such churches marked key dates in Ivan IV's life. His father Vasilii III built the church of the Ascension at Kolomenskoe in 1532 to celebrate his son's birth. The second, the church of John the Baptist at nearby D'iakovo, commemorated Ivan's coronation in 1547. The third was the church on Red Square popularly known as St Basil's cathedral (1555-61) (fig. 12.3).

Many key ideas about Russia's place in divine history, as well as its contemporary geopolitical role, were embodied in the architecture of St Basil's, which originally comprised nine chapels, each with its own iconostasis. It is more accurately named from the central chapel dedicated to the Protective Veil or Intercession (Pokrov) of the Mother of God. The festival falls on 1 October, which was the day before the Russians captured the Tatar stronghold of Kazan in 1552. The dedication therefore bears witness to Ivan IV's trust in the power of prayer on the eve of victory.88 It has also been linked to the tsar's visit to the Intercession (Pokrovskii) monastery in Suzdal after the capture of Kazan, as well as to Ivan's dynastic links with the twelfth-century princes of Vladimir-Suzdal, who adopted the festival from Constantinople. The icon features a vision of the Virgin casting her protective mantle over the congregation in the church of St Blasios at Constantinople, a protection which was to be transferred to the Russian land.89

Surrounding the central chapel of the Intercession are four octagonal chapels, whose dedications can be linked to Ivan IV's triumphs and pious concerns. To the west is the chapel of Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, which was always associated with the theme of imperial triumph. To the north lies one dedicated to Sts Kiprian and Ustin'ia, whose festival fell on 2 October, the day of the capture of Kazan. To the east is the chapel of the Holy Trinity, which reflected Ivan's reverence for the Trinity-St Sergii monastery and for the icon of the Trinity.90 To the south lies another dedicated to St Nicholas of Velikoretsk, which honoured a miracle-working icon brought to Moscow in 1555 for restoration and which was processed past the construction site. There are in addition four smaller rectangular chapels: to the north-west one dedicated to St Gregory of Armenia, whose feast day on 30 September coincided with Ivan's victory at Arskaia Pole in 1552; to the south-west another dedicated to St Varlaam Khutynskii, on whose festival on 6 November Ivan almost certainly made his triumphal entry into Moscow in 1552 after the conquest of Kazan; and to the

88 F. Kampfer, 'Über die Konzeption der Vasilij-Blazennyj-Kathedrale in Moskau', Jahrbücher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 24 (1976), 485.

89 See discussion in Milner-Gulland, The Russians, 213-15. For an example, Grierson, Gates of mystery, 187.

90 M. Kudriavstev and T. Kudriavtseva, 'Krasnaia ploshchad' - khram pod otkrytym nebom', Mera3 (1995), 29.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment