The village of Gorodnya stands in a scenic location to the west of Batetsky. It used to be a large settlement, Dmitriyevsky Gorodensky Pogost. Ancient burials near the village of Radgostitsa and mounds on the bank of the Udraika River indicate that people permanently settled there more than 1,000 years ago.
The pogost was named after the Church of Dmitry Solunsky built at the dawn of time.
In 1380, Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy triumphed in the Battle of Kulikovo, in which soldiers from Gorodnya also fought. Following that victory, cathedrals started to spring up all over Rus in honour of the patron saint of the Russian army, Dmitry Solunsky. The records of the first church dedicated to Dmitry Solunsky the Great Martyr in the Gorodnya Pogost can be found in the 1899 Chronicles of St Petersburg Diocese. The records state: “A stone church, with a bell tower also made of stone, was built in 1826 on the donations of a landowner. The church has three altars. The main altar is consecrated as the Altar of Dmitry Solunsky the Great Martyr; the second is dedicated to the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God, and the third to Sts Florus and Laurus the Martyrs.” The original church underwent major restructuring in the early 20th century. Therefore, it is dated as an early 20th century site in the Catalogue of Novgorod Historical and Cultural Monuments. The church is located on a hill in the centre of the village, surrounded by a cemetery. The volumetric and spatial composition of the church is mainly square, with a flat ceiling, topped with five blind drums with onion domes, and altar extensions with three semicircular apsides. Galleries are connected to the main structure on the western, southern and northern sides. The three-level bell tower has a tent-shaped top. The church is a typical example of pseudo-Russian religious architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The church survived the formative years of the Soviet power and the Great Patriotic War. However, the bells were removed in the 1960s and the churchware stolen. In the early 2000s, local residents initiated restoration of the most beautiful church in the Batetsky District. Private donations funded the comprehensive restoration. A side chapel was consecrated in 2004.
Today, the white-stone six-dome church reaches up into the blue sky, stunning people with its awe-inspiring beauty. Any city would envy such a majestic landmark. For residents of Gorodnya and the entire Batetsky District, this church and the history of its miraculous restoration is a symbol of revival and the spiritual power of this land.
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