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Church of the Dormition, Church of the Assumption in Goncharnaya Sloboda (Moscow)

29 Goncharnaya Street, Moscow (tel.: +7 495 915-62-88, +7 495 915-62-16), Metro station: "Taganskaya", "Marksistskaya".

The Church was built in 1654 atop Tagansky Hill, just beyond the Yauza River, in the sloboda (settlement) where potters lived. It origianally replaced an older stone church with one altar. Its predecessor, a wooden church, was first mentioned in 1632.

The Church features one altar dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. In 1702, a one-sided refectory was added from the west. On its southern side, it had a side chapel dedicated to St. Tikhon, the bishop of Amathus. The Church was decorated with tiles by tilemaker Stepan Polubes.

In 1790 (according to various sources, between 1764 and 1774), a bell tower was constructed.

The Church was renovated after the 1773 fire and 1812 Napoleon invasion.

After being reconstructed in 1836, a compass window appeared on the Church's facade, and a southern forechurch emerged in the bell tower. In 1902, an annex was attached to the bell tower from the south, and a wide opening was cut in the refectory's western facade to the annex. Also, a new altar area was made in the refectory. The gate and the fence appeared in the early 19th century.

The Church is a double-height cube without columns and is completed with kokoshniks and crowned by five onion domes with stars and a three-part altar. The Church is decorated with clusters of small columns, a belt of ornamental kokoshniks above a crowning overhanging cornice with a frieze of shirinkas, as well as window casings. The Church is adorned with artistic tiles that have mostly survived in their original appearance (they are along the northern wall and above a tambour). The dome, atop the octagonal, is decorated with an ornament resembling a field of flowers. The side chapel is crowned with domes on the drum decorated with tiled relief figures of the four apostles. Instead of showing them with their traditional looks, the apostles have Russian national faces (Stepan Polubes, the 17th century).

The one-column refectory has a colourful tiled frieze that faces the street. The 17th century style faience inserts on the western facade were actually made in the late 19th century by Kuznetsov's Factory. The dome stars also date back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The bell tower was constructed in post Peter I baroque style. Three wide square tiers are crowned with a ribbed cupola with a small dome on a faceted drum.

The Church has not been closed since 1917. Since 1948, the Church has been a representative of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Church was reconstructed in 1949.

The main sacred object is a specially honoured Three Handed Virgin Icon. It is the 1716 copy of another copy delivered from Athos Hilandar Monastery to Patriarch Nikon and presented in the New Jerusalem Monastery in 1663. The Icon gets its name from the time St. James of Damascus prayed to the Virgin Mary when his hand was wrongfully cut off. The Virgin Mary miraculously restored St. James of Damascus' hand, which is depicted on the Icon.

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Church of the Dormition, Church of the Assumption in Goncharnaya Sloboda



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