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Church of the Blachernitissa Icon of the Theotokos in Kuzminki (Moscow)

Bld. 1, 7 Kuzminskaya Street, Moscow (tel.: +7 495 377-87-88), Metro stations: "Ryazansky prospekt", "Kuzminki".

http://www.vlahernskoe.prihod.ru

The Church is situated in the centre of the estate. The first wooden church was built there in 1716, in Stroganovs' time. It was consecrated and dedicated to the Blachernitissa Icon of the Theotokos, the family sacred icon of the estate's owners.

The Icon was given this name since originally it was kept in Blachernae (a small town on the bank of the Bosphorus, near Constantinople). The Byzantine empress built there a monastery in the 5th century. A church dedicated to the Theotokos was situated there and owned the Blachernitissa. As late as in that time, the Icon was revered as a miracle-working. So, in 1830, when cholera raged in Moscow, nobody fell ill with it in Kuzminki parish. Duke Sergey Golitsyn cast a bell of 260 poods (4,258 kg or 9,390 lb.) in weight in honour of this event.

After Constantinople was occupied by the Turks, the Icon was hidden in the patriarchate. Then, for the safety reasons, it was moved to the Monastery of Athos and in 1653 (1654), it was gifted to Tsar Alexis I by some merchant.

However, there is a legend that two Blachernitissa icons were delivered to Moscow. One of them came to the Cathedral of the Dormition, Moscow, and the other became a patronal icon of the Church of the Blachernitissa Icon of the Theotokos in Kuzminki. The icon of the Virgin Mary with child is painted with a rare embossed technique and, according to modern experts, dates back to the 7th century. Today, the Icon is kept in the State Tretyakov Gallery.

The stone church was built in 1759 to 1774 with support from Duke Mikhail Golitsyn. Originally, it was a baroque church. However, as early as in 1784 to 1787, the Church was rebuilt as a classical one. Architects: I. Zherebtsov, R. Kazakov, I. Yegotov.

In 1812, during Napoleon's invasion, the church was looted. Witnesses said that the French rode into the Church and carried off holy vessels and icons.

In 1828, Empress Maria Feodorovna gifted a purl and diamond brooch to the family sacred icon of the Church, the Blachernitissa Icon.

During the 19th century, the Church's interior and finishing were repeatedly changed. In 1829, the side chapel of St. Sergius of Radonezh was built according to the designs by Domenico Gilardi and Mikhail Bikovsky. In 1839, it was connected to a wooden gallery. There are two side chapels in the Church that are dedicated to St. Alexander Nevsky and St. Sergius of Radonezh. The most known of the estate's owners, Duke Sergey Golitsyn, was buried in the side chapels of St. Sergius of Radonezh in 1859. In 1842, a clock was mounted to the side chapel. It had only one hour hand.

The Church functioned till 1929. After it was closed, the holly vessels were moved away; the bell tower was dismantled; the building itself was rebuilt as a hostel; the dome and the bells were broken.

In 1992, the Church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1995, architect Y. Vorontsova reconstructed the original appearances of the Church and the bell tower. In September 1995, the Church was consecrated by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

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Church of the Blachernitissa Icon of the Theotokos in Kuzminki


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