About Annunciation Cathedral: Annunciation Cathedral

One of the oldest cathedrals in Moscow, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Sobornaya (Cathedral) Square of the Moscow Kremlin, was constructed in 1489, only 10 years after the main church of Russia, the Cathedral of Dormition (or Assumption Cathedral). And unlike the other churches of the Moscow Kremlin Annunciation Cathedral was constructed by the Russian and not Italian architects Krivtzov and Myshkin.

Several decades earlier these Pskov architects also erected the Cathedral or Dormition but the unfinished building suddenly collapsed because of an earthquake and the new building of the cathedral was constructed by the Italian architect Aristotele Fioravanti. However, they were forgiven and Muscovite princes entrusted them with the task of building the family church. 

The white stone Cathedral of Annunciation was erected on the site of the wooden church of the same name, which was built in 1397 in the reign of the tsar Vasiliy I. The wooden church was painted by the famous icon painters Andrei Rublev and Theophanes the Greek. It was at this church that the wedding, christening and other church ceremonies of the tsar family were held.

The stone Cathedral of Annunciation is quite rightly considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Moscow Kremlin. The iconostasis included the icons of Andrei Rublev brought from the former cathedral and mounted in silver and gold settings.

The images of the ancient Greek philosophers on the church porch are another particular feature of the Cathedral of Annunciation: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Plutarch and the others. The presence of their images in an Orthodox church is connected with Greek priests who were numerous in the Russian lands about that time. These Greek priests often cited their fellow countrymen in their sermons.

In the time of Ivan the Terrible there were added to the Cathedral of Annunciation the covered gallery, in the left side of the cathedral, and the porch of Ivan the Terrible. Ivan the Terrible attended religious services at the covered gallery, since in spite of the church laws he married for the fourth time and so could not enter the main prayer area during the services.

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