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Church of Sophia the Holy Wisdom of God by the Cannon Court (Moscow)

15 Pushechnaya Street, Moscow, Metro stations: "Lubyanka", "Kuznetsky Most".

According to historians, it is quite probable that the Church of Sophia the Holy Wisdom of God emerged due to the settlement of former Novgorod inhabitants in Moscow in the late 15th century. The street laid out here was named Sofiyskaya Street, after the Church.

The now-existing Church was built in 1692 on the site of a wooden church, which was built in 1585–1590 and burned down in 1685. In the second half of the 18th century, the Church was rebuilt. By the end of the century, the facades had been redecorated, the dome-shaped roof had been redesigned, the northern side-chapel of St. Nicholas had been added, as had been, on the western side, a two-tiered bell tower connected with the Church by a passage.

After 1812 Napoleon's invasion, the Church was repaired, with its appearance acquiring features of the Empire style.

In 1816, the bell tower's lower tier was decorated with porticoes, and the openings of the second tier (the belfry) were lined with columns. A cylindrical structure, featuring a dome and a spire, was added on top of this octagonal tier.

In 1839, the Church's remodelling project was designed; it took into account the changes to the configuration of the churchyard, which were made in 1819 when the site underwent replanning. On the eastern side, new side-chapels were absolutely symmetrical, while the southern side-chapel narrowed abruptly towards the west, with its facade placed on the setback line. The central apse was made rectangular; its eastern wall marked the boundary of a neighbouring land plot.

In 1842, a refectory and the southern side-chapel of Our Lady of Kazan were constructed; as if cut by the street line, the latter was given an irregular shape. The former, triple altar was replaced with a rectangular one. In the late 19th century, the Church's decor was partially modified.

In the 1890s, the facades and the dome roof were renovated, the decoration details were lost and the remains of the kokoshniks became hidden under the dome-shaped roof.

The Church was renovated in 1901.

During the 20th-century prosecution of Orthodoxy, the ancient Sophia Church, situated in the very centre of the Russian capital, shared the fate of many Christian churches. It was shut down and partially destroyed. Handed over to the KGB, its building was used as a warehouse facility. In 1934, the upper tier of the Church's bell tower and its colonnade were dismantled.

The Church was reconstructed in August 2001 with the active assistance of the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB), with FSB officers making a charitable contribution to the reconstruction fund. The building is under the protection of the state (object no. 188).

On 6 March 2002, the Church was consecrated by the Most Holy Patriarch Alexius II, who donated an icon of Our Lady of Tenderness.

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Church of Sophia the Holy Wisdom of God by the Cannon Court



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