CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF THE KIEVAN CAVES

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The image of Our Lady of the Kievan Caves was most probably painted in the 17th century in fresco technique on the central arched gable of the west wall of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe Church. Our Lady was depicted enthroned with Sts Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves, Moscow Hierarchs Peter and Alexis and St Sergius of Radonezh (according to other sources, it was St Philip of Moscow).

Our Lady of the Kievan Caves was especially revered by Russian hierarchs, Her image was placed on the seals of Moscow metropolitans. According to some sources, the image followed the metropolitans when their altar was shifted from Kiev to Vladimir and then from Vladimir to Moscow. Already in the 17th century, the image became famous as a wonderworking one. Thanks to its popularity, the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe Church was sometimes called the Church of Our Lady of the Kievan Caves. A special high porch with stairs was constructed for the passage to the wonderworking image; and later (obviously, in the 19th century) the stone chapel was built.

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Kievan Caves was erected under the first tier of the passage from the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe Church to the Terem Palace. It was somehow built between the west wall of the church and the upper tier of the passage. The chapel was a miniature construction, square in plan, lifted up to the extent when the icon, placed in the niсheof central arched gable of temple’s west façade, became a part of its interior. The chapel had a V-shaped roof, crowned with small cupola with a cross. Covered stairs led to the chapel from the Cathedral Square. Three tiers of stairs were disposed along the south façade of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe Church. The south portal of the temple faced the first tier. It was crowned with a cupola with cross, which underlined its significance as an entrance to the church and chapel. Inside the chapel itself, there was a staircase leading to the wonderworking image of Our Lady of the Kievan Caves.

In the 1930-1940s, the church went under restoration. Initial roofing upon the arched gables, the cupola form and portals of the 17th century (north and west) were reconstructed. At the same time, the chapel was dismantled as a later accrescence. Together with the chapel, the wonderworking image of Our Lady of the Kievan Caves was forever gone.

Roofed porch of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe Church and a passage to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Kievan CavesThe Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe Church and Chapel of Our Lady of the Kievan Caves. View from the southA passage from the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe Church to the Terem Palace. The south façade