St. Ilya church is considered to be the first orthodox church to have been constructed in the Kievan Rus territory. First time it was mentioned was even before Kievan Rus adopted Christianity. For example, in the chronicle "The Tale of Bygone Years", written by St. Nestor, it is mentioned that the St. Ilya church was where members of the Greek delegation and Kiev ambassadors took part in a service after signing the agreement with the Byzantine Emperor Roman in 945.
The old tale states that the St. Ilya church was built by two Kiev princes, Askold and Dir. During their attack on Constantinople, aimed at conquering the city, there was a fight with some locals. And suddenly something extraordinary happened: during a prayer a robe of Mother of God was dropped into the sea and caused a storm, which eventually drowned the enemy’s ships. The princes of Kiev were so amazed by this that once they returned, they ordered a church to honor St. Ilya to be constructed.
In 1718 a fire happened at the St. Ilya church. 37 years later it was reconstructed, and a chapel of John the Baptists was added. However, in 1811 the church was once again burned down, but rebuilt shortly after. Since then this three-part brick church with a single dome has never changed its appearance.
Historians differ in opinions regarding where the christening of Rus had taken place. Some say it happened near the St. Ilya church, since it’s located on a bank of Pochayna and Dnieper, and, according to the church cannons, a person should be taken to the church right after he was dipped into the water. There is also evidence that this church was where princess Olga prayed for the destiny of her family and Kievan Rus.
In the first half of the XVIII century there appeared a two-storied stone bell tower and a gate, built according to the style of Ukrainian baroque. The construction was led by the famous Ukrainian architect I. Grigorovich-Barsky. Besides the bell tower, there are also household buildings, a baptistery, where you one can get baptized by full immersion into the deep tubs, and a parochial school.
Nowadays the St. Ilya church is a monument for Ukrainian architecture that is administered by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Addrees of the St. Ilya church: Pochayninskaya street, 2.