Society > Religion > Orthodox Christianity > The Annunciation Cathedral of Kazan Kremlin
The Annunciation Cathedral of Kazan Kremlin

The Annunciation cathedral - a witness and a preserver of history of the Kremlin and Kazan, many pages of history of the State Russia are connected with it.

The history of The Annunciation cathedral as archpriest A.Yablokov wrote about those years dates to time when «in the Kazan Tatar land Russian civilization just began to settle down and for the first time light of Christianity started to shine". Laying of wooden church on place of the future cathedral refer to acts of tsar Ivan IV who on October 4, 1552 "solemnly, accompanied by brilliant retinue of boyars and generals entered half-demolished walls of the Kazan fortress». Having stopped at northern part of the Kremlin, nearby Khan palace and mosque, the tzar «indicated the place for construction of cathedral church in honour of The Annunciation of the Most Holy the Virgin, he himself put the foundation, set up a life-giving cross on the place intended for throne». The cathedral church cut down in three days was consecrated on October 6, 1552 also at the presence of tsar.

The wooden church in the name of Annunciation has become a temple Sanctifier's chair when on July 28, 1555 here archbishop Gury arrived to head newly founded Kazan diocese.

The Annunciation temple in the Kazan Kremlin became the center of religious - educational life and a stronghold of spreading Christianity in territory.

By Imperial letter in the same year residents from Pskov city were sent to Kazan. The town master Postnik Yakovlev and mason Ivan Shiryai were tasked to build stone walls of the fortress. They erected a stone cathedral on the place of wooden church, having used thus a favourite by the Pskov builders material - roughed down limestone. Stone cathedral of The Annunciation was consecrated on August 15, 1562. Constructed with support of imperial treasury, it had two side altars: from the right side - in the name of martyrs Boris and Gleb, from the left side - in the name of Murom miracle makers Peter and Fevroniya. In Scrivener's books of Kazan of 16th century it is mentioned about the icons in silver frames with gilding donated to the Cathedral by tzar. The Gifts for Cathedral kept coming from the Kazan archbishops and local generals, princes. The tradition of rich donations for the cathedral proceeded till 1920s therefore the unique treasures repeatedly described in Scrivener's books concentrated in Cathedral vestry. These are precious clerical robes, icons, books, vessels had been stored in the cathedral down to closing the cathedral in 1929.

During 16-18th centuries the Cathedral suffered many times from fire. The most devastating fires occurred in 1596, 1672, 1694, 1742, 1749, 1757. Renewals and repairs, expansions and changes of architectural details (extension of side altars, church porches, fraters, replacement of decorative cupolas) made after fires corresponded to likes in church construction of its time and were more or less organic to the forms of initial three apside cross-cupola temple. Archpriests of Kazan not once had to take much trouble for striving to establish anew an appropriate iconostasis, renewal of old mural which fragments are being kept up this day. The most destructive was a fire of 1815 when together with all city the cathedral had burnt out and its former magnificence was being restored for a long time. Exactly during restoration and expansion of the cathedral in 1841 an extensive fraters was built, it extended the initial temple to the West and strongly changed external outlook of the Cathedral. However, the works carried out in 19th century promoted adorn¬ment of the cathedral: high iconostasis resembling ancient famous iconostasis of Sanctifier Gury times» appeared (not preserved) but the main thing - in 1870 interior of the cathedral was painted by sacred and church images located by tiers on walls, vaults and columns. These paintings restored last years are an original ornament of the cathedral.

Activity of Sanctifiers is connected to the Annunciation cathedral Kazan, it is also a place of burial of their ashes. In basement floor of the cathedral, under its low heavy vaults, bodies of deceased Kazan arch-priests - archbishop Tikhon I Khvorostinin (1575-1576), metro¬politans Lavrenti II (1657-1673) and Markell (1691-1698) are reposed. Here the church - tomb in the name of All Saints, consecrated in 1896 by archbishop Kazansky Vladimir was built. Here, bodies of the deceased archbishops Kazansky Afanasi (1857-1866), Vladimir II (Petrov, 1892-1897) and Dmitri (Sambikin, 1905-1908) were buried. Some other Kazan arch-priests died in Kazan were reposing in The Annunciation cathedral on northern and southern walls from fraters and also in side-altar.

Memory of the first arch-priest Kazan Sanctifier Gury is connected with The Annunciation cathedral. In 1841 the cell of Sanctifier was found located under right Borisoglebsk side-church. The cell was built simultaneously with the temple, the Sanctifier held many hours of prayful solitude in it. On east wall of the cell a fresco with image of the Venicle was found. In 1630 the hallows of Gury were moved in temple having become the main relic of Cathedral. Wonder-working multicurative hallows were put in the middle of Cathedral at northern wall, in 1702 the shrine with hallows was put in the middle of cathedral temple where remained before moving the hallows to church of Yaroslavl miracle-makers in 1918.

In the beginning of 20th century The Annunciation Cathedral lost much from its magnificence. The ensemble of the buildings arisen around of old cathedral within several centuries was destroyed in 1920s: the multi-tier stone bell tower with a temple under belfry was demolished, decorative cupolas of drums the western porch and stone fencing disassembled. Little has reached up to now for centuries gathered treasures of a vestry - clerical garments of precious sewing, embroidered covers and banners, icons and on throne crosses with relics, gold and silver church vessels.

In 1977 restoration of cathedral started: external walls, floors were under repair, cupolas and crosses were restored. In the cathedral down to 1996 there were storehouses of republican archive, and restoration of interiors started only in 1997.

From 1995 the complex of the Annunciation cathedral by the decree of RT President Mintimer Sharipovich Shaimiev was transferred in management of the State history-architectural museum - reserve «The Kazan Kremlin». Scientific restoration of the cathedral conducted last years is directed on restoration of its historical shape. After long years of oblivion the cathedral will accept believers, the church service will begin to sound in it again.

Materials provided by “Master” LTD