Church of the Intercession at Fili
To the West from historical center of Moscow city, a richly decorated church of the Intercession is elevating at the area of former ancient village of Fili. The village used to be the center of Kuntsevo patrimonial estate which was in 1689 granted to the Tsar’s favorite Lev Naryshkin, Peter the Great’s uncle. Naryshkin built a new mansion there and set up a large garden with ponds. At the beginning of 1690s, on the site of the ramshackle wooden church (1619), he had a new beautiful stone cathedral erected in Muscovite baroque style. The podklet ground floor, or the cellar, housed a heated winter Church of the Intercession of the Virgin which retained the name of the wooden church, and the main premises above – the Church of the Icon of Our Savior Not Made by Hands (Church of Veronica’s Veil). It was dedicated to a Veronica image because, according to the legend, during the mutiny of Streltsy (soldiers in the regular army) in 1682, when a great many of Naryshkin’s supporters suffered, Lev Naryshkin hid himself in the tsarina’s chambers and prayed to the icon of The Savior Not Made by Hands (Veronica), which he subsequently considered to be his saviour.
The exact date of when the church was built is not known. But the icon-lamps made specially for the new church still carry the date – 1694 year. Lev Naryshkin had got repeated donations from the treasury for the construction of the church. Peter the Great himself granted four hundred gold coins (tchervonets) for the decoration, it was a very large sum by that time’s standards. To mark the landlord’s proximity to the royal family the central and western domes were decorated with a crown and double-headed eagle – the symbols of Russian autocracy.
The bright church of the Intercession of the Virgin is just like a fairy-tale vision on the bank of Moskva River. The central dome runs up to the skies supported by an octahedral drum and eight-corner belfry. It is joined by the domes crowning the altar and porches.
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