Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles

Moscow, Russia

The Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles forms part of the same building as the Patriarch's Palace. Although building began in 1640, the whole ensemble is primarily associated with Patriarch Nikon (1652 - 1658), whose tenure as head of the Russian Church was marked by the schism that separated the Old Believers from the official church, and by ongoing conflict with Tsar Aleksei.

The site of the Palace dates back further, however. Since the early 14th Century this plot of land had been the Metropolitan's, and then the Patriarch's estate. The Cathedral forms the grand entrance to the luxurious Palace, and was built on Nikon's own initiative - the atrium of the church led directly to the Patriarch's stone cell. The design of the Cathedral is based on the old churches of Vladimir and Suzdal, with four supporting columns, five cupolas, and a high, two-tiered porch on the northern face. Although the smooth, somewhat austere exterior of the building is unobtrusive, the original interiors of the Palace were reportedly astonishingly lavish, rivalling the Tsar's own Terem Palace in luxury and wealth.

The five-tier iconostasis in the Cathedral was transferred here from the Ascension Monastery, which was destroyed in the 1920s. The Cathedral also contains images of Saints Peter and Paul drawn in the 12th Century, which were a gift to Peter the Great from the papacy. The Cathedral was closed down in 1918, and the ground floor of the Palace and Cathedral now houses the Museum of 17th Century Life and Applied Art, which contains a number of icons from various of the Kremlin cathedrals, as well as furniture and ecclesiastical costumes from the time.

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Founded: 1640-1653
Category: Religious sites in Russia

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yildirim Kirgoz (2 months ago)
Must see. Beautiful cathedral in Byzantine style interior. It reminds of saint sauveur in İstanbul and to some extent haghia sophia.
Andrey Novoselov (5 months ago)
For many centuries the Assumption Cathedral had been the state and cultural center of Russia: Great Princes were set for reigning and local princes swore fealty, inaugurations of Tsars and coronations of Emperors took place here. Bishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs were inaugurated, statements and ceremonial documents were publicly read, church services before military campaigns and in case of a victory were held at the Assumption Cathedral. The first stone cathedral’s foundation was laid in 1326 by the first Moscow Metropolitan Peter and Prince Ivan Kalita (Money-bag). In late XV century, Great Prince Ivan III who had consolidated all Russian princedoms under the power of Moscow, began the construction of the new residence from rebuilding of the Assumption Cathedral. It was erected by a specially invited Italian architect in 1479. The new Assumption Cathedral by Aristotle Fioravanti was erected on the place where two older churches had once stood. All the stages of the main state cathedrals construction were described in chronicles in details. Laying of the foundation stone of the Assumption CathedralThe Assumption CathedralThe Assumption Cathedral The Italian architect was suggested to create after the model of the Assumption Cathedral of Vladimir, the five-domed cross-and-cupola church of the XII century. Working on the cathedral, Aristotle Fioravanti managed both to repeat the main points of the well-known cathedral and to combine them with the Renaissance's idea of architectural space. Because of ceremonial functions, particular attention was paid to the cathedral's interior. Its wall-paintings, icons and various secular utensils are artworks of international artistic value. The murals of 1642-1943 and the grand iconostasis of 1653 create the present-day look of the cathedral. In front of the iconostasis you can see Tsar's, Tsarina's and Patriarch's praying-seats. The Tsar's one is of special interest. At the south-western corner higher its bronze marquee. In XIV-XVII centuries, the Assumption Cathedral was the burial place of the Russian Orthodox Church heads — Metropolitans and Patriarchs. After the Revolution of 1917, the Assumption Cathedral became a museum. Making the exposition, the staff tried to preserve the interior. Thanks to permanent restoration works practically all the icons and murals were open up. Since 1990, church services have been recommenced.
Vasilis Kos. (8 months ago)
A one of a kind monument of the Orthodox Church!
Oleg Naumov (9 months ago)
Cathedral of the Holiest Assumption of Virgin Mary the Mother of God built in 1475-1479 by Italian architect Aristotele Fiorovanti (1415- after 1485) from Bologna. He built this cathedral to replace previous one built in 1327 and destroyed by the earthquake. All Russian Tsars and later Emperors were crowned here. Aristotele Fiorovanti made brilliant career in Russia. Since he was the architect and military engineer he was promoted to position Chief Military Engineer and Master of Artillery Train bu Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow (1440-1505). Today we can say that Fiorovanti was the Chief Marshall of Artillery and combat engineers. Visitors are allowed to take non commercial photo without flash light and tripod.
Gerardo Martínez Hernández (16 months ago)
Is an amazing place. Only is needed time.
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