HISTORY

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The Patriarch's Palace and the Twelve Apostles' Church

The Patriarch's Palace is one of the best and rarest monuments of Moscow mid XVII century's civil architecture. The Palace was erected in 1653-1655 by Russian masters on Patriarch Nikon’s order on the place of more ancient constructions of the Metropolitan and later Patriarch's Estate in the Moscow Kremlin. 

Nowadays, the Cross Chamber, the Front Anteroom, the refectory and the Twelve Apostles' Church house the exposition, exploring the history and peculiarities of the Russian culture through the XVIIth century. Precious housewares, jewelry, ceremonial hunting equipment, ancient furniture and items of ecclesiastical embroidery presented here were created by masters of Russia, European and Eastern countries. The majority of items were made in national traditions by Russian masters of Moscow Kremlin Workshops and masters from Jaroslavl, Kostroma and other towns.

According to records, in the first half of the XIVth century Metropolitan Peter received place for his court to the north of the Assumption Cathedral from Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita (the Money-bag).

In 1450, Metropolitan Iona built the Church of Laying of Our Lady's Holy Robe and first stone chamber in the Kremlin at that place. During the 1473 fire in Moscow the court was completely destroyed, and Metropolitan Geronty had to rebuilt it. In 1484-1485, Pskov makers erected the new Church of Laying of Our Lady's Holy Robe survived  till nowadays.  All the later metropolitans and patriarchs (since the late XVIth century) erected wooden and stone constructions for their property estate in the Kremlin.

During the polish and Swedish invasion and Fire of 1626, the Patriarchal Court was blown down.  Patriarch Filaret restored the Cross and Dinner Chambers, constructed wooden cells and churches.
In 1643, new stage of construction, linked to the name of Patriarch Joseph,  was started. There were built the Cross, the Golden, the Cell and the Treasury Chambers as well as a series of attached areas. The work was coordinated by Antipa Konstantinov, one of the builders of the Terem Cathedral.

The next period of the Kremlin Patriarchal court is linked to the name of Nikon the Patriarch. In autumn 1652, there was started dismantling of old chambers, the church of miracle workers of Solovki and buildings at the former court of Boris Godunov, that were given to Nikon as a gift from Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. By the end of 1655, there were built new chambers and a church. Three more years till Nikon left the Cathedra in July, 1658, interior decoration was on. The ground floor of the cathedral was used for service needs and offices, the first floor housed ceremonial rooms and the home church, on the second floor there were private quarters of the Patriarch.

Other Patriarchs decorated and reconstructed the palace as well.