Archangel Cathedral in the Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin was the burial vault of the tsar family. It was the resting place for all Muscovite princes and Russian tsars from Ivan I Kalita to Alexei Mikhailovich, the father of Peter I.

The first Russian emperor Peter I moved the tsar family vault to St. Petersburg. He and all the Russian emperors after him, as well as the members of their families, were already buried at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, while at Archangel Cathedral there were buried all the tsars before Peter I.

The Cathedral of the Archangel St. Michael is the full name of the church, which had been the tsar family vault for several centuries. The first stone building of the Archangel Cathedral was erected on this place by the Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan I Kalita in 1333, but the small church required reconstruction.


The new building of the Archangel Cathedral was constructed by the Italian architect Aloisio the New between 1505 and 1508 in the reign of the tsar Vasiliy III. In outward appearance, the cathedral strongly resembles Italian palaces. The burial place of Moscovite monarchs was at once moved to the cathedral. Although the process of the consolidation of the Russian lands by the Principality of Moscow was finished already under Ivan III, who desisted from paying tribute to the Golden Horde in 1480 and declared himself the Tsar of All Russia, officially this title was given only to Ivan IV, who was subsequently called Ivan the Terrible.

The tombs of the Ryurik dynasty were placed along the walls of the Archangel Cathedral. The first tomb of Ivan IV the Terrible and his two sons was put in the chancel. The tombs of the Romanov dynasty were in the center of the cathedral. Alexei Mikhailovich was the last Russian tsar who was buried within the Archangel Cathedral.

Boris Godunov is the only Russian tsar who wasn’t buried at the Archangel Cathedral. The boyar Boris Godunov didn’t belong to any tsar dynasty, and, actually, usurped the throne in 1598. He ruled over Russia until 1606 when the Time of Trouble began and most part of the country was occupied by the Polish and Swedish troops. Under the following tsar Vasiliy IV Shuyskiy his remains were taken away from the Archangel Cathedral and interred at the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra.

The most venerable sacred things of the Archangel Cathedral are the relics of the sanctified members of the tsar family: grand prince of Kiev St. Michael of Chernigov and tsarevitch Dmitry (younger son of Ivan the Terrible).