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Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Rogozhskaya Sloboda (Moscow)

57–59 Nikoloyamskaya Street, Moscow (tel.: +7 495 912-14-90), Metro stations: "Ploshchad Ilyicha", "Rimskaya", "Taganskaya", "Marksistskaya".

The Church of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh in Rogozskaya (or Gonnaya) Quarter, beyond the River Yauza, is situated in Nikoloyamskaya Street; the street was named after the Church of St. Nicolas the Wonderworker in Yamy, which used to be situated here, but was destroyed in Soviet times. In 1595, Tsar Boris Godunov set up here a settlement for "yamshchiki" (coachmen), who delivered post (which was then known in Russian as "gonba"), this way performing their service to the crown. This is where these old place names come from.

St. Sergius Church emerged here as early as the beginning of the 17th century and was rebuilt under Emperor Paul I. In 1812, during Napoleon's invasion, the church was looted (only the plate and ornaments, buried underground, survived) and burned to the ground by the French troops.

The now-existing building was built in 1818 using the funds of State Counsellor G. Smoyansky, who spent almost all his fortune on it. The bell tower appeared in 1864. The Church's main altar is consecrated in the name of the Life-Giving Trinity, while the altar table in the name of the Venerable Sergius is consecrated in a side-chapel. Since old times, the Church has been painted blue, as it is now. The Church of the Venerable Sergius used to possess a remarkable collection of old icons; people used to say that by its wealth the Church compared even with the Krelmin cathedrals.

In November 1899, a special auditorium was consecrated at St. Sergius Church; the auditorium hosted discussions with the Old Believers, religious reading events and spiritual concerts: a wonderful choir of the blind, one of Moscow's best, for which special scores had been made, performed at the Church.

In 1922, the wonder-working icon of Our Lady of Chernigov-Gethsemane was moved here from the Gethsemane Skete of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. The icon stayed in St. Sergius Church up until 1938 when it was shut down, later becoming part of a private collector from Moscow Region.

Old timers remember one woman who was earnestly destroying the Church's decoration. She used an axe to cut icons to pieces and burned them in a bonfire together with church books. The invaluable scores for the blind were thrown into the fire as well, even though the blind singers, standing around the woman, were begging her not to destroy them. The Church's building was used as workshops and a warehouse. Some people even said that a shower cabin had been set up in the Church's central part. The domes and roofs of the Church became covered with small trees, and the entire building developed deep cracks.

In 1985, the Church was handed over to the Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art, situated not far away from St. Sergius Church, at the Andronikov Monastery of the Saviour, on the bank of the Yauza. The Church was to house an exhibition of ancient Russian art, and there were even plans for putting fragments of the wall painting of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on display there. However, the Church was handed over to the believers before that happened. On 4 December 1991, it was consecrated; it is now a functioning church.

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Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Rogozhskaya Sloboda



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