July 17, 2015

1745 RUSSIA (Nizhny Novgorod Oblast) - Archangel's Cathedral in Nizhny Novgorod

Located at about 400 km east of Moscow, at the confluence of rivers Volga and Oka, Nizhny Novgorod is the fifth largest city in Russia, and has a history for more than 800 years. Its name literally means Lower Newtown to distinguish it from the older Veliky Novgorod. From 1932 to 1990, it was known as Gorky, after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there. The dominating feature of the city skyline is the grand Kremlin (1500-1511), with its red-brick towers. After Bolshevik devastation, the only ancient edifice left within the kremlin walls is the tent-like Archangel's Cathedral, first built in stone in the 13th century.

When the city was founded in 1221, a wooden church was constructed on the site of the cathedral; as early as 1227-1229, the church was replaced with a stone building, much lower than the contemporary one. In 1359, it was thoroughly rebuilt to function as a church at the grand prince's palace. This is why the church was for a long time used to bury grand princes. Their presumable burial places are marked with writings on niches in the western side of the church. The city was looted by tatars in 1377 and 1378, and the cathedral burned down and partially collapsed, remaining a ruin for a long time after this.

By the early 17th century, the cathedral survived only partially and was not used. Only as late as by 1628-1631, when the country was rebuilt after the Time of Troubles, Patriarch Philaret took Nizhny Novgorod under his personal patronage. By Tsar's order and at the expense of the state treasury, the cathedral was soon after revived by the apprentice stonemasons Lavrenty Vozoulin and his stepson Antipa. While adhering to the dimensions and the plan of the old building, the stonemasons made however changes to its structure and appearance, having essentially build an absolutely new church, featuring a tented roof, three narthexes and a bell tower over the south entrance.

The cathedral is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the soldiers. The building suffered a lot during the 1704 and 1715 fires: the cathedral lost its ancient icon-stand. For a number of years, the building remained abandoned, and only as late as 1732 it was again repaired, followed by finishing works. Large repair works were done in 1795, 1845, 1909-1910, and 1962-1963. From an architectural point of view, the Archangel's Cathedral has several interesting distinctive features. Being a two-tent asymmetric composition, its prayer room is united with the bell tower with a shared space. The Cathedral's plan is archaic: a rectangle, with three church porches, each at a cardinal point, and a three-part altar.

About the stamps
The stamps are part of a series dedicated to Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

Archangel's Cathedral, Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel (Nizhny Novgorod) - worldwalk.info

Sender: Svetlana Garshina (direct swap)
Sent from Buzuluk (Orenburg Oblast / Russia), on 29.08.2014

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