This is a blog for use in both of my HIS 241 and HIS 242 Russian history survey courses at Northern Virginia Community College.

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03 February 2008

Muscovite Russia

There are plenty of churches that survive in Russia from the medieval period, including those in the Kremlin and on Red Square.

These are the domes on what is popularly known as St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square. If I remember correctly, the number of domes on a Russian Orthodox church is usually an odd number: one dome symbolic of one God; three domes corresponding to the Holy Trinity; five domes representing Jesus of Nazareth and the authors of the four Gospels; seven domes to mean the seven traditional sacraments; thirteen domes for the twelve apostles and Jesus of Nazareth.


Heather Fahrenwald said...

I had always thought that Russia was an atheist state until I read this section of our text book. I learned that Russia was really far behind Western Europe and finally took up their baroque art to contribute to the decorations of the church in icons and paintings. The Russian peoples considered the Western Europeans as heretics because of their new reforms, and in turn refused to reform the Russian church when leaders wanted too, although they did take the new advances the Western Europeans came up with, such as, education, art, and advanced in education as time went on.

Rolland La Haie said...

I've been to a few Western European Cathedrals in my travels, including St. Vitus in Prague. Although I've never actually been IN one of Russia's many famous cathedrals, I find both the design, and the colorful paint schemes more welcoming than the gargoyles and flying buttresses of Western Europe!

Anonymous said...

Most russian churches are "dark" and kind of depressing. The murals on the walls, the icons have quite severe facial expression. Those churches and cathedrals are suitable for grieving, crying and praying over your losses, but there is no joy inside those walls.

Anonymous said...

When I visited Russia in November. I had the oportunity to visit one of the cathedrals there. It was beautiful! The cathedral was filled with tradition. The paintings and sculptures were beautiful and you could tell it had a lot of history behind it.

Julia P said...

The mystery church looks like the Archangelski Temple in Kremlin, Moscow. That Temple was a place of burial for many aristocrats from Moscow's dynasty. This is a place where Dimitry Donskoi, Ivan the IIIrd, Ivan the Terrible and many others found their peace.