orthodox place of pilgrimage.
The small Church was erected during the 1836-1843 period at the spot where Apostle Andrew died a martyr. It is a basilica work of architect Lyssandros Kaftantzoglou. The whole body icons on the roof depicting scenes from the Bible, Fathers and Patriarchs are works of the great religious painter Dimitris Hatziaslanis, alias known as Byzantios. At the front and on the right side of the Church, near the sanctuary, is located the marble sepulchre of the Apostle. In the mid-4th century, on the initiative of Emperor Constantine, the Holy Relics was transferred to St Apostles' Church in Constantinople. When the Franks occupied the city, the Relics were transferred to Italy. On September 26th 1964, the Saint's Head returned to Patras by Pope Paul and after the actions that the citizens of Patras and the Orthodox Church took.
SAINT ANDREW'S CATHEDRAL (NEW)

The new magnificent Byzantine church was founded in 1908 by King George I and inaugurated in 1974 by Patras' Metropolitan Bishop Nikodimos.
It is the largest and most artistic church in the Balkans and one of the largest across Europe. The supervision of the construction works was initially undertaken by architect Anastasioa Metaxas, and after his death (1937) by architect Georgios Nomikos.
The Church's central dome is ~50 m high and supports a five meter high gold-plated cross and twelve smaller ones, symbolising Jesus and his twelve disciples respectively. The church's capacity is 5.500 persons.
Saint Andrew's well
Next to the old Church it is located Saint Andrew's well. At this spot it used to be located Dimitra's spring, where it operated an oracle for sick people.
The region of the divining spring was the place where Apostle Andrew was teaching. According to tradition, he was crucified next to this spring.



 

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LOL...why me? I'm not that religious...maybe I go to church two or three times a year;)


But all right...this is the Saint Sava Church in Belgrade...they say its the largest Orthodox church in the world. What do you think?




 

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"On a nice and calm day the ringing of the largest bell is heard as far as 30km from Sofia"
yeah right...that's a church bell, not a nuclear explosion. or is my atheist self deaf for church bells?
I've also heard Al Nevsky was the biggest on the Balkans. it's quite plausible that the info is obsolete since st Sava looks very new. and very imposing too. when was it built, I guess around the Kosovo conflict?
 

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braykov1988 said:
"On a nice and calm day the ringing of the largest bell is heard as far as 30km from Sofia"
yeah right...that's a church bell, not a nuclear explosion. or is my atheist self deaf for church bells?
I've also heard Al Nevsky was the biggest on the Balkans. it's quite plausible that the info is obsolete since st Sava looks very new. and very imposing too. when was it built, I guess around the Kosovo conflict?
Planning of it goes way back into the 19th century. The foundations were consecrated in the 1930's and construction halted during WWII. It didn't restart until the 1980's and the exterior was finished last year; 2004
And yes, it is the largest Orthodox church in the world, it can hold 10 000 worshipers.
 

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btw, what was tito's policy on religion? and Milosevic's? in BG and other obsequious Soviet satelites ppl were afraid to go to church as they could have their party membership suspended (sth no one would want).
 

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The Sveti Sava is the biggest just by sight alone.

Is Aya Sofya on the European side of Istanbul? If so, it's surely the largest.

Though it's a museum now, not a church?
 

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Mila said:
The Sveti Sava is the biggest just by sight alone.

Is Aya Sofya on the European side of Istanbul? If so, it's surely the largest.

Though it's a museum now, not a church?
Sveti Sava is larger I believe.:cheers:
 

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Filip said:
Planning of it goes way back into the 19th century. The foundations were consecrated in the 1930's and construction halted during WWII. It didn't restart until the 1980's and the exterior was finished last year; 2004
And yes, it is the largest Orthodox church in the world, it can hold 10 000 worshipers.
I heard 30000 worshippers. Can someone confirm either number?
 

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Bigger than Aya Sofya? Wow...if someone can prove it, please do!

Also...why is Sveti Sava such a symbol of Belgrade in my mind if it is so new? It's like...the Eiffel Tower of Belgrade, in my head. I don't remember ever a time that Belgrade didn't have it in the "historical" feeling way...I never would've imagined it was new. I'd look through paintings from 1700s for it. ;)
 

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braykov1988 said:
btw, what was tito's policy on religion?
Nothing special, stalinists, poor fellows, suffered more than clergymen. The church had just to be discret.

braykov1988 said:
and Milosevic's?
Serbs will hate me for writing that but actually he was church's toyboy. Church was more than favored.

braykov1988 said:
in BG and other obsequious Soviet satelites ppl were afraid to go to church as they could have their party membership suspended (sth no one would want).
First, Yugoslavia has never been an "obsequious Soviet satelite" excepted from 1944 to 1948 but, anyway, the rule remained the same, only "normal" people were allowed to go to church.

Cheers, batko :cheers:
 

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Yup, St Sava really does put us under the impression it was always there. Such a monumental structure either way.

Here's my fav pic, it shows the size, since the Cathedral is towering over 9 storey apartment blocks. OMG
 

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Isn't it retarded how a church can look as though it's in the middle of nowhere in one photo, and in the center of downtown NYC in the other? :D

here is a photo to prove that Aya Sofya is also not in the middle of nowhere, as it looks on the first two pics:

 

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Mila said:
Bigger than Aya Sofya? Wow...if someone can prove it, please do!
Aghia Sophia is the biggest one, but only virtually since it's not a church anymore but a museum as you said after having been used as a mosque for centuries. So Saint Sava is still in the race...

Mila said:
Also...why is Sveti Sava such a symbol of Belgrade in my mind if it is so new? It's like...the Eiffel Tower of Belgrade, in my head. I don't remember ever a time that Belgrade didn't have it in the "historical" feeling way...I never would've imagined it was new. I'd look through paintings from 1700s for it. ;)
Untill the "needle" bridge get built the Saint Sava stuff is the most important thing my weird people has ever built : we still have no decent railway station, a metro network, decent tramway etc... but we have IT now, so we have to love IT, whether we like it or not.
 

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Aya Sofia is way bigger. Filip you should see the aerials of that thing - but like Mila said it is a museum now- so as I guess it doesn't count.

St.Sava is about 70m high - wich is prettty much for a church. It's not finished yet, tough it was used in some ocassions, like Zoran Djindjic's (late serbian prime minister) funeral. There's lot of work on interior being done at the time.
It's "capacity" is 12.000 people, but as some may know we don't have seats in our churches, it is a tradition to stand during the ceremonies - so I guess 12.000 is a crowded atmosphere, but 10.000 is much more comfortable.Symbol of Belgrade - there's a lot to that story, first of all it being built for so long created a kind of a myth. I guess one more thing it's important it's cause it is such a big structure, and up the hill also, and it can be seen from the every part of the city. And of course it's construction was proceeded in th 80s at the end of the commie era, and the uprising nationalism so I guess it's one more reason people worship it so much.
 

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Homer Jay said:
and the uprising nationalism so I guess it's one more reason people worship it so much.
Sure, don't forget, people, that the church has been built on the very place where Saint Sava's relics have been burned by Sinan Pasha. And with this stupid Svetosavlje confusion between Jesus and Saint Sava... :eek:hno:
 
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