The Church of the Deposition of the RobeRussian: Tserkov Rizopolozheniya or Церковь Ризоположения is a modest church located in the Kremlin, hiding behind the stately Cathedral of the DormitionRussian: Uspenskiy sobor or Успенский собор and the Palace of the FacetsRussian: Granovitaya palata or Грановитая палата. Its 17th-century interior successfully combines architectural design, mural paintings and iconography, notable for its stunning unity of style. A display in one of the church’s galleries illustrates Russian religious wood sculpture, one of the few examples of this style which exist in the world.
History of the church
The festival of the Deposition of the Robe dates back to the 5th century AD, when the Byzantium acquired the robe of the Virgin Mary, initially placed in a church on the shores of the Golden Horn in Constantinople. According to legend, this relic protected the city from being conquered by enemies.
The first church on this site was founded in the mid-15th century to commemorate Moscow’s deliverance from the threat of a TatarMongol invaders of Russia and Europe invasion on 2 July, 1451. On this day, the city was celebrating the religious holiday of the Deposition of the Robe. A new stone church, which still exists with only minor alterations, was built 34 years later. Commissioned by Metropolitan Jonah of Moscow, it was erected on the territory of the Metropolitan CourtRussian: Metropolichiy dvor or Метрополичий двор, becoming the private church of the Moscow metropolitans (later, Patriarchs). In Soviet times, church services stopped, and only resumed in 1993. The church played host to a museum in 1965. Today, the Patriarch holds a religious service here once a year, on 15 July, the day of the church’s official celebration.
Architecture and interior
Slender proportions and fine decoration distinguish this tiny one-domed church. Ornamental brick friezes have a lot in common with those decorating the ancient churches in Pskova city located about 20 kilometers east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River, a Russian city which boasted a distinguished architectural tradition in the 14th and 15th centuries. The church is laid on a tall basement, traditionally used in Russian church building. At the time, this basement served various technical purposes, including grain storage. In its shape, the church resembles a cube, with its outer walls divided into sections by pilasters. Of special interest is the central pilaster crowned with a keel-shaped gable. The church also features an interesting terracotta frieze made with keel-shaped arches, a traditional decoration of many mediaeval Russian churches.
The interior of the Church of the Deposition of the Robe is also fascinating. Its modest size enabled the architects to make the transition from the vaults to the dome without the need to use the squinches which were used in the Kremlin’s other churches. The dome embedded into the middle of the vaulted ceiling rests on four pillars. An iconostasis for this church was completed in 1627, and the walls were entirely covered with fresco paintings in 1644. When examining the iconostasis, take a look at the second icon on the right of the Holy doorsRussian: Tsarskie vrata or Царские врата. In Orthodox churches, this place is always reserved for the icon depicting the holiday or the saint in whose honour the church is consecrated. This church is no exception, and the above-mentioned icon depicts the Deposition of the Robe of the Holy VirginRussian: ikona Polozheniya Rizy Bogoroditsy or икона Положения Ризы Богородицы. Two large candlesticks standing in front of the iconostasis will also catch your eye. Made of wax decorated with colourful patterns, they have silver-plated holders supported by figurines depicting lions.
DISPLAY OR ORTHODOX WOOD SCULPTURE
Very few wooden sculptures survive, firstly because wood is not particularly durable and, secondly, because the church often condemned wooden sculptures as a form of idolatry and favoured the medium of painting instead. Despite this, the local collection displays some 80 sculptural representations of saints along with wood-carved icons and holy pictures, crosses and folding triptychs, all created between the 15th and early 20th centuries. Among the collection’s masterpieces are the wood sculptures depicting St. George (15th c.) and Nikola of Mozhaysk. Most items were made by craftsmen from the Moscow Kremlin Armoury, but some exhibits come from Novgorod, RostovRussian cities and even the Solovetsky IslandsRussian: Solovki or Соловки.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com