"Cathedral Square," within the Kremlin walls, is a cluster of several Russian Orthodox churches from the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries. Though similarly whitewashed and topped with gold-leafed domes, each has a unique history and purpose. The Cathedral of the Assumption (1479) is the traditional site for royal coronations and the burial of church metropolitans and patriarchs. The Cathedral of the Archangel (1508) is the traditional burial place for Russia's princes and tsars, including Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovitch who was killed at 27 by his father, Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible). The royal remains are enclosed in stone sarcophagi which are placed within bronze and glass receptacles—right on the main floor of the church. The Cathedral of the Annunciation (1489) includes a "porch addition," built in 1572 when Ivan the Terrible married for the fourth time and he was thereafter barred from attending religious services. He watched services through a metal grille on the porch. Cathedral Square also includes the Ivan the Great Bell Tower (1508). The tower was made even higher under Tsar Boris Godunov (in 1600) which made it the tallest building in Moscow.
Seeing all of these churches—right in the heart of the Kremlin—I cannot help but marvel that they were preserved during the Soviet years. The USSR was notoriously anti-religion; Stalin even blew-up the beautiful Cathedral of Christ the Savior. That these priceless temples were spared (right under Lenin & Stalin's noses) is a miracle.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248