Church of Archangel Gabriel | 1531-1534

The Church of Archangel Gabriel was built in 1531-1534 with the money donated by the Grand Prince Basil III after the birth of his heir Ivan IV. In the opinion of the monument researcher S.S. Podiapolskiy construction work was probably headed by a stonemason from Rostov.

The architectural forms of this church reflect the new features brought to the Russian architecture by the Italians invited by Ivan III to reconstruct the Kremlin. Round elegant and high columns leave the inner space of this building free. The arches under the drum are not raised like in the Assumption cathedral, but set lower than the vaults making the structural layout more evident. The western part is spanned by a groined vault unknown in the Moscow architecture before the arrival of the foreign masters. The capitals of the columns and the profiles imposts supporting the arches lend preciseness and austerity to the inner look of the building. Although there is no iconostasis the church interior makes a strong impression. An innovation in the architecture of the facades is a well-developed three-piece cornice. The profiled socle girdling the whole building is also well developed. Only one of three portals has come down to us – the northern perspective one. The most interesting architectural solution was the upper part of the church. It was made in the form of a tier of bells and decorated with ogee-arches. In 1638 the tier of bells was turned into a sacristy. Later on the decorative gables, drums and the southern portal were destroyed.

Restoration work of this monument was carried out several times over the last decades.

In 1950-s the church was examined and measured by the specialists of the All-Russian Scientific and Restoration Centre (former Central Scientific and Restoration workshops). The architect S.S. Podiapolskiy executed a graphic reconstruction of its initial look. In 1960-1970-s the following works were carried out to conserve the monument and restore some parts of it: additional iron ties were installed in the chords of the arches between under dome pillars of the church; partial dirt removal was made for better drainage of underground water near the eastern facade; the original socle of this section was restored. The later ceiling which closed the drum was raised a little bit.

At the end of 1980-s all the works were made by the Kirillov Restoration Group.

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