History of the Cathedral of the Archangel

The name "The Cathedral of the Archangel" was given to several cathedrals around Russia. The Cathedral of the Archangel that stands in Cathedral Square was constructed between 1505 and 1508. The Cathedral Square is located in the Moscow Kremlin and Italian architect Aleviz Fryanzin Noviy supervised the building of the Moscow church which was erected on the site of a previous cathedral, one which was built in 1333. The original cathedral was built by Ivan Kalita, after the relief of famine. The frescoes that were painted by Feofan Grek or better known as Theophanes Greek in 1399 were not preserved and lost to the demolition of the building that took place on 21 May 1505.

The Cathedral of the Archangel is decorated in frescoes that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, with some of them being painted between the years of 1652 and 1666. Some of the artists that contributed to the frescoes were Joseph Vladimirov, Yakov of Kazan and Stephan of Ryazan. The Italian Renaissance is clearly visible in the stonework of the cathedral walls, with gilded wooded iconostasis. The icons are thirteen meters in height and originate from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The chandeliers in the church date back to the 17th century. Unlike most Kremlin cathedrals, the Cathedral of the Archangel has silver domes, and not a gilded central dome. With the exception of the south gallery, the galleries that surrounded the cathedral were demolished in the 18th century. In 1826, the tent roofed annex was added in the south west corner. The Cathedral of the Archangel was fully restored during 1955.

Russian military victories were celebrated in the cathedral and until the 17th century, many Russian tsar’s and grand princes were buried in the monastery, that remain in the Cathedral of the Archangel today. Names like Dmitri Donskoi, Ivan the Great, Ivan I Kalita and Ivan the Terrible can be found in cathedral. A special area in the Cathedral of the Archangel was dedicated to the son of Ivan the Terrible, who he killed during an agreement. Ivan the Terrible’s son was also named Ivan. In total there are 54 burials, glazed bronze cases and 46 white stone tombstones dating between 1636 and 1637.


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