The Church of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe (or the Church of Laying Our Lady's Holy Robe), situated between the Assumption Cathedral and the Faceted Chamber, has a special place in the architectural ensemble of Cathedral Square. It is dedicated to the Feast of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe. During several centuries the church was a part of the metropolitan household and a private chapel of Russian Metropolitans and Patriarchs.

The iconostasis and murals of this small and cosy church form an artistic ensemble. There is a permanent exhibition of Russian wooden sculpture and carvings of the 15th-19th centuries in the cloister of the Church. There are not many pieces of this branch of art left — therefore each item in this collection is of great interest and value.

 

Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe. South-east view Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe. Southern facade Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe. Northern facade

The extant church was found by Metropolitan Gerontius in 1484. But as regards the former building, there is no common lens among historians. Till mid-15th century, it was an estate of Russian Metropolitans, who had been living in Moscow since the 14th century. In 1448, Bishop Jonah of Ryazan was elected Russian Metropolitan. Later he was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as one of the most significant figures. The election of the Metropolitan by the Russian Episcopate without the approval of the Patriarch of Constantinople signified the break-up of a centuries-old tradition, as well as it was an important step towards the formation of an independent Russian Church.

Foundation of the first Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe by Metropolitan Jonah Metropolitan Jonah Jonah, the Metropolitan of Moscow Reliquary of Metropolitan Jonah in the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin

In summer of 1451, Tatar troops unexpectedly came close to Moscow, burnt out the suburbs and besieged the Kremlin. During the whole night, the citizens were preparing to defend the city, inspired and reinforced by ceaseless prayers and church services, ministered by Metropolitan Jonah. In the morning of 2 July, that was the Feast Day of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe in Blachernae, the invaders raise the siege, left all the loot and retreated. In commemoration of the miraculous escape, there was laid the foundation of the private chapel for the Metropolitans, which got its name due to the feast.