The establishment of the new political system in 1136 y. and the emergence of new forms of patronage necessarily affected the arts of Novgorod. Painting, and even more so architecture, acquired a more democratic character. The last princely building to be erected within the city limits was, in all probability, the Church of St. John the Baptist - in - Opoki. It was constructed by Prince Vsevolod Mstislavich in 1127 - 1130 yy., who, after the loss of St. Sophia's, vainly sought to create an alternative centre for Novgorod's political life, one which might eventually supplant St. Sophia's.

In the latter half of the twelfth century, much church building was done in accordance with the requirements and tastes of the boyar and merchant patrons, and a new type of church evolved: a four - pier structure, square in plan, and much simpler and smaller than the grand princely churches of the preceding period.

The new type of church also differed from the old in its interior arrangement. In the princely church, the privileged group - the Prince, his family and court, their attendants, and the elite of Novgorod - were separated from the rest of the congregation. They occupied magnificent choir galleries flooded with light which were exclusively reserved for them while the majority of the worshippers stood below. In this respect the new churches may be called more democratic. They had simple wooden galleries which had subsidiary functions and were closed to the public; and the congregation heard the service below.

A multitude of such churches were constructed at this time - simple and unassuming in design, small in size, but conveniently situated at a stone's throw from each other among the houses of the citizens. Their construction might be financed by street householders' associations, by the Lord Archbishop, by merchant guilds, or by the boyars. As the only public building in an area, the church naturally became the centre of its political and business life. Church basements might be used for storing goods; citizens would bring their property there during a fire; the brotherhoods, a sort of political club, would assemble for feasts near the church. Some churches had chronicles of their own; one of such chronicles, written by Herman Voyata, priest of the street church of St. Jacob in the Nerev End, was ultimately incorporated in the archiepiscopal chronicle compiled at St. Sophia's (which has survived to our day in numerous copies included in different Russian collections of chronicles).

The Church of St. Parasceve Piatnitsa built in 1156 y. by "overseas traders" in the Market Square must have been the first church of the new type. The Annunciation Church at Arkazhi (1179 y.), and the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul - on - Sinichya (Titlark) Hill (1185 - 1192 yy.) also belong to this class of religious buildings. But the most outstanding among them was the Church of Our Saviour - on - Nereditsa - Hill, a monument of world renown. Destroyed during the War of 1941 - 1945 yy. by Nazi artillery fire, it was rebuilt and restored after the war, though without its fresco decoration, which was beyond saving.