The Assumption Cathedral

For many centuries the Assumption Cathedral had been the state and cultural center of Russia: Great Princes were set for reigning and local princes swore fealty, inaugurations of Tsars and coronations of Emperors took place here. Bishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs were inaugurated, statements and ceremonial documents were publicly read, church services before military campaigns and in case of a victory were held at the Assumption Cathedral. The first stone cathedral’s foundation was laid in 1326 by the first Moscow Metropolitan Peter and Prince Ivan Kalita (Money-bag). In late XV century, Great Prince Ivan III who had consolidated all Russian princedoms under the power of Moscow, began the construction of the new residence from rebuilding of the Assumption Cathedral. It was erected by a specially invited Italian architect in 1479.

The new Assumption Cathedral by Aristotle Fioravanti was erected on the place where two older churches had once stood. All the stages of the main state cathedrals construction were described in chronicles in details.

Laying of the foundation stone of the Assumption CathedralThe Assumption CathedralThe Assumption Cathedral

The Italian architect was suggested to create after the model of the Assumption Cathedral of Vladimir, the five-domed cross-and-cupola church of the XII century. Working on the cathedral, Aristotle Fioravanti managed both to repeat the main points of the well-known cathedral and to combine them with the Renaissance's idea of architectural space.

Because of ceremonial functions, particular attention was paid to the cathedral's interior. Its wall-paintings, icons and various secular utensils are artworks of international artistic value. The murals of 1642-1943 and the grand iconostasis of 1653 create the present-day look of the cathedral. In front of the iconostasis you can see Tsar's, Tsarina's and Patriarch's praying-seats. The Tsar's one is of special interest. At the south-western corner higher its bronze marquee.

In XIV-XVII centuries, the Assumption Cathedral was the burial place of the Russian Orthodox Church heads — Metropolitans and Patriarchs.

After the Revolution of 1917, the Assumption Cathedral became a museum. Making the exposition, the staff tried to preserve the interior. Thanks to permanent restoration works practically all the icons and murals were open up. Since 1990, church services have been recommenced.