Church of the Twelve Apostles

The Kremlin territory north of the Dormition Cathedral used to belong to Moscow Patriarch and the metropolitans. The first premises of Moscow metropolitans appeared there in the 15th century. Before, there had been the Church of Solovetsky Miracle-Makers and the court of Boris Godunov. In 1653-1655 by the orders of the Patriarch Nikon the famous Patriarch’s premises, one of the best monuments of civic architecture of the 17th century, were built there. The former Patriarch’s yard consisted of a series of chambers, rooms, ceremonial rooms, passages and stairways. Many of these buildings have survived in their original form. The first floor of the palace was by occupied by utility rooms, the second – by the staterooms and the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles; the third housed private rooms of the Patriarch Nikon, which included a dining room, a bedroom, an office and a treasury.

The small five-domed Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles is a complex of the Patriarch's Palace and is located on the tall passage arches. The temple (originally called the Church of St. Philips) received its name in 1680 after the reconstruction. Then, the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles was decorated with murals; the floor was covered with ceramic tiles; the magnificent iconostasis on carved and gilded frame was installed. The biggest hall of the palace is the Cross Chamber, located on the second floor. Its second name, Myrrh, was given to it because of the fact that it was used for preparing myrrh, the fragrant substance used during baptizing, coronation and consecration of temples. It was supplied to all the Russian churches from there. The Cross Chamber, amazing in its size and arches without supports in the middle, served as the ceremonial hall for receptions. The original interior of the chamber has not survived. In the 18th century in connection with the transfer of the Patriarch's Palace in possession of the Synod, it was completely renovated.

Currently, the building of the Patriarch's Palace houses the Museum of Applied Art and Life in Russia. The exhibition, which tells the story of Russian culture and life in the 17th century, includes about 1,000 items. The two halls of the palace, whose original interior was completely restored, displays old tables, chairs, chests, caskets, table clocks, chess, manuscripts, early books, precious glassware, and jewelry. The Cross Chamber exhibits various household items giving the idea of the panorama of types, genres and techniques of decorative arts and crafts used not only in Russia but also in other countries. There you’ll find copper items of the 17th century, the utensils for special occasions made of precious metals, the unique Gospel settings as well as the diplomatic gifts to the royal court etc. In the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles there is the exhibition of Russian icons of the 17th century.

Near the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles there is a remarkable monument of Russian foundry – the Kremlin Tsar Cannon - the oldest and the largest cannon in the world.