Cathedral of the Annuncuation

Cathedral of the Annuncuation

The elegant gold-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation is located near the Grand Kremlin Palace in the southwestern part of the Cathedral Square.

Cathedral of the Annunciation is Moscow's famous temple located on the Cathedral Square and consecrated in the name of the Annunciation. Initially in place of the current stone church was located the wooden Annunciation Church built on stone foundation in the beginning of the 14th century. In the end of the century on the site of the old church a new white-stone cathedral was built to become the chapel for a grand-ducal family. It was in that cathedral that the Grand Princes of Moscow were baptized; there they came to confess. Sometimes there were wedding ceremonies.

The large-scale restructuring of the Kremlin started during the reign of Ivan Kalita included Cathedral of the Annunciation as well. In 1484 the building was dismantled and re-laid. The iconostasis and the icons of the old church were saved and transferred to the new one. The construction works were completed by Russian (Pskov) masters in five years’ time. The cathedral has survived in that condition. Pskov architects managed to give the temple impressiveness perfectly combined with elegant ornamentality - the original straps on the domes and many other elements. The construction of the Cathedral was completed in 1489, and consecrated by the Metropolitan Geronty. At that time the cathedral was crowned with three domes. But in the middle of the 16th century the cathedral boasted nine. This is explained by the fact that it was dedicated to the Annunciation: in Russian church architecture the domes represent the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the Queen of Heavenly Church, which consists of nine ranks of Righteous Heaven and nine ranks of angels.

Being the main cathedral Cathedral of the Annunciation was connected to the tsar’s house and from the east it has a garden with fruit trees and ponds. The southern entrance to the cathedral was designed for the exclusive use by the emperor and his family. The floor of the temple was paved with marble, jaspers, and agates. The iconostasis of the Cathedral is one of the oldest in Russia. It consists of the 14th – 19th – century icons. Many researchers believe that some of the icons were painted by the famous Theophanes the Greek, and several of them were created by the greatest medieval Russian painter Andrei Rublev. The murals of the Cathedral of the Annunciation are of special interest. The walls of the temple are painted with the images of famous Byzantine emperors, the Russian Princes: Vladimir Monomakh, Alexander Nevsky, Daniil of Moscow, Ivan Kalita, Dmitry Donskoy, and Ivan III. Among them you will see Aristotle, ancient Greek poet Menander, Plutarch, Plato, the Roman poet Virgil with scrolls in their hands.

The Cathedral of the Annunciation is the repository of many Orthodox shrines: the image of the Annunciation, the image of Merciful Savior with burning lamps in front of them, the miraculous icon of the Blessed Virgin of the Don, whose owner was Dmitry Donskoy; the most revered in Moscow the miraculous icon of Blessed Virgin Mary Unexpected Joy. The Cathedral of the Annunciation was badly damaged in November 1917 during the Great October Revolution. A year later, the Annunciation Cathedral was closed as the Kremlin itself. It was only in 1955 that the cathedral was re-opened to visitors as a museum.