For a long time, the Kremlin's Assumption Cathedral was not only the main temple of Moscow, but of the whole of Russia. It was here that for several centuries the wedding ceremonies to the throne of Russian monarchs took place, here in 1613 Tsar Mikhail Romanov was elected by the Zemsky Sobor, who became the founder of a new dynasty. Currently, the Assumption Cathedral is the oldest of all buildings in the capital, which have been completely preserved.
The Assumption Cathedral was founded in 1326, during the reign of Ivan Kalita. Its founder was Metropolitan Peter, who transferred his throne from the ancient center of North-Western Russia, Vladimir, to Moscow. During the fire in 1470, the temple was badly damaged, it was decided to rebuild it. In 1472 the architects Krivtsov and Myshkin took up the work. But after a while, when the cathedral was already erected up to the vaults, the walls suddenly collapsed. Many versions were put forward - from miscalculation of builders and poor quality mortar to an earthquake. Such natural disasters, although rare, do occur in Moscow.
But, Prince Ivan III did not abandon the grandiose plan - to build a grandiose temple in Moscow. The Italian engineer Aristotle Fioravanti was invited to Russia, who began work in 1475. Four years later, the Moscow Kremlin was decorated with a new cathedral. It was built of white stone and brick. The consecration of the Assumption Cathedral took place on August 12, 1479. The interior of the cathedral was richly decorated with paintings, over which the best Russian masters worked.
On January 16, 1547, Ivan IV, who became the first tsar in the history of our state, was crowned to the throne in the Assumption Cathedral. The ceremony was accompanied by the ringing of bells throughout the city, the high title of the young tsar equated Russia with the Byzantine Empire, and Moscow officially became the reigning city over the entire Russian state.
The Assumption Cathedral houses one of the world's largest collections of icons. Some of them were written in Moscow in the XIV-XV centuries, others were brought here from the more ancient cities of Russia. Nowadays you can see such revered icons as "The Mother of God" Petrovskaya ", " Spas "Zlatye Vlasy", "Spas" Yaroe Eye "and others.
In the northern aisle of the cathedral are the relics of St. Peter, during which, in the XIV century, the metropolitan see was transferred from Vladimir to Moscow. The Assumption Cathedral is the burial vault of all Moscow patriarchs from 1589 to 1700, with the exception of Nikon and Ignatius. According to his will, the reformer of the Russian Church Nikon was buried in the New Jerusalem Monastery, and Ignatius was buried in the Trinity Monastery in Vilno.
The Assumption Cathedral was badly damaged during the Patriotic War of 1812. The French, who captured the city, began to plunder it, and the Assumption Cathedral, the main temple of Russia at that time, was turned into a stable. Many ancient icons were taken out of the cathedral, and the frames with which the icons were decorated were melted down by the conquerors. Thus, they managed to extract more than 5 tons of silver and 290 kilograms of gold. It was possible to return only a small part. On August 30, 1813, the Assumption Cathedral was re-consecrated.
At the end of the 19th century, before the wedding to the reign of Nicholas II, the cathedral was once again carefully restored. The festivities took place in May 1896, hardly anyone could then assume that the last Russian emperor would come to the throne. A little more than two decades passed, and the autocracy in Russia collapsed.
During the revolutionary events of 1917, the Assumption Cathedral was slightly damaged by shelling. But, as it turned out, the main difficulties were ahead. In 1918, the last Easter service took place in the cathedral, the temple was closed, and a few years later, by the decision of the new government, a museum was opened here.
In the difficult twenties, many church values were sold abroad for a pittance. The Cathedral of the Assumption did not escape this fate. Church services resumed in it only in 1990. True, there were rumors that at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, at the direction of Stalin, a prayer for salvation from the enemy was served here. Currently, services in the Assumption Cathedral are held only on major Christian holidays, and the rest of the time the museum continues to work here.
The famous battle painter Vasily Vereshchagin worked for eight years (1887-1895) on his painting "In the Assumption Cathedral". The canvas depicts one of the most tragic episodes in the history of this ancient Moscow temple. In the Orthodox shrine, the horses of the French army chew hay, and the soldiers are busy looting: removing icons from the iconostasis. By the way, most of the jewelry stolen in Moscow has never been found. it is assumed that the bulk of what was stolen and taken out of Moscow was dumped near Smolensk in Lake Semlevskoye. But, a multi-meter layer of silt interferes with the search for scuba divers.