Krutitsy Metochion

Krutitsy Metochion

The Krutitsy MetochionRussian: Krutitskoe podvorye or Крутицкое подворье, the former residence of Orthodox metropolitans, is a wonderful historical monument of the 17th–18th centuries, associated with many important events and names in Russian history. It also happens to be one of the most outstanding specimens of brick church architecture in Russia. Its cathedrals and administrative buildings are richly adorned with multicoloured porcelain tiles and frescoes. It all began with the first metochion structures, which were built by a prominent architect of the 17th century, Osip Startsev. Pyotr Baranovsky, the famous architect and restorator, also took part in the repair and reconstruction of the complex. This is an excellent option for those who have already seen many of the sights of the capital of Russia and wondered what else to see in Moscow.

Many famous people were imprisoned in Krutitsy dungeonsRussian: Krutitskie kazematy or Крутитцкие казематы, including Alexander Gertsena Russian writer and thinker known as the #father of Russian socialism# and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism and, allegedly, Lavrentiy Beriaa Soviet politician, Marshal of the Soviet Union and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus (NKVD) under Joseph Stalin. A museum of pilgrimage is also available in Krutitsy Metochion, which is in TaganskyRussian: Таганский District of Moscow. The metochion has been the Patriarch of Moscow’s residence since 1991, and Krutitsy Dormition CathedralRussian: Uspenskiy sobor or Успенский собор is still an active church. There is also a school of liturgical singing, an Orthodox publishing house, a library, and a residential treatment facility. The icon of St. PantaleonRussian: ikona velikomuchenika Panteleymona or икона великомученика Пантелеймона, particularly revered, is considered to be the main relic of Krutitsy Metochion.


Archivists attribute the metochion’s name to its location on the once steep bank of the River MoskvaRussian: Moskva-reka or Москва-река (from Russian krutoy for ‘steep’). The first mention of ‘the Theotokos on Krutitsy’ dates back to 1350, when Ivan II Ivanovich the Fairthe Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1353 bequeathed this land to the Orthodox Church. However, Petropavlovsky ChurchRussian: Petropavlovskiy khram or Петропавловский храм, the first church in Krutitsy, had been built as early as 1272. Bishop Vassian’s cathedral was established in the metochion in 1454, and the foundation stone of the Dormition Cathedral was laid in 1516.

The Krutitsy Metochion gained its status as a metropolitan residence in the 17th century. The metochion experienced a century-long cultural and political heyday, beginning with Metropolitan Pavel III’s activities in 1664–1676. This was when the most ancient Krutitsy structures were erected: the single-storey Metropolitan ChambersRussian: Mitropolichi palaty or Митрополичьи палаты, the new Dormition Cathedral, the twin-arched holy Gate with the Small TowerRussian: Svyatye vrata s Teremkom or Святые врата с Теремком, the Krestovaya (Cross) ChamberRussian: Krestovaya palata or Крестовая палата, as well as other buildings.

Russia’s largest church reforms in the 18th century changed the status of Krutitsy Metochion, which passed into the ownership of the military department in 1764, and thus became a military post. The Dormition Cathedral was damaged during the Patriotic War of 1812the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812 and the French occupation of Moscow; its roof burnt out and the iconostasis was destroyed beyond repair. The Lower Peter and Paul’s ChurchRussian: nizhniy khram Petra i Pavla or нижний храм Петра и Павла was desecrated by the French and had to be re-consecrated. The Family Resurrection ChurchRussian: domovaya Voskresenskaya tserkov or домовая Воскресенская церковь, founded in the 16th century, never regained its original look and served as a warehouse for an entire century.

Krutitskoye podvorye_khramThe revolutionary reforms of 1917 transformed the political ideology of Krutitsy Metochion’s military inhabitants, but the attitude towards singular landmarks of Russian culture did not improve in any way. Divine services in the Dormition Cathedral were cancelled in 1924, the Resurrection Church was repurposed as a residential building, and the ancient cemetery was turned into a football field.

It was not until 1947, when a lot of ancient monuments had already been lost, that it was decided to restore the metochion. A large part of the metochion was delivered into the possession of the Church in 1991. Things are humming along today in the renovated buildings of Krutitsy Metochion, and its churches and territory are accessible to sightseers and those who appreciate beautiful construction.


.The monuments that have survived to this day in Krutitsy include:

  • Dormition Cathedral with the Lower Peter and Paul’s Church (1667–1689) and the Chapel of St. Sergius of RadonezhRussian: pridel prepodobnogo Sergiya Radonezhskogo or придел преподобного Сергия Радонежского (1895)
  • The front Holy Gate with the Krutitsy Small Tower (Teremok), coated with nearly 2,000 multicoloured glazed tiles by the famous master Stepan Polubes (1693–1694)
  • Metropolitan Chambers (1665–1696) with walls over one metre thick and a fanciful porch restored in the 20th century
  • Resurrection Church with a 15th-century white-stone basement where early Krutitsy church officers are buried, a 16th-century podklet, and the upper level restored in the 18th century
  • Walkable stone-and-brick walls joining the chambers with the cathedral, constructed in the second half of the 17th century
  • Krestovaya (Cross) Chamber with the Resurrection Church on Krutitsy built in the mid-17th century over the basement of the ancient Dormition Cathedral that dates back to the early 16th century
  • A number of structures and towers built in the 17th–18th centuries

All these architectural monuments have been restored to regain their original external look and their respective original interior design.


Things to look out for include the authentic Museum of Pilgrimage and Travel to Holy PlacesRussian: Muzey palomnichestva i puteshestviy po Svyatym mestam or Музей паломничества и путешествий по Святым местам. The museum is established in an ancient podkleta utility room under the house, which used to be a prison for the disgraced Protopope Avvakumhe led the opposition to Patriarch Nikon's reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1666. This small repository contains books, paintings, photos, documents and other items related to the travel of Russian pilgrims to the Holy Lands and churches. This is where you can learn how medieval and modern pilgrims went to see Jerusalem, Palestine, New Athos and Russian shrines, kiss the relics brought from the country of the Holy Sepulchre and faraway monasteries, or sign up for one of the scheduled travels to holy places.

Highly qualified expert guides lead prearranged guided tours for both groups and individuals.

© 2016-2023
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total number of grades: 7, average rating: 4.43 (from 5)
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Between Garden Ring and Third Ring Road

Nearest Metro Station



13 Krutitskaya Street, Moscow


Museum Opening Hours / Ticket Office Opening Hours

According to the schedule of services.

Days off


Ticket Price

Free of charge.

Visiting Rules

It is forbidden to smoke on the territory of the Metochion. Photography is allowed with the permission of the senior priest.

Additional Information

A children's Sunday school is open on the territory of the Krutitsy Metochion.


Krutitsy Metochion. Architecture. Photo:
Krutitsy Metochion. Church. Photo:
Krutitsy Metochion. Exterior decoration. Photo:
Visiting Krutitsy Metochion. Photo:
Krutitsy Metochion. Gallery. Photo:
Krutitsy Teremok
Resurrection Passages
Resurrection Church. Frescoes
Krutitsy Metochion. Iconostasis
Krutitsy Metochion. An old inscription
Krutitsy Metochion and Novospassky Monastery
Krutitsky Teremok. View from the south

Featured reviews

Visitor rating:   5.0

June 2017
Unexpectedly, we discovered a beautiful historical place right in the center of Moscow. Especially we were struck by "Teremok" and glazed tiled gate.

May 2017
It's an amazing place for me. The first time I came here, I felt the breath of that time. An outstandingly beautiful gate and the gateway small palace decorated with original tiles look fabulously!!! The place is also popular among our filmmakers - several scenes from the films "Catherine" and "Mata Hari" were shot in the Krutitsy Metochion.

May 2017
The Metochion is a great place to relax and enjoy interesting architecture of the temple. There are houses with carved shutters in the reconstructed courtyard of the 18th century. The territory of the Metochion is open until 9 p.m., it is especially beautiful in the dark.

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