Neo-Renaissance on Ivanovskaya Hill: the protected subject of the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner Cathedral is approved

April 1

Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage approved the protected subject of Beheading of St. John the Forerunner Cathedral. Once the scientific research was completed the experts compiled a list of all the valuable architectural and decorative elements of the structure.

The church is part of the architectural ensemble of the St. John the Forerunner Convent, more commonly known as the Ivanovsky Monastery. By the way, it was the monastery that gave name to one of the seven Moscow hills — Ivanovskaya Hill.

You can find the cathedral at: 2/4, Maly Ivanovsky pereulok, building 5 . It is built in the Neo-Renaissance style. However, its architecture also contains elements of ancient Russian architecture.

"The main cathedral of the monastery is the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner Convent — its architecture is very unusual for Orthodox churches. It was built in the XIX century modeled after Italian basilicas. In particular, the famous Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The approved protected subject includes the architectural and art design of the cathedral facades, galleries-passages, twin bell towers and holy gates. Of special value are the elements of the cathedral interior design, such as pilasters, semi-columns and columns lined with artificial marble, multi-complex portals," Head of Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexey Yemelyanov said.

The protected subject also includes vaults and domes painted with ornaments in the grisaille technique, imitating stucco decoration. In addition, there are picturesque compositions and images of saints made on canvases or metal boards.

Experts estimated the marble and white stone floors of the cathedral, as well as mosaic floors with an ornamental pattern of cubes of colored marble.

The Beheading of St. John the Forerunner Convent is a cultural heritage site of federal significance. The building is under state protection. Any restoration work in it can only be carried out taking into account the confirmed protected subject according to the project agreed by Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage and under supervision of the department specialists.

According to one of the historical versions, the Ivanovskiy Monastery was founded in the XIV–XV centuries and was originally located in Zamoskvorechye historical district near Pyatnitskaya Street — the reminder is the temple in Chernigovskiy Lane in the name of the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner. In the 1530s, by order of the future Tsar’s Ivan IV the Terrible mother, Princess Elena Glinskaya, the monastery was relocated to the other side of the river where it is situated today.

At that very time a stone cathedral was built in the name of John the Forerunner. After the Patriotic War of 1812 the monastery was ruined and abolished. However, it was decided in 1859 to restore it. Almost all the monastic buildings, including the churches, were dismantled. A new architectural complex was built In their place in 1860-1879 (and survived to this day) according to architect M. D. Bykovsky’s project.

There are double windows on the lobed dome of the cathedral that reminds you of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore dome in Florence. And it is crowned with a Russian-type onion-shaped dome around which there are small pyramids with crosses.

The Ivanovsky Monastery was not only a community of monks. The Soviet times saw it to be used as places of detention. Later, the cathedral was transformed into an archive and the buildings with monastic cell housed the Higher Legal School of Correspondence Courses of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs. Only in the early 2000s the status of the monastery was returned and the divine worships were resumed in the cathedral. Large-scale restoration works were carried out on the entire territory.


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