St BASIL CATHEDRAL
DURATION: 45 MIN
- Private Tour to Cathedral
- St Basil's Grave
- Church of Holy Trinity
- Church Entrance to Jerusalem
- Church of Virgin Mary
GRAVE OF THE SAINT BASIL
Saint Basil was a Russian Saint from the 16th century. The church were his grave is situated did not belong to the Cathedral at all. It was built 30 years later at the burial place of the St Basil – after the Cathedral was constructed, and it earlier was separated from the Cathedral with a wall out of brick stones. The historical name of the Cathedral is Intercession of the Holy Virgin. However, the Cathedral is world-known under as Saint Basil Cathedral. Discover, how did it happen that the Cathedral got another name?
On the first floor you will see several showcases with Holy Banners. They were presented to the Cathedral by the Community of the Gonfalon-bearers. The Holy Banners are used in the tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church during the ceremony of the “Cross Walk” which is the part of the Easter service – when all people together with clergy make a walk around the Church building. Discover what happened to this Holy Banners after the Revolution?
FETTERS OF SAINT MONKS
In another showcase on the first floor you will see the fetters made out of iron. This iron fetters were worn by Russian monks in the middle centuries as a sign of special dedication to God. The Fetters were usually worn under the clothes so that other people do not mention them for different time periods: some monks were wearing them just several hours a day, others – during the day and put them off at night, and some were wearing them all the time.
CHURCH INTERSSESION OF VIRGIN
The first floor is connected with the upper level with stone stairs. After walking upstairs you will find yourself in the middle church of the Cathedral – Church of Intercession of the Holy Virgin. It is the highest church among the others and is 47.5 meters high. The church walls represent wall paintings from different centuries – frescoes from the 16th century, tempera paintings from the 17th century and oil paintings from the 19th century.
Inside Gallery unites all 9 churches of the Cathedral. On its walls you will see the traditional Russian ornament with natural motives which was often used in the middle centuries for decorating internal rooms of the churches as well as its facades. The image of the grape-vine painted with tempera colors enlaces the gallery walls and its arched ceiling and creates the atmosphere of the Heavenly Garden.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
The Holy Trinity church stands on the eastern part of the Cathedral and was named after the old wooden Church of the Holy Trinity that stood at this place earlier, before the construction of the Cathedral. It round cupola ceiling has an image of the spiral – a symbol of eternity – made with red small brick stones. Its iconostasis wall has a peculiar feature – unusually low Holy Gates. Holy Trinity icon of the local row – right to the Holy Gates – originates from the 16th century and is one of the oldest and most adored icons of the Cathedral.
CHURCH ENTRANCE OF JESUS TO JERUSALEM
This church stays on the western part of the Cathedral and is dedicated to one of the greatest Christian festivals celebrated on the first Easter Week – the entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem. In the 17th century there was a curious tradition – at the day of celebrating the festival – a red carpet was laid from the Spasskaya Tower (one of the Kremlin Towers near the St Basil Cathedral) to the entrance of the Cathedral. And the Tsar Alexei Romanov was walking along it and leading a donkey on whose back the Patriarch Nikon – the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church – was sitting. The Tsar and Patriarch were followed by the relatives of the Royal family and after coming to the Cathedral they entered this very church to lead a Service.