Archangel Cathedral


The Archangel Cathedral is located in the southern part of the Cathedral Square, opposite the Cathedral of the Annunciation. In large cities to build a temple in the name of St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of warriors and princes in their martial exploits, was a must. Moscow was no exception; the Kremlin's first cathedral was erected in honor of St. Michael the Archangel. It is known that in the 12th century the wooden church of St. Michael Archangel occupied the place of the present day. In 1333 by the order of Ivan Kalita the white stone church in the memory of the deliverance of Russia from the Black Plague was erected in the Kremlin. In 1505 the temple was dismantled to be replaced by a new one, even better than the previous. The construction of the temple was led by the Italian architect Aleviz Fryazin. It took him three years to build the new Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel striking the witnesses with its beauty. The new building of the temple was a magnificent example of old Russian architecture in the best traditions of ancient Russian architecture and the Venetian Renaissance architecture. St. Michael the Archangel Cathedral became one of the most elegant buildings of the Moscow Kremlin. The cathedral is crowned with five shining domes: golden and silver. One of the innovations applied by the architect were the white-stone pits. The portals of the temple were richly decorated with carved floral ornament.

The main shrine of the temple is the icon St. Michael the Archangel with scenes from his life. This icon is the symbol of protection of the Russian people and Russian land from enemy invasions. It is also considered one of the highest achievements of ancient Russian icon painting.

The present iconostasis is the second (first iconostasis was destroyed by the fire in 1547) created in 1680-1681.The beautifully decorated temple is pleasing for the eye due to its bright colors. The cathedral features the portrait gallery of the great princes of Kievan Rus ... The images of the brave soldiers are united into a single colorful procession heading for the altar.

The paintings of the cathedral also include the exploits of St. Michael the Archangel. The Cathedral, from the time of its founder, Ivan Kalita, was the tomb of the great Moscow princes and tsars. The most ancient tomb is Ivan Kalita’s himself (died in 1342). It is situated at the southern wall of the cathedral. There are 54 graves in the cathedral or 46 tombs (a tomb might have two or three graves). The tombs are made of white stone. They bear the carved inscriptions in Slavonic lettering telling about the time and the name of the prince or the tsar buried. Buried in the cathedral are Dmitry Donskoy, Ivan III, Ivan the Terrible, his sons and other leaders. Next to the right southeast pillar there is the reliquary of the son of Ivan the Terrible, Prince Dmitry, whose ashes were moved to the Cathedral by the Tsar Vasily Shuiski from Uglich in 1606. Above the tomb there is the white stone carving of gilded autumn. In 1955 it was restored as the monument of history and applied art of the early 17th century to its original condition. The burials in the cathedral continued until Peter I. In the middle of the Cathedral are the burials of the first kings of the Romanov dynasty. Currently, the Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel holds solemn worships. It has never ceased to enthrall the visitors with the magnificence of interior – the bulbous domes, the facades decorated with pilasters, decorative arches, and richly ornamented portals.