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Red Square Saint Basil’s Cathedral

The next day I met Sasha’s parents; in the evening we went for a walk around Red Square. I thought it was called Red because of the colour of the Kremlin’s walls. It turned out that the Russian word “krasnaya”, which means “red”, is related to the word “krasivaya” meaning “beautiful”. The main square of Russia was really a very beautiful place.

My attention was immediately riveted by the church in the far side of the square. I already knew that this church is called Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The closer we got to the church, the stronger it caught my attention. It was something incredible. I have never seen such incredible beauty created by people.

Sure, there are many temples in my homeland in India; among them there are very ancient and large ones. However, what appeared in front of me on Red Square surpassed everything I had seen before. I had the feeling that it was a fairy tale. The domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral look like bulbs; hence, for myself, I called it the “Onion Church”.

Each dome is painted in different colours: blue, white, green, gold, red... The lines are woven into different patterns. During the Middle Ages, it was the largest building in Moscow. Nevertheless, now the temple did not give the impression of something huge. Although the temple is really very large, it is so elegant and delicate, that it seems to be floating above the ground.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral was built in the 16th century. It seemed incredible to me that people could create such amazing beauty in those days. I know it may seem strange at first but time has erased the names of this miracle’s creators. It is only known that it was built in honour of the Khanate of Kazan being annexed to Russia. It is also commonly known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. The meaning of this name is that with the help of this temple the Mother of God shelters Russia from all misfortunes and dangers.

Later, Sasha shook me with the story that in the first half of the last century, the communist government in Russia destroyed thousands of churches throughout the country. The communists were real demons destroying the shrines of the people. In the 1930s, they planned to demolish Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Only a miracle saved the life of this temple. It is even scary to imagine what a nasty business these Communists were plotting. According to Sasha, the power of the Communists is the worst thing that happened to Russia in its entire history. However, Saint Basil’s Cathedral survived and this is a miracle!

Subsequently, I found out that in fact Saint Basil’s Cathedral is not just one temple; there are nine different churches joined together into one whole. It is like a bouquet of multi-coloured roses in the middle of Moscow.

In the Temple, there is a tomb of St. Basil the Beatified, in whose honour only one of the nine churches is named. In ancient times, eight churches were not heated; it was cold everywhere and services were conducted in the summertime. Only in the ninth church of St. Basil the Beatified, it was warm all year, 24 hours a day. That’s where people went to the masses. Therefore, few people remember the remaining names of the churches, as they used to call all nine churches Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

I felt the Divine energy emanating from the temple. There are many mystical stories associated with it. Inside the church, there are not only the relics of Saint Basil but also of another saint — John of Moscow (also known as Blessed John the Fool for Christ). People came to his coffin with a prayer for healing; many of them were truly miraculously healed. Therefore, this Temple on Red Square is also a place where you can touch the healing energy.

We walked around it, looked at it from different sides; I could not take my eyes off. This temple is different from all others because it creates a feeling of joy and celebration. I looked at the temple and everything inside me was elated. I wanted to watch more and more.

I was lucky to see Saint Basil’s Cathedral not only outside but inside as well, since it is accessible every day. The interior of the cathedral is very small, not the same as in the temples of the later construction. Some special intimacy is felt inside them.

On the day when we visited the inner rooms of the cathedral, a male choir sang there. I was fascinated by the sound of their voices. They seemed to take my soul, raise it to heaven, and swing it in a heavenly cradle near God. It was a feeling of incomparable bliss.

No matter how much I tried to convey the beauty of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, it is impossible to express it better than the 19th century French aristocrat Marquis de Custine. Here is what he wrote in his book “La Russie en 1839” (i. e. “Russia in 1839”):

“Just imagine a gathering of small towers of different heights forming together a bush, a bouquet of flowers; or, even better, a multicoloured crystal brightly sparkling with its smooth edges in the sun, like a glass of Bohemian or Venetian glass, like painted Delft faience, like a lacquered Chinese casket: these are scales of goldfish, snake skin spread over a shapeless pile of stones, heads of dragons, the skin of a chameleon, the treasures of altars, the vestments of priests; and all these things are crowned with iridescent pins, like silk; in the narrow gaps between the elegant dappled turrets, a grey, pink, azure roof shines, equally smooth and glistening in the sun; these colourful carpets blind your eyes and captivate your imagination”.

Subsequently, I visited many other churches in Russia; among them were very beautiful and very majestic. However, in my opinion, none of them have ever surpassed Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. For me, this is the most beautiful temple in the world. I visit it again and again; I come with my husband and friends. Every time Saint Basil’s Cathedral hypnotizes me with its beauty.


© Traveling To Russia - 2024

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