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Cathedral of the Archangel
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In Russia Michael the Archangel was considered the guardian of warriors. It was him in whose name Aleksandr Nevsky's brother Michael Horobrit (Brave) built a temple in the territory of the Kremlin and Ivan Kalita, the grand duke, had it reconstructed in stone. Over time, under Ivan III, the temple was rebuilt again. Now the Archangel Michael Cathedral is a real decoration of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the main temples on its territory.

The Middle Ages for Russia as well as for Europe were marked by constant battles against both internal and external enemies. At the same time, the internal enemy was conditioned not by the presence of a robber or civil war, but by a simple endemic warfare among the dukes. Appanage princes fought for the land, for money, for the Grand-Dukal throne. Wise politicians were among them, who tried to bring the country of the Russia together. For example, Aleksandr Nevsky.

In any case, there was a war time, and any man considered himself a warrior. And Michael the Archangel was the guardian of warriors. The architect of the new building of the temple was the Italian Aleviz Noviy (the New)  or Fryazin, who came from Milan. He received such nicknames because of his name Aloiz Lamberti da Montagnan hard-to-pronounce for the Russians. Arrived in Russia at the invitation of Ivan III, this man studying Russian culture was imbued with love for everything Russian. He even replaced his delicate Italian costume with an original Russian one.

The temple was intended as a tomb of the Grand Dukes. Aleviz Noviy, like his predecessor, the builder of the Dormition Cathedral, which is located here in the Kremlin, Aristotle Fiorovanti, carefully studied the traditions of Russian temple building traditions and decided to follow them constructing the new one. Thought the Italian master introduced the notes of Italian architecture into the exterior of the building. He divided the facades of the temple into two horizontal parts by a cornice, and substituted the blades, inherent in the Russian architectural tradition with two rows of pilasters, which were crowned with Corinthian capitals. It may seem that the pilasters are supporting the walls, but this is only a decorative solution. Aleviz also separated the arched gables by the cornice and placed carved shells in the interior space..

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In Russia Michael the Archangel was considered the guardian of warriors. It was him in whose name Aleksandr Nevsky's brother Michael Horobrit (Brave) built a temple in the territory of the Kremlin and Ivan Kalita, the grand duke, had it reconstructed in stone. Over time, under Ivan III, the temple was rebuilt again. Now the Archangel Michael Cathedral is a real decoration of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the main temples on its territory.

The Middle Ages for Russia as well as for Europe were marked by constant battles against both internal and external enemies. At the same time, the internal enemy was conditioned not by the presence of a robber or civil war, but by a simple endemic warfare among the dukes. Appanage princes fought for the land, for money, for the Grand-Dukal throne. Wise politicians were among them, who tried to bring the country of the Russia together. For example, Aleksandr Nevsky.

In any case, there was a war time, and any man considered himself a warrior. And Michael the Archangel was the guardian of warriors. The architect of the new building of the temple was the Italian Aleviz Noviy (the New)  or Fryazin, who came from Milan. He received such nicknames because of his name Aloiz Lamberti da Montagnan hard-to-pronounce for the Russians. Arrived in Russia at the invitation of Ivan III, this man studying Russian culture was imbued with love for everything Russian. He even replaced his delicate Italian costume with an original Russian one.

The temple was intended as a tomb of the Grand Dukes. Aleviz Noviy, like his predecessor, the builder of the Dormition Cathedral, which is located here in the Kremlin, Aristotle Fiorovanti, carefully studied the traditions of Russian temple building traditions and decided to follow them constructing the new one. Thought the Italian master introduced the notes of Italian architecture into the exterior of the building. He divided the facades of the temple into two horizontal parts by a cornice, and substituted the blades, inherent in the Russian architectural tradition with two rows of pilasters, which were crowned with Corinthian capitals. It may seem that the pilasters are supporting the walls, but this is only a decorative solution. Aleviz also separated the arched gables by the cornice and placed carved shells in the interior space.

As soon as the construction of the new cathedral began, Ivan III died and was interred in the cathedral, that was not completed at a time, and Duke Vasily III took charge of the construction. And till the rule of Peter the Great the deceased Grand Dukes and then the Czars were buried there.

In the latter half of the XVIth century the cathedral was surrounded by galleries. The temple was painted immediately, but the only painting of the period from 1652 till 1666 that is extant was made under S. Ushakov and represents the exact copy of the previous one. The old painting are present only in the deacon, where Ivan the Terrible was buried.

 

The temple is five-domed, cross-domed type. The domes of the cathedral are disproportionately decentered to the east, which is not very common for Russian architecture. Pillars, or columns, are basilic, in contrast to the round ones in the Assumption Cathedral built by Aristotle Fiorovanti. A two-tiered porch was placed in the western part of the temple for the Duсal family, with a side-chapel of St. Achilla.

In the middle of the XVI century two chapels were attached to the cathedral: to the northern apse in honor of the martyr Warus and to the south apse in honor of John the Baptist. Both side-chapels are single-domed with separate entrances from the side of the square.

 

The really fascinating thing about the Cathedral is that it is the czars’ burial place for the Rurik as well as the Romanov dynasties. It contains 46 tombs of representatives of the royal dynasties beginning from Ivan Kalita and ending with the brother of Peter the Great Ivan Alekseevich. Boris Godunov was also buried here; the body of the founder of the failed dynasty was thrown out of the cathedral and transferred to the the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra (Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius) by Lzhedmitry (False Dmitry). There are also the relics of the saints Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich and Mikhail of Chernigov. The iconostasis of the Archangel Michael Cathedral is also of particular interest. It was installed in 1681, and its icons were painted, in most, at the same time. One of the first and the oldest of hagiographic icons of Michael the Archangel is the main shrine of the Cathedral. According to a legend, its creation is connected with the wife of Duke Dmitry Donskoy Eudoxia.

 

The history of the cathedral was not always majestic and beautiful; adversity touched the walls of this cathedral. The first challenge occurred at the time of the Patriotic war of 1812. During the seizure of Moscow by the French troops Napoleon's camp kitchen and a warehouse of provisions was located in the altar of the cathedral. During the revolution of 1917 the Cathedral was badly damaged while the Kremlin was under attack, and was closed for the whole year. In 1929 the remains of Czaritzas and Grand duchesses were put into the Cathedral after the demolition of the Kremlin's Ascension monastery. In 1955 it became a museum, and in 1991 Patriarch Alexy II held a service over the relics of Dmitry Donskoi canonized in 1988.

Now there are three altars in the temple: the central one in honor of Michael the Archangel, the southern chapel of the Conception of John the Baptist, the Northern side-chapel of the martyr of Warus and the aisle of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos above the Western entrance. Particularly interesting about the temple is the fact that time did not apply so much effort to destroy it, as people did. The temple was fired at, closed, and then repaired. In 1970th restoration was carried out and by the end of the century the closed cathedral was reopened. Almost all the Russian churches bore such ups and downs in their history.

The temple is very beautiful and is undoubtedly the merit of the Italian architect Aleviz Fryazin. The fate of the great Italian, who has become Russian in spirit, is tragic: he died from an accidental gunpowder explosion, but managed to erect 11 churches according to the decree of Vasily III. A truly great contribution to the development of Russian architecture was made by a foreigner, and only a feeling of sincere love for this country could be his inspiration.

The temple is five-domed, six-pillared, five-apsidal, eight-primal with a narrow room separated from it by walls in the western part (on the second tier there is a place for choirs, intended for the women of the royal family). It is made of bricks and decorated with white stone. The motifs of the Italian Renaissance architecture (order pilasters with vegetable capitals, "shells" in arched gables, multi-profile cornices) are widely used in walls decoration. Originally the chapters of the temple were covered with black-shaded tiles, the walls were probably painted red, and the details - white.

The interior has paintings of the period from 1652 till 1666 (Fedor Zubov, Yakov Kazanets, Stepan Ryazanets, Iosif Vladimirov and others, restored from 1953 to 1955), carved wooden gilded iconostasis of the period from XVII to XIX centuries (13 m height) with icons of the XV, XVI and XVII centuries, chandelier of XVII century. The murals of the XVI century was knocked down and painted again within the period from 1652 to 1666 according to the old tracing by the icon painters of the Armory Chamber.