Cathedral of the Annunciation is one of the most important churches
in Moscow Kremlin as well as of Russia despite its modest size and
appearance. It was constructed in 1484 on the orders of Grand Prince
Ivan III. Cathedral of the Annunciation traditionally served as a
home church for the rulers of Russia. The head of the church was
also the spiritual father for the first family of Russia. They
offered guidance in spiritual questions and personal problems. In
essence they were Medieval version of a personal therapists and
psychologist. The tradition continued when Romanov family ascended
to the throne all the way to their downfall in 1917.
first wooden church of the Annunciation was erected here in 1397 by
Grand Prince Vasily I, son of Dmitry Donskoy. Most of kids of
princes were baptized here. The Iconostasis of the church as well as
frescoes were painted (or written to be precise) by most famous
artists of the time including Andrei (Andrew) Rublev, Theophanes the
Greek, Prokhor from a town of Gorodtsa.
Between 1484 and
1489 Cathedral of the Annunciation was reconstructed in stone and
subsequently it became a Cathedral under supervision of Pskov
architects Krivtsov and Myshkin. During great fire of 1547 during
reign of Ivan the Terrible the frescoes of the church were re-
painted. Ivan's son Fedor or Fyodor also added a golden cross on the
main dome of the cathedral. During invasion of Napoleon in 1812 this
crossed have disappeared and probably hidden by Russian peasants or
workers. Despite fervent attempts by the French soldiers to find
they were never able to recover.
After the Russian
Revolution Cathedral of the Annunciation was closed in 1918. Today
it was re- opened to the public. The most important icon in the
church is a wonder making icon of Holy Mother of God, written by
Theophanes the Greek. It is situated on the left side of the King's
Gate, the main entrance of iconostasis to the altar of the church.