Saint Basil's Cathedral


Saint Basil's Cathedral

Infobox church
name = Saint Basil's Cathedral
fullname = Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat


imagesize = 250px
caption = Saint Basil's Cathedral
denomination = Russian Orthodox Church
founded_date = 1555
founder = Ivan IV
architect = Postnik Yakovlev
style =
seniorpastor =
pastor =
address = 2 Red Square
country = flag|Russia
website = [http://www.museum.ru/M338 Museum "Pokrovskiy Cathedral"]

The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat ( _ru. Собор Покрова что на Рву - "The Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God", or simply "Pokrovskiy Cathedral" - _ru. Покровский Собор; better known as the Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessed , "Saint Basil's Cathedral" - _ru. Храм Василия Блаженного) is a multi-tented church on the Red Square in Moscow that also features distinctive onion domes.

The cathedral was commissioned by Ivan IV (also known as "Ivan the Terrible") in Moscow to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan. In 1588 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich had a chapel added on the eastern side above the grave of Basil Fool for Christ ("yurodivy Vassily Blazhenny"), a Russian Orthodox saint after whom the cathedral was popularly named.

Saint Basil's is located at the southeast end of Red Square, just across from the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin. Not particularly large, it consists of nine chapels built on a single foundation. The cathedral's design follows that of contemporary tented churches, notably those of Ascension in Kolomenskoye (1530) and of St John the Baptist's Decapitation in Dyakovo (1547).

The interior of the cathedral is a collection of separate chapels, each filled with beautiful icons, medieval painted walls, and varying artwork on the top inside of the domes. The feeling is intimate and varied, in contrast to Western cathedrals which usually consist of a massive nave with one artistic style.

In a garden at the front of the cathedral stands a bronze statue commemorating Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who rallied Russia's volunteer army against the Polish invaders during the Time of Troubles in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It was built in 1555-1561 by Ivan.

The initial concept was to build a cluster of chapels, one dedicated to each of the saints on whose feast day the tsar had won a battle, but the construction of a single central tower unifies these spaces into a single cathedral. A popular but wrong historical legend says that Ivan had the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, blinded to prevent him from building a more magnificent building for anyone else. In fact, Postnik Yakovlev built a number of churches after Saint Basil's, including one in Kazan'.

Saint Basil's Cathedral should not be confused with the Moscow Kremlin, which is situated right next to it on Red Square. It is not at all a part of the Moscow Kremlin. However, many publications do make the mistake of calling this structure the Kremlin. The misconception has inadvertently been reinforced by Western television journalists, who have often stood in front of St. Basil's during their reports.

External links

* [http://www.museum.ru/M338 Museum "Pokrovskiy Cathedral"]
* [http://www.ortho-rus.ru/cgi-bin/or_file.cgi?6_1545 Russian Orthodoxy - About the Pokrovskiy Cathedral]
* [http://www.zavet.ru/kalendar/bm/pokr-002.htm Zavet - The Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God]
* [http://www.webviews.co.uk/network/camera/eastern-europe/russia/moscow/stbasilscam.html Webcam]


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