Other Churches and Museums

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The Andronikov Monastery

1360 -15th cent.

Photo Peter Grigoriev, Winter 2010

The towers of the Andronikov Monastery, today “Rublyev Museum”

The Andronikov Monastery was founded in 1360 by Metropolitan Alexei. It is named for its first abbot, Andronikus. The most famous resident of the Monastery in the 14th-century was Andrei Rublyev (c.1360-1430), the great painter of medieval Russia. Rublyev may be buried in the monastery's crypt. In 1989(!). He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, for which occasion a statue of him was erected outside the monastery.

Photo RWFG 1977

Church of the Icon of the “Savior-Not-made-by-Hand" in the Andronikov, 1420-27

The Curch of the Savior is Moscow's oldest stone structure. It stands on the site of the mass grave of Russian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Kulikovo (1380), which eventually led to the end of Mongol rule in Russia. The triple apses and shape of the cathedral's dome reflect early medieval Vladimir architecture, while the pyramid of zakomary and kokoshniki reflect the early Moscow style. The original interiors were sadly lost in the Napoleon fire of 1812, but fragments of the frescoes have been restored.

Photo icon-art

Holy Face, The Icon of the Savior "Not-made-by-Hand", (Mandylion), third quarter of the 14th century, Rublyov Museum.

The Rublyov Museum in the Andronikov Monastery

Photo RWFG 1977, 1984

In the 1970-90 this modest building contained the Rublyov Museum, which then showed rotating exhibitions of the large icon collection of the Tretyakov Gallery which had no place in Socialist Realism. On several vists I saw some magnificent icons there, which would subsequently vanish in the Tretyakov basement never to be seen again. - In 1977 I finally decided to take photos at ambient light myself.

Only now did I rediscover their provenance on the large website of In general I will attach my favourite icons to the buldings where they originally came from. A large number cannot, however, be definitely placed or even dated - dendrochronology has not arrived in Russia as yet. Some of my photos are attached below:

A lovely detail of a large icon of the Birth of the Vigin, mid 17th cent

Another detail of the same icon

Dionysius, Crucifixion, 1500

And two small icons most dear to me

Rublyov's circle, Transfiguration, 1425. Of this icon I made a cloisonne emaille copy for my own use.

Rublyov or his circle, St. John the Forerunner, Vologda early 15th cent

All Photos RWFG 1977 and 1984

The Tretyakov Gallery

1856-1892, recent extensions

Photo Official Website of the Tretyakov Gallery

Entrance to the main building. Before 1989 it was the dreary show-place of Socialist Realism. The beautiful icons were stored out of sight in the basement - or occasionally exhibited in th Rublyov Museum in the Andronikov Monastery. That was why I began to take photos of many of the most beautiful icons.

One memorable morning in 1984 a physicist friend arranged for a guided tour of the museum by Natalya Avtonomova, the wife of a colleague of both of us. She was curating a Russian retrospective of Vassily Kandinsky at the time, which I was lucky enough to catch in Moscow in 1989. Two unforgotten mornings.

Donskoi Monastery The Old Church


Photo RWFG 1977
Annunciation (Dormition) Cathedral or Old Church 1598

Photo RWFG 1977

The Virgin of the Don, Donskaya Theotokos, one of the most revered miracle-working icons in Russia. A double-sided icon with an Assumption on the reverse. It was painted by Theophanes the Greek in the 1390s forthe Assumption Cathedral in Kolomna. In the 17th cent it was moved to the Moscow Annunciation Cathedral in the Donskaya Monastery by Ivan the Terrible(?). - This provenance ist wildly disputed by the Russian art historians. - Now in the Tretyakov Gallery, a copy replaces it in the Donskaya iconostasis.
For reference see icon-art

Donskoi Monastery, Cathedral of the Mother of the Don


Photo RWFG 1977

The Church of the Icon of Our Mother of the Don 1684

The Great or New Cathedral was begun in 1684 on the orders of Tsarina Sofia, Peter the Great's half-sister and regent for the early years of his reign. The masons and artisans came from Kiev, which explains some of the cathedral's unusual features. For the first time in Moscow, the five domes were arranged according to the four corners of the Earth. Eight tiers of its ornate baroque iconostasis were carved by Kremlin masters in 1688–1698. The iconostasis' central piece is a copy of the Virgin of the Don, as painted in the mid-16th century. The cathedral frescoes were executed by the Italian Antonio Claudio in 1782–1785.

Photo RWFG 1977

Since 1711, the Great Cathedral's vault was used for the burials of Georgian kings of the Bagrationi family and Mingrelian dukes of the Dadiani family.

Donskoi Monastery Gate


Photo RWFG 1977

The Gate Church of Zakhari and Elisaveta

The eight square and four circular towers were erected in 1686–1711. The Holy Gate of the monastery (1693) is topped with the Tikhvin church (1713–1714)

Church of St. Nikholas at Khamovnikakh


Photo RWFG 1980

Photo RWFG 1980

Photo RWFG 1980

This church was the surprise of my vist in October 1980, shortly after the Moscow Olympics. It had been spruced up for the tourists emerging from the metro station on their way to the Olympic venues near the Novodeviche Monastery.

Church of the Deposition of the Robe on Donskaya Street

Late 18th cent

Photo Sergey Duhanin Panoramio

The last church built before the great deflagration after Napoleon took the city.
A "working" church in 1977. I visited it many times, once during a baptism another time at a funeral.
Sergey Duhanin's photograph is exactly how I remember it from May 1977.

Novospassky Monastery

mid 17th cent

Photo RWFG 1977

Founded 1491 on the bank of the Moskva, the monastery was patronized by the Sheremetyev and Romanov boyars as a family sepulchre. Upon the Romanovs' ascension to the Moscovy throne, Michael of Russia completely rebuilt their family shrine in the 1640s. Apart from the 18th-century bell-tower and the Sheremetev sepulchre in the church of the Sign, all other buildings date from that period. They include the large Spassky (Transfiguration) Cathedral (1645-49) with frescoes by the best 17th-century painters, the Pokrovsky (Intercession) church at the refectory, the House of Loaf-Giving, a hospital, monks' living quarters, and the palace of Patriarch Filaret.

Photo RWFG 1977

In the 1970 and 80s the monastery was a wasteland. Among the rubble I found this mosaic of the Holy Face .

Krutitskoe, Church of the Dormition


Photo Panoramio

Church of the Assumption, 1700. Originally Krutitskoe was the patriarchal farmstead. In 1977 it had been turned into a political security prison, photographing strictly forbidden. In August 2008 the Assumption church was completely restored including its murals and the iconostasis.

Church of the Iberian Mother of God in Nikitinakh


Photo RWFG 1977

Church of the Georgian Mother of God in Nikitinakh. Nikitinakh was once the Georgian quarter of Moscow. Regrettably it was closed in the 1970s. It is supposed to house good frescoes. - In the distance the former Headquarters of the KPSU

Danilov Monastery, Seat of the Russian Patriarch

19th - 20th cent

Photo Sergey Duhanin Panoramio

Since 1983 the seat of the Russian Patriarch. A classicistic temple overwhelmingly gilded inside.

Photo Sergey Duhanin Panoramio

Modern funeral chapel at the Danilov Monastery 1983

In the second half of the 19th century, Danilov Monastery's cemetery was a final resting place for many writers, artists and scientists, such as Nikolai Gogol, Nikolai Yazykov, Vasili Perov, Nikolai Rubinstein and many others. The remains of most of them, however, were later transferred to different cemeteries by the Patriarch....

In 1983, Danilov Monastery was returned to the Moscow Patriarchate and became a spiritual and administartive center of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1988, the monastery was restored. They built a residence for the Patriarch and Synod, a funeral chapel and a chapel in commemoration of the 1000 years of Russia's baptism.

Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior

1994 -1996

Photo Panoramio

This monstrosity on the Moskva Embankment, a few blocks east of the Kreml is a replica of a late 19th-century cathedral
which had been razed by Stalin to make room for the never finished “Palace of the Soviets”, later a swimming pool.
It was reconstructed in 1994 - 1996.

Alexander Nevsky Church in Kozhukhova


Photo Peter Grigoriev 2010

Alexander Nevsky Church in Kozhukhova and its bell tower (Prospect Andropova and ul. Trofimova)

Photo Peter Grigoriev 2010

This building is a charming example of the new wave of "old style" churches.
A private donor had it built in 2005 - 2008 by the architect Ay. Pshenichnikov
Its interior is still bare waiting for someone to paint it with frescoes.

For reference see: