Church of the Intercession - Serving Man and Beast

The Church of the Intercession at Fili in Moscow was built between the years 1693 and 1694. It is considered a spectacular example of Baroque style and is located in the western suburbs of Moscow, near the Bolshaya Filyovskaya street. The village of Fili was presented to Prince Lev Naryshkin by his nephew, Peter the Great, in the 17th century. Prince Naryshkin commissioned the Moscow church that was built in the shape of a cross, a Greek cross to be precise, with short rounded annexes. The Church of the Intersession at Fili takes on the form of a tiered cake, complete with a glistening golden onion dome and beautiful white stone ornamentation.

Peter the Great often attended church here, and it is believed that one of the paintings featured on the pew is a depiction of a younger Peter the Great. Also featuring within the Church of the Intersession at Fili is a smaller chapel, reachable by three staircases. The vault of the church is located at the top of the nine tiered building, with a tent roofed Tsar’s pew located on the ceiling of the building. The Tsar’s pew was created by K. Zolotaryov, a well known craftsman of the 17th century, which has remained the pride of the church.

The role of the Church of the Intercession at Fili, changed dramatically in 1812. Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops invaded Moscow and during this time, and the breathtakingly beautiful church was transformed into a tailor’s workshop for the French and an even more heartbreaking purpose, that of stables to the horses of the French troops. Fortunately, the church has been restored since then and now hosts concerts for the people of Moscow, featuring traditional Russian music. The stables have also disappeared and the building restored to its former beauty. It is used for a more honourable purpose today, the organization of religious art and more temporary art exhibitions. The Church of the Intercession at Fili, has become a museum of the Muscovite Baroque.

Although the Church of the Intersession at Fili no longer holds religious services, it is still surrounded by a religious atmosphere and a history of survival. From being a church fit for Prince to the resting place of weary horses, the church has served both man and beast and deserves its place in the history of Moscow.


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