Founded by Prince Vsevolod in 1135 after Novgorod's defeat suffered from the armies of the Suzdal Princedom. It is the city's last building commissioned by the prince. In 1136 the completion of the building was prevented by a popular uprising, as a result of which Prince Vsevolod was ousted.
The church was originally designed to follow the traditional princely style of the early 12th century. The modern, finished version includes restorations and additions that range from the 15th to the 19th centuries.