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Archangel Michael Cathedral

Archangel Michael Cathedral

The five-domed Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel was the last of the great churches to be erected on the Kremlin's Cathedral Square. The Archangel Cathedral ( Archangelsky Cathedral ) is a burial place of all Grand Princes and Tsars, who lived and ruled in Moscow. Work on the cathedral began in 1505 under the supervision of the Italian architect Aleviz Fryazin. After three years it was consecrated in the name of Archangel Michael, the Leader of the Heavenly Host, so that the first protector of man's spirit in life would also be their protector in death. Looking so light and festive from the outside it turns out to be small, cramped, gloomy and solemn inside.

There was a tradition in Rus that the dead should be buried before sunset so that they could take their leave of the sun before their ascension into heaven. The coffin was covered with a stone slab, and after the burial service the snuffed-out candles were placed on it as a sign of reconciliation. Before the graves there were always icon lamps flickering and candles burning: the princes bade their children to observe their final religious requests, so that memory of your parents will not fade, and the candles on your parent's graves will never die.

The first person to be buried on this place, but in the old church of Archangel Michael, was Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita. Altogether there are 53 graves here in which the princes and Tsars, from Kalita to Ivan Alekseyevich, the brother of Peter the Great, find their eternal rest. From the time of the transfer of the capital to St. Petersburg the emperors were buried in the vault of the cathedral in the St. Peter and Paul fortress. The only exception was Peter II, who died suddenly in Moscow on the eve of his wedding in 1730.

Photo taken on 2005-04-30 at 12:56:37

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