CHAPEL OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

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After the Grand Kremlin Palace was erected in 1847, the Church of the Nativity of St John the Baptist was demolished by order of Nicholas I, as it obstructed the “… beautiful view from Zamoskvorechie (literally “behind the Moskva River”) district on the newly built palace. After the demolition of the temple, which was located 100 metres from the Borovitsky gates, the altar of the side chapel of St Varus was transferred to the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, while the altar of the Church of the Nativity of St John the Baptist was placed in the Borovitskaya Tower and consecrated on 2 May 1848 (in 1847 acс. to Bartenev).

At the same time, the Chapel of St John the Baptist was built adjacent to the Borovitskaya Tower wall. A stone staircase led through the chapel to the church, which was a large, bright nave with a five-tiered iconostasis. The cross from the side chapel of St Varus crowned the porch of the entrance to the Borovitskaya tower. This porch is clearly seen in the 19th-century photographs – judging by its architectural appearance it must also have been also built in the mid-19th century in order to emphasise the entrance to the newly-arranged church and its chapel. The original cross from the dismantled church was fixed to the wall above the marquee and covered with a hood.  

The Borovitskaya tower suffered damage during the bombardment of the Kremlin between 27 October and 3 November 1917, and the church was closed. Nowadays, the porch with the cross is disassembled and there's a newly made ordinary door in its place.

Chapel of St John the Baptist at the Borovitskaya Tower of the KremlinArmoury Chamber and Borovitskaya TowerChapel of St John the Baptist at the Borovitskaya Tower of the Kremlin. Enlarged view