From Donskoy Monastery:
Attractions: Donskoy Monastery, Danilov Monastery, Church of Ascension at Serpukhov Gates, St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi, Mary and Martha Convent, Church of Iberian Theotokos in Vspolye, Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow” (Bolshaya Ordynka Street, 20), St. Clement's Church, The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Church of Saints Mikhail and Fyodor, Kadashi Church, The Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, 46.
Start: Shabolovskaya (Шаболовская), Line 6, the Orange Metro line.
End: Oktyabrskaya (Октябрьская), Line 5, the Brown Metro line.
Duration: 1 day. The two monasteries (Donskoy and Danilov) will consume (at least) your first half of day.
Weather: No rain ,please.
General Orientation: walk along the two main streets ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka and ulitsa Pyatnitskaya and feel the atmosphere of 19th century Russia: the low buildings, the ancients courts and the numerous onion-domed churches. The two streets are almost parallel to each other and their direction is from south to north. The ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka is 200 m. WEST to ulitsa Pyatnitskaya. We recommend using public transportation for moving between the two first monasteries and between Danilov Monastery and the other churches around Bolshaya Ordynka and Pyatnitskaya streets. Do not miss the Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street.
From Shabolovskaya - it is approx. 1 km. walk to Donskoy Monastery. Head north toward Petrovsky Academician st. (ул. Академика Петровского), 150 m. (Partial restricted usage road). Turn left onto Petrovsky Academician st. (ул. Академика Петровского) another 130 m. Turn left onto Donskaya ul. (ул. Донская), 850 m and Donskoy Monastery is on the left.
Practicalities: Entrance is free. You are allowed to take photos inside the churches. Videos are allowed after a special payment. Please be aware that the dress code for women is strict - covered knees and head (you can find scarfs to borrow at the entrance). After a walk you can enjoy a traditional Russian hot tea with home-made small cakes baked in the Monastery. Open: 07.00 - 18.00 everyday.
Donskoy Monastery was founded in 1592 by the Tsar Fedor Ioannovich and his close associate, the boyar Boris Godunov in memory of the victory over Crimean Khan Kazi Giray and Our Lady of the Don, the icon which accompanied Russians in the campaign. According to the ancient tradition, in former times Sergius of Radonezh blessed with this icon the troops of Grand Duke Dimitry to the Battle of Kulikovo. The legend is that Dmitry Donskoy had taken this icon with him to the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. The Tatars left without a fight and were defeated during their retreat (they were shocked by numerous arrows of fire). When the monastery was established, Boris Godunov personally laid the foundation stone of its cathedral, consecrated in 1593 to the holy image of Our Lady of the Don.
Commanding a highway to the Crimea, the monastery was intended to defend southern approaches to the Moscow Kremlin. Thus, little by little, there appeared a Don monastery between the Danilov Monastery and the Novodevichy Convent – a new monastic fortress that completed the forming of Moscow defense ring.
In the mid-17th century the monastery was attached to the Andreyevsky Monastery. In 1678, however, its independence was reinstated and the cloister received rich donations, Under the princess Sophia, in the end of the 17th century Donskoy Monastery became one of the major metropolitan monasteries. The New (or the Great) Cathedral, also dedicated to the Virgin of the Don, was started in 1684 as a votive church of Tsarevna Sophia Alekseyevna. In 1684-1698 the the five-domed New or Great Cathedral was erected also in the name of the icon of Our Lady of the Don. The Holy Gates of the monastery (1693) are topped with the Tikhvin church (1713–1714) (see below), noted for its wrought iron grille. In 1713 above the northern gate of the monastery of the Virgin of Tikhvin was built. The Cathedral is surrounded by a roofed gallery made in 1717. Above the western gate there is the bell tower, construction of which was carried out at different times and was finished in the 18th century. A lofty belfry was erected over the western gates from 1730–1753 after designs by Pietro Antonio Trezzini and other prominent architects.
By the early XIX century the Donskoy Monastery had become the most privileged and rich cloister of Russia, which influenced greatly spiritual and political life of the country as a whole. From 1799 to 1827 in the Donskoy monastery there was a clerical and censorial committee. In 1812, the French army sacked the Donskoy Monastery. On the territory of the cloister in 1834 there was a religious school, and since 1909 – also a school for novices.
After the October Revolution, the Donskoy Monastery was closed. In 1922–1925, Patriarch Tikhon was detained in this cloister after his arrest. He chose to remain in this monastery after his release. Saint Tikhon's relics were discovered following his canonization in 1989. They are exhibited for veneration in the Great Cathedral in summer and in the Old Cathedral in winter. The Soviets moved the remnants of many demolished monasteries and cathedrals to the Donskoy Monastery, including the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (see photos of reliefs moved from Cathedral of Christ the Savior - below) , Church of Saint Nicholas, Church of the Assumption on Pokrovka Street in Moscow, Sukharev Tower, and others. From 1930 to 1946, the cathedral was closed for services and housed a factory.
Within the walls of the Donskoy Monastery for a long time there was the Museum of Architecture. From 1991, since the return of the monastery to Russian Orthodox Church the monastic life resumed there.
Donskoy Monastery as a Burial Place:
Donskoy cemetery entrance:
Since 1711, the Great Cathedral's vault was used for burials of Georgian tsarevichs of the Bagrationi family - David (1688), Alexander and Matthew (1711) and Mingrelian dukes of the Dadiani family.
A large new necropolis was inaugurated in the 20th century just outside the monastery walls. After the Russian Revolution, scores of Soviet soldiers killed during the Battle of Moscow. In 1927 the former church of St. Seraphim, situated at the New Donskoy Cemetery, was rebuilt to become the first crematorium in Moscow. Most of the mortal remains buried at the New Donskoy Cemetery are therefore interred in urns. Most of the individuals buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis were cremated in Donskoy burial grounds. In 1930, Bolshevik authorities dug a large pit in the east portion of the cemetery to act as a common grave for the cremated ashes of executed political prisoners from Joseph Stalin's NKVD and Great Purge. The pit currently bears two markers, one erected during the Soviet era and simply reading "Common Grave Number One:
The other one was erected after 1989 and reads "Here lie the remains of the innocent victims of political repressions in 1930-1942 who were tortured and shot. To their eternal memory". Nowadays, there are three mass graves at the Donskoi Monastery Cemetery in Moscow. From 1930 to 1953 this was a secret burial ground for Muscovites who perished in dictator Josef Stalin's political purges. Arrested by the state security forces (the NKVD) on fabricated charges of treason and espionage, they were shot in the city's Lubyanka and Butyrka prisons or in the cellars of the Military Collegium. The bodies were then brought to the Donskoi Crematorium at night and the ashes dumped into nearby pits, each some 16 feet deep, now known as Common Graves Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
Mass grave number three - in use from 1945 until 1953. It is the grave of the latest executions:
A memorial book placed by mass grave number three with the names of more than 5,000 identified victims:
Now, large area of the monastery is occupied by the necropolis. There are buried many distinguished representatives of Russian families, writers, artists, architects, philosophers. The necropolis of the monastery was considered the richest cemetery in Moscow.
Solzhenitsyn's resting place, Donskoy Monastery cemetery:
The Monastery exterior:
Great cathedral of Donskoy Monastery:
Christ the Saviour Cathedral, preserved reliefs in Donskoy Monastery:
Wall and watchtower of Donskoy Monastery:
Small Cathedral of Donskoy Monastery:
Barbican church of Donskoy Monastery:
Archangel Michael Church in Donskoy Monastery:
Church of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of All Russia Donskoy Monastery:
The monastery interiors:
Inside the cathedral is very impressive which is achieved by the carved iconostasis of six tiers made in the end of the 17th century in Moscow baroque style. The Great Cathedral of the Donskoy Monastery became the place where the icon of the Mother of God was kept. Our Lady of the Don was revered as the defender of the Fatherland. Now it is in the Tretyakov Gallery.
Eight tiers of its ornate Baroque iconostasis were carved by Kremlin masters in 1688–1698. The iconostasis' central piece is a copy of the Virgin of the Don, as painted in the mid-16th century. The cathedral frescoes are the first in Moscow to be painted by a foreigner. They were executed by Antonio Claudio in 1782–1785: the first church paintings in Moscow to be executed by a foreigner.
Our Lady of Iver:
Our next destination is another monastery in the south-east of Moscow. If you walk - bear in mind walking of approx. 2.5 km: Head south on Donskaya ul. (ул. Донская) toward 4th Donskaya pr (4-й Донской пр-д), 400 m. Turn left onto Ordzhonikidze st. (ул. Орджоникидзе), 300 m.
3. Continue onto Serpukhovskiy Val (ул. Серпуховский Вал), 1.1 km. Continue onto ulitsa Danilovskiy Val (ул. Даниловский Вал), 450 m. Danilov Monastery is at ulitsa Danilovskiy Val, 22 on your right.
From Donskoy Monastery walk SOUTH to Peoples' Friendship University (Университет Дружбы Народов), 450 m. Take tram 39 towards the metro station "Pure ponds ("Станция метро "Чистые Пруды") - 5 stops until Danilov Monastery (Свято-Данилов монастырь), ulitsa Danilovskiy Val, 22.
From Donskoy Monastery walk to Peoples' Friendship University (Университет Дружбы Народов), 450 m. Take share (collective) taxi No. 339м/349м towards Danilovsky market (Даниловский рынок). Drop off at the 3rd stop and walk EAST (Tulkaya Metro station is on your right) to Danilov Monastery, ulitsa Danilovskiy Val, 22 about 700 m.
Practicalities: for women: take head scarf to cover your head. Your knees should be covered as well. You can buy TASTY cakes or delicious bread opposite the entrance or in the kiosk/bakery immediately left after your entry.
Located a bit off central Moscow - this is more of a monastery of the Russian people and not frequented by tourists. A secluded, quiet beauty.
Access: the closest Metro station is Tulskaya (line No. 9, the Grey line). Walk NORTWARD along the tram tracks and turn right. Go straight (EAST) down to Danilovsky Val, Building 22.
History: Danilov Monastery is the oldest monastery in Moscow - founded in 1282 by Prince Daniil Aleksandrovich, the youngest son of the great Novogorod ruler Aleksander Nevsky, who was the first prince of the then tiny principality of Moscow from 1276 to 1303. In 1591, the armies of the Crimean Tartar Khan were defeated beneath its walls. Twenty years later, the monastery was set on fire by the second False Dimitriy, and the walls and many of the buildings had to be entirely rebuilt. The French invaders of 1812 took St. Daniil's silver tabernacle, and desecrated the church interiors. In 1591, the armies of the Crimean Tartar Khan were defeated beneath its walls. Twenty years later, the monastery was set on fire by the second False Dimitriy, and the walls and many of the buildings had to be entirely rebuilt. The French invaders of 1812 took St. Daniil's silver tabernacle, and desecrated the church interiors. The Bolshevik government began to close the monastery's churches when it came to power. However, the monks continued their work until 1930, when a youth detention centre was established on the site. The monastery was reconstructed, many of the original buildings were either demolished or fundamentally altered, and the monastery graveyard - which included the tombs of Nikolai Gogol and the great Moscow pianist and composer Nikolai Rubinstein - was destroyed. As restrictions by the government lessened in the 1980s - In 1983, the monastery became the first to be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church by the Soviet government. Reconstruction of the buildings began soon afterward, in the architectural style of the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. The Cathedral of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was restored which also included the Church of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God on the ground floor. The restored iconostasis was done in the manner of the Kostroma school. A major reconstruction project began and, five years later, the seat of the Patriarch and the Holy Synod was transferred here from the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergei. Many of the buildings which are now contained in the monastery are recent additions, including the Residence of the Patriarch and the Millenium Chapel (1988 was the thousandth anniversary of Christianity in Russia). Restored buildings include the late eighteenth Gate-Church of St. Simeon, through which visitors enter the monastery, and which was pulled down in 1920. Its bells were sold to Harvard University, where they are still used - the Orthodox Church is trying hard to have them returned. Since 1983, the Danilov Monastery has been the official residence of the Russian Patriarch and the headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church. There are also held meetings of the Holy Synod:
The oldest building in the monastery today is the Cathedral of the Seven Holy Fathers, which dates from 1565 and holds the remains of St. Daniil (Daniel), and icons of him and of Our Lady of Vladimir painted around the time of the church's construction. The Cathedral has a complex structure, divided into several parts, including two chapels and a refectory. The exterior is painted white, with green roofs and gold cupolas.
The Church of the Holy Fathers of Seven Ecumenical Councils. View from the north-west:
Also in the monastery and the main church is Trinity Cathedral built in 1838 by famed architect Osip Bove - the chief architect of Moscow's reconstruction after the Napoleonic Wars. It is the biggest church on the premises of Danilov monastery - it can hold up to 3000 people. During the Soviet period it was closed but it is currently functioning and holding Sunday and holiday services:
The Holy Trinity Cathedral. View from the south-west:
The monastery's entrance is beneath the pink St Simeon Gate-Church on the north wall:
View from the north to the main entrance and St. Simeon gate:
Official Residence of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia ("White House"):
View from the west, from the Residence of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia:
Danilov monastery - the bells:
The Crypt Church iconostasis of the Danilov Monastery:
Our next church is the St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi, Bolshaya Ordynka, 27. It is 2.9 km. walk from the Danilov Monastery (better, use public transportation). Walking instructions: Head east on ulitsa Danilovskiy Val (ул. Даниловский Вал) toward Danilovskiy per. (пер. Даниловский). Turn left onto Danilovskiy per. (пер. Даниловский), 260 m. Turn right onto the Pavlovskaya ul. (ул. Павловская), 900 m. Continue onto Bolshaya Serpukhovskaya (ул. Большая Серпуховская), 700 m.
At Bolshaya Serpukhovskaya No. 24 (west to the Serpukhovskaya Metro station) stands the Church of Ascension at Serpukhov Gates (Храм Вознесения Господня за Серпуховскими воротами). The church was built in 1714 - 18 and 1756 - 62 on the money of the son of Peter the Great, tsarevich Alexei. In 1714 the lower church of the Jerusalem Icon of the Mother of God was built and the upper church of the Ascension (high altar) was built from the vaults up to the center of the windows and covered with a wooden roof. After the Tsarevich was put to death in 1718 construction of the church was suspended. The church was finished in 1756 - 62. In 1842 a quadrangular bell tower with a broach was built, and in 1839 a refectory was attached to the upper temple. In 1930 the church was closed. Its dome was destroyed. The church was partly demolished. It was rebuilt for cold store and then for the dormitory and different offices. The 2-4th levels of the bell tower were broken down. The first level was rebuilt for the apartment. The fence and gate were broken down. In the middle of the 1990-ies the church was under restoration. Old painting was revealed beneath plaster. The bell tower was restored. In 1991 the church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church:
Slight left toward Lyusinovskaya st. (ул. Люсиновская), 230 m. Turn left toward Lyusinovskaya st. (ул. Люсиновская), 28 m. Turn right onto Lyusinovskaya st. (ул. Люсиновская), 85 m. 8. Continue onto Bolshaya Ordynka (ул. Большая Ордынка), 350 m. and the St. Nicholas Church is on the left.
With public transportaion allow 30-40 minutes ride and walk to St. Nicholas Church. From Danilov Monastery take Tram A towards The metro station "Pure ponds" (Станция метро "Чистые Пруды"), 8 stops, approx. 10 minutes. From the stop at Vishnyakovsky lane (Вишняковский переулок) WALK WESTWARD along Vishnyakovsky lane, turn left to Pyatnitskaya street (Пятницкая ул.) and turn, immediately, right to Bolshoya ordynka (all in all 750 m. walk) until you arrive to St. Nicholas Church Bolshoya Ordynka 27.
Access: From Tretyakovskaya Metro station (line 6, orange line OR line 8, yellow line) walk south 5 minutes (190 m.) along Bolshoya Ordynka. The church is behind the Embassy of Israel.
St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi (The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonder worker) (Храм свт. Николая в Пыжах) is a snow-white church and a typical five-domed, mid-17th-century church, with spade gables and thin onion domes. It is especially beautiful in spring, when the tulips and daffodils beds bloom around. Very large beautiful iconostasis inside. The Soviet power withdrew about 250 kilograms of gold and silver decorations and closed the church so the original interiors were lost. This beautiful five-domed church was erected on the exact spot where a wooden church used to stand. The main part of the church was built in 1672. In 1691 a chapel dedicated to the monks Anthony and Theodosius from Kiev and St Nicholas was added. Ravaged in 1812, it was restored in 1848. The church of St Nicholas was closed in 1930 and used for various purposes. It was returned to the orthodox Church in 1991:
From St. Nicholas Church walk SOUTHWARD along Bolshoya Ordynka for 150 m. until you arrive to ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka, 34 and here stands (on your right, the west side of the street) the Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy. Mary and Martha Convent (or Marfo-Mariinsky Convent) (Марфо-Мариинская Обитель милосердия) of Mercy was founded by the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Romanova, an older sister of Alexandra, the last Russian Empress. Both of them were granddaughters of Queen Victoria. She was married to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, who was assassinated in 1905 by a terrorist Ivan Kalyayev. After his death she sold everithing she had and devoted herself to charity and spiritual life. She opened a hospital, library and asylum for girls. Architect Alexey Shchusev designed the main church of the convent in the Russian ancient style. Today the convent has been restored and is fully functional. Its inhabitants are only female nuns. The Saints Martha and Mary Convent. Built between 1908 and 1912 by the Russian architect Aleksei Viktorovich Shchusev (1873-1949), is considered one of Russia's most remarkable examples of Art Nouveau style. It is interesting to note that Shchusev also built the Lenin Mausoleum which houses the mummified remains of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. In 1928, the convent was finally closed, looted, pillaged, and desecrated. The frescoes by Nesterov (see below) were covered and the church was turned into a movie theater. In 1999 the Educational Center of the SS Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy was founded, with the blessings of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia (1929-2008), for the purpose of training Orthodox girls as certified nurses. The Holy Protection Cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 2006. It has undergone restoration and now holds regular services. In 1990, a monument to the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna was erected in the courtyard and can be seen nowadays. Pleasant bright place in a noisy bustling Moscow. It is very quiet here, calm and peaceful, and you cannot believe that just beyond the fence lies the wild and hectic center of the capital. Right at the entrance there is a small refectory, where you can dine under the Romanov family pictures. Everyday (except Monday) you can join a guided tour at 11.15 in the room-museum of Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna:
The frescoes and icons of the convent are the work of painter Mikhail Nesterov. Nesterov's works are noted for their lyrical colours, beautiful design and the accessible saintliness of the personage he depicts on his icons and frescoes:
150 m. further south along Bolshaya Ordynka , in No. 39 (on your left, the EAST side of the street) is the Church of Iberian Theotokos in Vspolye (Храм Иверской иконы Божией Матери (великомученика Георгия Победоносца) на Всполье). Church of the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God, which now stands on the Big Ordynka, 39, originally was called Church of St. George the Great Martyr. It is known as wood church from 1625 - dedicated to the St. George the Martyr. Half a century later at his own expense merchant Semen Potapov built a stone church. A hundred years later, at the end of the 18th century, Ivan Savinov parishioner asked permission to update the building of the church of St. George. The temple was completed in 1802. Ever since the church complex of the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God is one of the best examples of Moscow classicism end XVIII- early XIX centuries. In 1993 it was decided to return to the temple of the Russian Orthodox Church:
We change direction and return northward 600 m. along Bolshaya Ordynka. We pass through Tretyakovskaya Metro station on our right and the next block, on our left, is the The Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow”, Bolshaya Ordynka Street, 20. The church was built during two periods: in 1783 - 91 (the refectory and bell tower) and 1828 - 36 (main temple). In 1688 in this church the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow” was glorified. In 1770 for this church the side-chapel was created. In 1783 - 91 the merchant L. Dolgov ordered to his relative, architect V.I. Bazhenov to attach to the church of 1685 (in place of the old refectory and the bell tower) the new three-level bell tower and the refectory in the style of Classicism with two internal columns and with four-column Ionic porticoes outside. But the construction was stopped and continued only after the death of Bazhenov (1799) in 1828 - 36. Then in place of the main church of 1685 the new church was built following Empire style (architect - Osip Bove). In 1812 the church was damaged in fire. It was renovated in 1814, 1904. The church is a rotunda, cylindrical with two-column Ionic porticoes, semi-circular arched windows, decorated with stucco and medallions. Inside in circle there are 12 Ionic columns bearing a small tholobate of a high hemispheric dome with almost spherical cupola. The round tree-level bell tower with the round windows and semicircular openings for chime is decorated with details of Corinthian order. It is crowned with the dome and cupola with an apple under the cross. The refectory with the rounded corners is decorated with four-column Ionic porticoes. In the large windows there are art forged grates. In 1933 the church was closed, the bells were removed but interior decoration is extant. During the Great Patriotic War in 1941-45 the store-rooms of the Tretyakov Gallery were located there. Religious services were resumed in 1948. In 1948 the chanter N.V. Matveev created a church choir that became well-known:
The icon of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow:
We head, now, to St. Clement's Church - 250 m. east to the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow”. Head SOUTH on ul. Bolshaya Ordynka (ул. Большая Ордынка) toward Ordynskiy tup. (Ордынский туп.), 65 m. Turn left (east) onto Klimentovskiy per. (Климентовский пер.), 80 m. (Tretyakovskaya Metro station on our right) and St. Clement's Church (The Church of St. Clement the Martyr, the Pontiff OR the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ the Savior) (Священномученика Климента, папы Римского (Спаса Преображения) церковь), Pyatnitskaya Street, 26/7 is on the left.
The church's predecessors were the wooden churches: of icon of the Mother of God “the Sign” and St. Clement the Martyr (the first record dated 1612). In 1613 in this place the battle between the folk home guard of the Prince D.M. Pozharsky and the Polish soldiers took place. The church was built in 1762 —1774. It is supposed to be in the place of a small stone church from which the refectory and the bell tower survived. The church was renovated in 1900-1902. The church was built in a RARE Baroque style (which, Duchess Elizabeth so loved). It has no analogs in Moscow architecture of the 18th century; it is close by form to the buildings by V.V. Rastrelli, to the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Kiev. The church was closed in 1933. The book storage of the Russian State library was located there. The church and the fence were restored in the 1950—60-ies. In 1990 the Moscow authorities decided to return the church to the Russian Orthodox Church however religious services were not resumed.
The main building is in cubical shape, with two rows of windows, with choirs on four sides. It is crowned with 5 domes. The walls of the main building are framed with double Corinthian columns. The facades are decorated with the two-column porticoes with the bow-shaped pediments. Along the top of the building there are pattern metal grates. It is decorated with the ornamental molding:
Inside the seven-tier iconostasis (the 18th century) with various wooden carves and internal decorations partially survived:
The central part of the main iconostasis. Note the sculptures of angels, quite rare in Moscow iconostasis:
Chapel in honor of Our Lady "Burning Bush":
Chapel in honor of the Holy Martyr the Pope Clement and the Archbishop Peter of Alexandria:
View of the central western part of the iconostasis of the church:
Chapel in honor of Our Lady "of the Sign" (left), in which the first service was held in 2005:
In the top part of the picture - see the side chapels in the choir:
Go up the stairs to the second floor where there are two chapels, and a choir. The acoustics in the church is wonderful, so even a chorus of five people sounds very powerful and moving:
Chapel of Nativity of the Virgin (left) in the gallery:
From St Clement's Church we walk 600 m. to the next church - The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Head east on Klimentovskiy per. (Климентовский пер. toward ул. Пятницкая), 65 m. Turn left onto Pyatnitska st. (ул. Пятницкая), 500 m. and The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Pyatnitskaya Street, 4/2 bldg. 9 is on the right. The church is adjacent to the church of SS. Prince Michael and Boyar Theodore, Wonderworkers of Chernigov (see below). The church was built in 1658 (according to other sources - in 1675 - 1686) on the white-stone basement of the church dated back to 1514. In 1781 a three-level campanile was built (the old bell tower was demolished), the crown of the church was altered. The church was renovated in 1796 and in 1896 - 1904 the western side-chapel was built. In the beginning of the 20th century the porch with the staircase was built. After 1917 the church was closed. Its dome was destroyed. The building was occupied by offices and exhibition hall. In the 1970 - 80s the church was under restoration. In the beginning of the 1990s the church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. Fromm the 1990s the church hosts an exhibition of rare Russian glass art items. Note: THERE ARE 5 CHURCHES in Moscow with the name of "The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist"...
West, adjacent to the Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist - stands the Church of Saints Michael and Fyodor, Martyrs of Chernigov, Chernigovsky, 3. The church was built in 1675 as a side-chapel of the neighboring Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist in memory of Prince Michael Vsevolodovich of Chernigov and his loyal Boyar Theodore Prince Mikhail Chernigov and his companion Boyar Fyodor, envoys to the Mongols who were killed in the 13th century because they refused to renounce their Christianity (awfully killed in 1246 in the headquarters of the Mongol Khan Baty, the founder of the Golden Horde, for the determined refuse to perform the religious ceremony of the Golden Horde and bow before the Kahn's fires and idols). Legend has it that Batu Khan had them trampled to death beneath wooden boards. Their bodies were returned to Moscow where they were buried alongside the Tsars in the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Archangel Michael. In 1675 this cube-shaped brick building with five green tile-covered cupolas replaced an earlier wooden church. It was closed during Soviet times and used as a warehouse, but has been open for worship since 1993:
Great Russian painting by Vasiliy Smirnov: It depicts Saint Michael of Chernigov, at the camp of Batu Khan (1883), refusing to renounce his religion and to bow to the idols:
From Church of Saints Michael and Fyodor we head westward and walk about 400 m. to the Kadashi church. Head west on Chernigovskiy per. (Черниговский пер.), 80 m. Turn right to stay on Chernigovskiy per. (Черниговский пер.), 65 m. Turn right onto ul. Bolshaya Ordynka (ул. Большая Ордынка), 30 m. Turn left onto 2-y Kadashevskiy per. (2-й Кадашевский пер.), 190 m. Turn left for 45 m. (restricted usage road) and the Kadashi Church, 1-y Kadashevskiy pereulok, 7 (Resurrection Church in Kadashi Sloboda) (Храм Воскресения Христова в Кадашах) is on your left. The church was built with a particular style of Baroque architecture and decoration which was fashionable in Moscow from the turn of the 17th into the early 18th centuries (Naryshkin Baroque). A wooden church on this site was documented as early as 1493. The elongated five-domed church with an elegantly "laced" belfry was constructed between 1687 and 1695. The interior was frescoed in the late 17th century. Napoleon's soldiers desecrated the church, turning it into horses' stables. In the 19th century, the icon screen was restored, the galleries and apses were expanded, and several outsize domed porches were added. The church was closed by the SCommunist regime in 1934 and was adapted for accommodation of a KGB archive. It was not returned to the Russian Orthodox Church until December 2006. There was much media focus on the Kadashi Church in 2010 when Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov ordered the demolition of several old buildings near the church, including a deacon's house from 1813, in order to replace them with an elite apartment complex. The decision was viewed as Luzhkov's latest attack on Moscow's architectural heritage in the interests of building companies and sparked a resistance campaign labelled the "battle of Kadashi" by the Russian media. Moscow citizens call the elegant and tall bells-tower - 'the Candle':
Our last church for today is the MOST BEAUTIFUL church in Zamoskvorechye: The Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, 46. We walk 1.8 km to this church which is close a central Metro station to the Fallen Monuments Park and Krymski Val. From Kadashi Church in 1-y Kadashevskiy pereulok, 7 - we head north toward 2-y Kadashevskiy per. (2-й Кадашевский пер.) (restricted usage road), 45m. Turn left onto 2-y Kadashevskiy per. (2-й Кадашевский пер.), 35 m. Turn right onto 1-y Kadashevskiy per. (1-й Кадашевский пер.), 130 m. Turn left onto Kadashevskaya nab. (Кадашевская наб./Кадашёвская наб.), 300 m. Continue onto Yakimanskaya nab. (наб. Якиманская), 65 m. Turn left onto Bolshaya Polyanka (ул. Большая Полянка), 230 m. Slight right onto Yakimanskaya pr-d (Якиманский пр-д),250 m. Continue onto ulitsa Bolshaya Yakimanka (ул. Большая Якиманка), 750 m. and The Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, 46 is on your left. (Khram Svyatogo Muchenika Ioanna Voina na Yakimanke) (Храме Иоанна Воина).
History: The church was built in 1709 - 17 (according to legend, by order and for contribution of Peter the Great with use of his drawing) in honour of the Victory over the Sweden armies under Poltava (on the 27th of June in 1709). The high altar was in honor of the Martyr St. John the Warrior - Patron Saint of the Streltsy (Tsar Guardsmen) living in the settlement. The first record of its predecessor, the church of the same name, dated 1625 (it was located closer to the Moskva River, destroyed by flooding, moved to the new place).
Exterior: Due to the similarity of some architectural details of the Church of 1717 and the tower of Menshikov some researchers attribute this church to the architect I.P. Zarudny. The church follows the style of early Moscow Baroque. It has several levels. The first level is a large octagon located on the quadrangular building, has semi-domed form with the corresponding octagonal internal cloistered vault. The second octagon that looks like a lantern is crowned with the semi-dome. Both side-chapels of the refectory have cupolas outside. Above the each side-chapel there is an independent cloistered vault with four decks. The bell tower is octahedral (the bells are extant). The church has NEVER been closed. Later to the Church the icons, church plates and shrines with fragments of relics of saint bodies were handed over from the closed neighbouring churches. Brick fence is with the patterned metal forged grate in style of Baroque with vegetation ornament of 1754 - 1758.
Interior: Under the design of V.I. Bazhenov in 1785-91 the over-the altar canopy on 6 columns and four-tier iconostasis were built. The iconostasis was demolished in 1860 and substituted by the new one. In 1928 in that place the wooden carved iconostasis – the contemporary of the Church (1708; according to other sources - 1705) brought from the destroyed church of Three Sanctifiers at Krasny (Red) Gate was installed. It is considered to be one of the best examples of Russian decorative wooden carving of the 17th – 18th centuries.
500 m. further south and we arrive to the Oktyabrskaya Metro station. Head south on Bolshaya Yakimanka (ул. Большая Якиманка), 200 m. Turn right, 42 m. Turn left, 55 m. Turn right, 40 m. Turn left, 90 m. Turn left, 70 m.