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Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Khamovniki (Moscow)

2 Lva Tolstogo Street, Moscow (tel.: +7 499 246-72-08, +7 499 246-69-52), Metro station: "Park kultury".

The Church was built under Tsar Fyodor Alekseyevich, in 1679–1682, in the Moscow district of Khamovniki, close to a stone church of St. Nicholas the Wonder-Worker that had existed there before (known since 1657; its wooden predecessor is known since 1625).

The main, unheated part of the Church was consecrated on 25 June 1682. Later the same year, a single-pillar refectory, which included a semi-basement floor and a bell tower, was added; in 1694, the side-chapel of St. Alexius the Holy Hierarch, the metropolitan of Moscow, was added.

In 1757, the Church was enlarged, the left side-chapel of the Holy Hierarch Demetrius of Rostov was added to the refectory's north side.

During Napoleon's invasion of 1812, the Church's interior suffered damage. In 1849, the Church was restored, which involved a significant part of its interior decoration being replaced. In November 1872, on the site of the side-altar of Demetrius of Rostov, the side-altar of the Surety of Sinners Icon of Our Lady was set up. In the early 19th century, the fence and the gate were erected.

The main altar of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas the Wonder-Worker, the side-altars: 1) St. Alexius the Holy Hierarch, the metropolitan of Moscow, and 2) the Surety of Sinners Icon of Our Lady (northern, left).

Sacred objects: a Surety of Sinners Icon of Our Lady in the left side-altar of the same name. This is an exact copy of an ancient, wonder-working icon, which was kept at the Odrino Monastery of St. Nicholas, in the Oryol region; the copy was donated to the Church in 1848.

The Church's main iconostasis contains a 1686 icon of St. Alexius the Holy Hierarch, the metropolitan of Moscow; created by the tsar's painter Ivan Maksimov, the icon depicts the Kremlin together with the Saviour's Gate. Among other honoured sacred objects are five icons of Our Lady (Our Lady of Smolensk (17th century), Our Lady of Vladimir (a present from Patriach Pimen on the occasion of the Church's 300th anniversary), Assuage My Sorrows, Quick to Hear and Three-Handed) and an icon of the Martyr John the Soldier (18th century). The Church's sights: an ancient canopy over a shroud and a 17th-century portable mica lamp, the latter used during cross processions.

The Church's architectural style: Moscow Baroque. It was reconstructed in 1896, 1949, 1972. Along the same axis, from east to west, the following structures are situated: a five-domed, pillarless church, with its lowered, east-oriented, triple altar protrusion (apse), its one-storey refectory and its smart, decorative, three-tier tented-roof bell tower.

The facades of this brick (with some write stone used) Church are decorated with coloured, glazed tiles, rich linings and with vivid, red and green details against a white background. The facades are crowned with two rows of kokoshniks covered with roofing material, on which purely decorative domes rest, on special kokoshniks. The Church's windows are richly decorated: ordinary and "stellar" kokoshniks, brick linings and ceramic inserts and, in the corners, vividly coloured fasciculate piers. On the exterior walls, three tombstone epitaphs have survived (18th century). An 18th-century side-portal (a canopy over the entrance from the street).

The Church's bell tower is one of Moscow's tallest tented-roof bell towers: "octagon upon square", with 32 dormer-windows (resonators). It stands out with its vivid colour and tile decoration. Its first tier features paired windows with kokoshniks. The belfry tier, where bells are situated, consists of open, wide, ogee arches resting on low small posts. The old bells have survived; for example, there is a bell cast by the master Mikhail Ladygin in 1685. In 1992, a 108-pud (1769-kilogram or 3,900-pound) bell, which had been removed in the 1930s, was hung in the bell tower. The bell tower's tented roof is decorated with coloured tiles. The entrances to the bell tower's side-annexes are of late construction. The wall painting inside the Church — 1845. The iconostasis and the chandeliers were renovated in 1872. The Church has never been shut down. In 1922, 5 puds (82 kilograms or 181 pounds) worth of golden and silver church ornaments and plate were confiscated.

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Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Khamovniki


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