Cathedral of the Annunciation | 4Walks
Cathedral of the Annunciation
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In the southern part of the Cathedral Square on the edge of the Borovitsky Hill the Blagoveshenskiy Cathedral, one of the oldest and the richest with works of art monuments of the Moscow Kremlin, stands.

Constructed within the period from 1484 till 1489 under Ivan III, the Grand Duke and sovereign of All Russia, the Annunciation Cathedral has a special significance in the history of the Russian architecture, since most of the buildings of the new Grand Ducal residence were built by Italian architects. The cathedral became an outstanding monument of the national architectural tradition. According to the chronicle it was created by Pskov masters. The features of Moscow architecture were combined with details typical for Pskov architecture in the look of the cathedral. It is adorned with beloved in Pskov architecture decorative semicircular niches and "runner" and "curb" belts laid out of special shape bricks. At the same time we see tiers of keeled arched gables and kokoshniks, typical for Moscow architecture. The cathedral is well-decorated, but small, that fully corresponded to its role of the house temple of the grand-ducal family.

Upon completion of the construction in 1489 the cathedral was consecrated in honor of the celebration of the Annunciation (April 7), established in memory of the Good News about the birth of Jesus Christ, brought by the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary.

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In the southern part of the Cathedral Square on the edge of the Borovitsky Hill the Blagoveshenskiy Cathedral, one of the oldest and the richest with works of art monuments of the Moscow Kremlin, stands.

Constructed within the period from 1484 till 1489 under Ivan III, the Grand Duke and sovereign of All Russia, the Annunciation Cathedral has a special significance in the history of the Russian architecture, since most of the buildings of the new Grand Ducal residence were built by Italian architects. The cathedral became an outstanding monument of the national architectural tradition. According to the chronicle it was created by Pskov masters. The features of Moscow architecture were combined with details typical for Pskov architecture in the look of the cathedral. It is adorned with beloved in Pskov architecture decorative semicircular niches and "runner" and "curb" belts laid out of special shape bricks. At the same time we see tiers of keeled arched gables and kokoshniks, typical for Moscow architecture. The cathedral is well-decorated, but small, that fully corresponded to its role of the house temple of the grand-ducal family.

Upon completion of the construction in 1489 the cathedral was consecrated in honor of the celebration of the Annunciation (April 7), established in memory of the Good News about the birth of Jesus Christ, brought by the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary.

In 1508 at the behest of the Grand Duke Vasily Ivanovich, the "church top" was gilded, the icons of the iconostasis "encircled with silver and gold and beads" and the son of the famous artist Dionysius, Theodosius, signed the church "with gold." In 1520 the porches of the cathedral were decorated with a painting.

Originally, Annunciation Cathedral had three domes and was surrounded on four sides by gallery-porches. In the 1560s four small churches were built at the corners of the galleries on the orders of Сzar Ivan IV the Terrible, and two deaf cupolas were erected over the western part of the cathedral. The domes and the roof were covered with gilded brass plates. It was at this time that the picturesque appearance of the nine-domed cathedral, which we see today, was basically formed.

This stage of construction and dedication of the chapels are connected with the most important events of the middle of the 16th century: coronation of Ivan the Terrible, siege of Kazan and one of the victories of the Livonian War, the siege of Polotsk. Obviously, rebuilding and decorating his house church, Ivan the Terrible sought to strengthen its role in the Kremlin ensemble, and to make the temple worthy of the autocratic ruler of a huge state.

The Annunciation Cathedral was a house church of Russian Grand Dukes and Czars throughout the centuries. In the documents of the XVIth and the XVIIth  centuries it was called "a temple on the sovereign court", "in the hallway", "on the crossings", as the building of the temple was part of the complex of the Grand Dukal palace and then the Royal palace, which consisted of separate chambers. Sacred relics were kept in the cathedral from ancient times: hallows, especially revered icons, ancient books, precious vessels. The rector of the Annunciation Cathedral was traditionally the confessor of the Czar.

After the revolution of 1917 the cathedral was closed. In 1918 museums were established in the Kremlin, and all further activities were aimed at studying, restoration and preservation of the cathedral and the works of art stored in it.

In 1989 the Annunciation Cathedral celebrated its 500th anniversary. An exhibition of icons and objects of church, associated with the history of the cathedral was opened in the southern gallery.

Since 1993 the cathedral has resumed church services for the patronal feast of the Annunciation, which are served by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.