About sight: Church of the Sign of the Holy Virgin

The Church of the Sign of the Holy Virgin occupies a special place among the Orthodox churches of the Moscow Patriarchate. The baroque church strongly resembles a Catholic church both by architecture and finishing.

Its construction began when the Dubrovitsy estate was owned by Boris Golitsyn, the tutor of the young Tsar Peter I. In 1689 after the Streltsy Uprising Golitsyn asked to pardon his cousin who took part in the uprising. This led to a conflict between Peter I and Golitsyn and the latter had to retreat in his estate. However, already the next year Peter I returned his tutor and conferred a boyar title on him. 

It is believed that B. Golitsyn laid down the church as a token of reconciliation. And being the admirer of the western architecture, he decided to build it in such an unusual style. This project, which was rather bold for that time, he could realize only thanks to his close relations with Tsar, who also was interested in European culture. However, Patriarch Adrian refused to consecrate the church after it was finished in 1696.  But he died in 1700 and the deputy Patriarch Stephen, metropolitan of Ryazan, consecrated the Church of the Sign of the Holy Virgin on February 11, 1704 in the presence of Peter I and his son Alexei.

White stone for the church was taken from the local quarries on the banks of the Pakhra river. The material is easy to process and strong enough for fine pitch thread stone carving of the church.

The white stone pillar-shaped church building in the style of baroque is on the high basement and is surrounded by an open gallery. The octagonal church tower is topped with a gilt crown and not the traditional onion-shaped dome. The height of the church is 42 meters. The walls of the church are richly decorated by the sculptures of saints and angels, as well as flower and plant ornaments. 

Two white-stone sculptures are at the main entrance, on either side of the western stair: those of St. Gregory the Theologian (at the left) with a book and an upheld arm and of John Chrysostom with a book and a mitre at his feet. Just above the entrance, on the roof of the western antechurch is the sculpture of Saint Basil the Great. From inside the church is decorated by high reliefs on Biblical subjects. 

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