Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral
The main religious construction of the Old Town
The cathedral was established during the late 14th century, but its expansion continued till the 19th century. During the Turkish occupation (1672-1699) it was turned into a Moslem Mosque and the 36-meter-high minaret was erected in front of the building. Anyone visiting the area can still see the minaret standing in front of the cathedral.

After the Turks returned Kamianets back to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the officials decided to add a gilded statue of the Saint Mary on top of the minaret. The statue is an embodiment of the fourth vision of St. John Chrysostom, mentioned in the Apocalypse, according to which the Saint Mary descends down the golden sky, with a halo of 12 stars above her head and a crescent moon under her feet. On the ground (replicated by a globe in the sculpture) a serpent with ten heads can be seenlying down. The globe and the crescent moon look similar to the Islamic symbols of the moon and the sun. Legend also has it that the Saint Mary is a depiction of Christianity’s victory over Islam.

After the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation the church was restored and renovated several times. The biggest restoration project (immediately after the Turkish withdrawal) took several decades to complete. The church was raised from its ruins. Bishop Nicholas Dembowskyi became in charge of managing the funding that would be required for the renovation of the church. To honor his memory and his service to the church, a Coat of arms of Dembowskyi family was later carved above the main cathedral entrance. The bishop’s heart, according to his will, stayed forever in one of the church naves and was embalmed in a stone bowl.

Also, the famous tombstone of Laura Pshezdetska created by the Professor of St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, Victor Brodsky in 1874, can be found here and is considered a gem of Kamianets’ museum collection. Despite the fact that for the most part of the 20th century, the cathedral did not hold any services, it somehow managed to survive demolition. In the Soviet period, the cathedral functioned as –the “Museum of the Religion’s and Atheism’s History”. This helped preserve the cathedral’s interiors.

These days the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral is a fully functioning church and regularly holds services in Polish and Ukrainian. The services are usually accompanied by organ music. The bishop ordered the organ instrument built by the Austrian company "Karl Hess” and waslater installed in the cathedral in 1856. The instrument has two manuals, 20 registers and 972 pipes (16 mm to 2 m long). It is one of the oldest existing organs in Europe.

The Triumphal arch of the cathedral that leads into a courtyard was built in honor of King Stanislaw August Poniatowskyi of Poland’s visit to Kamianets in November 1781.
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