The Church of the Assumption in Kolomenskoe
The Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye is an Orthodox church located in Kolomenskoye, which used to be a town and the residence of Russian princes, and today is part of the city limits of Moscow.
The Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye is a masterpiece of Russian and world architecture, possibly the first tent church in Russia.
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According to legend, this church was decided to build by the Grand Duke of Moscow Vasily III, who for a long time did not have a son to whom the throne could be transferred. Already in adulthood, Vasily III became the father of the future Russian tsar Ivan IV the Terrible. In honor of the baptism of the long-awaited heir, the Grand Duke ordered the construction of a church in the village of Kolomenskoye, near Moscow.
The Ascension Church is also known as memorial churches, built in honor of an event. The tradition of memorial churches in Russia appeared in the 16th century.
In the first half of the 16th century, Russian rulers invited Italian architects to build original churches and cathedrals, such as the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, the family tomb of the Archangel Rurikovich Cathedral and the walls of the Moscow Kremlin.
The architect of the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye was Peter Francissk Anibale, an architect from Italy, who became famous in Russia as Petrok Maly or Peter Fryazin. The Ascension Cathedral in Kolomenskoye was built in 1528-1532.
The unusual church not only impresses the modern visitors of the museum’s reserve, but it was unusual for people who lived in the 16th century. On the high bank of the Moskva River, a 62-meter white stone pillar grows in a powerful gallery base. The main atmosphere of the church is established by the three kokoshniks that resemble the flames, and a tent, whose upper part is crowned with a golden cross. The slender and very high silhouette of the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye also sends imagination to the images of the defensive towers.
With its appearance, the temple speaks of a biblical event: the Ascension of Jesus Christ to God the Father.
The composition of the Temple of the Ascension is as follows: in the four, a lower base, an octagon, an octagonal pillar crowned with a tent is erected. The tent in this case is a multi-sided pyramid that looks like cloth tents.
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The main material of the building is brick, white stone elements are present. Due to the original appearance, the church-oriented churches that look up are also called “Russian Gothic”, although later elements are also present at the appearance of the Ascension Church. Previously, not a single stone church in Russia was decorated with a tent, only arches and domes were used.
It is widely believed that the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye is the first Russian tent-style church. Historians have shown that the first carp church in Russia was built of wood near the Kremlin in honor of the birth of Ivan the Terrible, but has not survived to this day.
The interior of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord was not preserved in its original form. The internal space is relatively small, because the church was used only by the princely family while they were in their residence in Kolomenskoye. The Ascension Church is very bright due to the skillful and proportional combination of architectural techniques and materials. The modern iconostasis was rebuilt according to the model of the iconostases of the 16th and later centuries.
During the long period of its existence, the church was practically not rebuilt, so the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in Kolomenskoye was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Kolomenskoye museum reserve building complex . The modern aspect of the temple does not fully coincide with the original aspect.
The first consecration of the Ascension Church took place in Kolomenskoye in 1532, and the second in 2000.
At the beginning of the 21st century, a significant restoration of the temple was carried out, but the wooden structures of the ceilings on the galleries were completely destroyed, the cracks in the walls were not studied or closed thoroughly. The current state of the church is worrisome due to its location on the coast, prone to landslides.
Divine services are carried out not in the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye, but in the attached church of St. George on Sundays and some holidays.
Once the restoration is completed, in the basement of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in Kolomenskoye there is a permanent exhibition “Secrets of the Church of the Ascension”. The sub-base itself is also of interest; Some of its details are not entirely clear to researchers. It was in Kolomensky, in the basement of the Ascension Church, where they tried to search for the mysteriously missing library of Ivan the Terrible. Also in 1917, in the basement of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, the ancient miraculous icon of the Mother of God “Sovereign” was miraculously discovered, which is now stored in the church of the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan.
The exhibition, located here, in the changing rooms, presents rare materials from the Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve collections. In addition to photographs that record the status of the Church of the Ascension in different periods, they exhibited fragments of chronicles, a list of the “Sovereign” icon of the Mother of God, dimensional drawings and projects of architects of past centuries. Visitors can watch a movie about the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye.
In the twentieth century, archaeological excavations were carried out in Kolomenskoye, revealing a large number of decorative details of carved white stone of the Ascension Church and other artifacts that bear witness to the lives of Russians in ancient times.
How to get
You must first arrive at the Kolomenskoye estate, its official address is Andropova Avenue, 39.
Take the subway to Kolomenskaya station along the Zamoskvoretskaya (green) line, then walk for about 15-20 minutes through the apartment buildings to the entrance to the museum reserve. Then, use the reservation signs, heading to the banks of the Moscow River, where you will see the Ascension Church. Near the temple are the Church of St. George with a bell tower and the Vodovzvodnaya tower.
You can also enter the museum reserve from the other side, where Alexei Mikhailovich’s palace is located. Go to the Kashirskaya metro station on the Zamoskvoretskaya or Kakhovskaya turquoise green line. From the subway, you must walk about 300 meters to the entrance of the museum and then follow the signs to the Ascension Temple.
Use ground transportation to get to the Kolomenskaya stop near the subway.
By car, it is convenient to reach Andropov Avenue, near the Kolomenskoye estate, there are a lot of parking spaces. Be careful, there are often traffic jams on this road.