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Title: The Story of Moscow

Author: Wirt Gerrare

Illustrator: Helen M. James

Release Date: August 5, 2014 [EBook #46510]

Language: English

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The Story of Moscow

All rights reserved

Ikon of the Holy Virgin of Vladimir

Ikon of the Holy Virgin of Vladimir

The   Story   of   MOSCOW
by  Wirt     Gerrare     Illustr-
rated  by  Helen   M.   James

London:            J.   M.   Dent   &   Co.
Aldine House, 29 and 30 Bedford Street
Covent Garden W.C.     decorative image     decorative image       1900


READERS of the modern histories of Russia may wonder by what right Moscow is included among MEDIÆVAL TOWNS, for it is the fashion of recent writers to ignore the history of the mighty Euro-Asian empire prior to the eighteenth century and the reign of Peter the Great. It is at that period this story of the old Muscovite capital ends. To many, then, this account of the town and its vicissitudes during the preceding five centuries may have the charm of novelty; perchance to others, who have wrongly concluded that the old buildings were all destroyed during Napoleon’s invasion, the few typical antiquities chosen for illustration out of many like, will attract to a closer acquaintance with memorials of a past that was but little influenced by the art of the west.

Moscow, where the east merges with the west but remains distinct and unconquered, has a fascination all its own; the town not only has been great, but is so yet; its influence pervades the Russian empire and is still mutable and active; its story therefore comprises more than the legends and associations of an ordinary city, but, if confined merely to an enumeration of the facts and traditions of the past will not be void of interest, and however fully given, must fall far short of what the imaginative reader may reasonably expect. Of the meagre character of this present account I am fully aware; of its positive errors I am, at present, unhappily ignorant, but I trust that those who discover mistakes will not only forgive, but notify me of them, that later readers may be as grateful for the favour as I myself shall be. Of place names I have given the idiomatic, instead of the usual literal translation; where I have attempted an equivalent reproduction of the original the transliteration will be comprehensible to those who know nothing of either French or German. That I may not be charged with inconsistency in this, I may explain that where a foreign spelling—as rouble—has become familiar I have used the Anglicism. To most readers the names will, I fear, be unpronounceable however spelled; but only the expert will regret that I have not given the original Russian. To them the excuse I offer is, that to everyone ignorant of the tongue Russian names are absolutely undecipherable, being apparently composed of an alphabet in spasms made up into words of poly-syllabic length.

It is difficult for one not of the Eastern Church to write justly of Russian Ecclesiasticism; an alien, however carefully he may observe, is liable to obtain faulty impressions and make erroneous deductions; so to me any criticism seems an impertinence. I have tried to present its artistic phases fairly, but am conscious that the ninth chapter is the least satisfactory of all that I have written.

For the rest, my task has been easy: I have had but to examine, compare, and judge the work of others and from their stored treasures make my selection. I have produced little that is really original: others have delved amid ruins for vestiges of the earlier Moscow; have unearthed ancient monuments; transcribed illegible manuscripts; ransacked archives, measured walls, calculated heights, weighed bells and counted steps; formed theories and found evidence to support them; so have rendered my labour light and pleasant. I regret that I, who at best am but an intelligible interpreter, cannot acknowledge more particularly the hundred and more authorities from whom I have drawn; in the same inadequate, general fashion I must thank many friends, English and Russian, for the kindly interest they have taken in the work and the intelligent assistance they have rendered me in its compilation. For direction to valuable sources of information, and other services, I am conscious of particular indebtedness to the Rev. F. Wyberg, of the English Church, Moscow, and to Mr V. E. Marsden, the correspondent of the Standard there—either of whom might have written a much better book about the town they know so well. The object of this volume I shall consider to be achieved if its perusal gives to anyone pleasure equal to that its compilation has brought me; or awakens even a few readers to a greater interest in Moscow, and a better understanding of the Russian people.


Ты, какъ мученикъ, горѣла,
И рѣка въ тебѣ кипѣла,
И подъ пепломъ ты лежала,
И изъ пепла ты возстала,
Процвѣтай же славой вѣчной,
Город храмовъ и палатъ!
Градъ срединный, градъ сердечный,
Коренной Россіи градъ!
White-walled and golden-headed,
Beautiful, bizarre,
The pride of all the millions
Ruled by the Russian Tsar:
The cradle of an Empire,
Shrine of a great race,
With Europe’s noblest cities
Moscow holds its place!
V. E. M.


Introduction—Pre-Muscovite Russia 1
Origin and Early History11
Moscow under the Mongols21
Moscow of the Princes37
Ivan the Terrible47
The Troublous Times80
Moscow of the Tsars111
The Kremlin147
Moscow of the Ecclesiastics172
Moscow of the Citizens206
Ancient Customs and Quaint Survivals227
The Convents and Monasteries253
Moscow of the English270
The French Invasion—and after284
Itinerary and Miscellaneous Information303
Index A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z  309


The Virgin of Vladimir (Vladimirski Bogeimateri) by St Luke     Frontispiece
The Kremlin13
Danilovski Monastery17
Spass na Boru29
Ilyinka Gate of the Kitai Gorod39
Doorway of St Lazarus45
Alarm Bell Tower58
Vasili Blajenni67
The Terem—A Corridor83
Church of the Assumption89
Dom Romanovykh108
Belvedere of the Terem117
Krutitski Vorot122
Krasnœ Kriltso126
Throne Room of the Terem135
Vosskresenski Vorot and Iberian Chapel143
Kremlin—Wall and Tower148
Terem and Belvedere of the Potieshni Dvorets154
Church of Our Saviour behind the Golden Gates161
Potieshni Dvorets, or Pleasure Palace167
Church of the Nativity (Rojdestva V-Putinkakh)181
Uspenski Sobor—The Ikonostas186
Cathedral of the Annunciation (Blagovieshchenski Sobor)193
Church and Gate of Mary of Vladimir204
Srietenka—The Sukharev Bashnia208
St Nicholas “Stylite”218
Dom Chukina223
Krestovia in the Romanof House229
Varvarka Vorot of the Kitai Gorod238
A Chastok (Watch Tower)245
Petrovski Monastery250
Simonov Monastery261
Novo Devichi Convent267
Spasski Vorot, Tower over the Redeemer Gate279
Borovitski Gate and St Saviour’s Cathedral299
Plan of the Kremlinface 125
Map of Moscow" 308




Introduction—Pre-Muscovite Russia

“Cimmerii a Scythis nomadibus ejecti.”—Herodotus.

THE mediæval pilgrim to Moscow, getting his first glimpse of the Holy City from Salutation Hill, saw before him much the same sight as the tourist of to-day may look upon from the same spot. Three miles away a hill crowned with white-walled buildings, many towers, gilded domes and spires topped with Cross-and-Crescent; outside the wall that encircles this hill, groups of buildings, large and small; open fields, trees—singly, in rows, clumps and thickets—separate group from group; ever and anon above the many hued roofs reach belfries, spires, steeples, domes and minarets innumerable. Beyond, to right and left, the scene repeats itself until the bright coloured buildings become indistinguishable from the masses of verdure and all merge in the haze of the plains east and west, or the faint outline of forest to the north.

Long ago the tremendous extent of this town, apparently without limit, amazed strangers no less than the richness and multitude of its buildings filled pilgrims with awe and reverence. To the tourist to-day it is as a vision of magnificent splendour and brilliance, for{2} seen in the clear sunlight of a summer day Moscow has beauty and brightness no other city possesses. Long lines of ivory whiteness capped with vivid green or flushed with carmine and ruby; great globes of deepest blue, patches of purple and dashes of aquamarine; many gleaming domes of gold, glowing halos of burnished copper, dazzling points of glistening silver—such make Moscow at sunset like part of a rainbow streaked with lightning and thickly bedizened with great gems.

Intense colours, sharp contrasts characterise Moscow. The extravagances of design and colouring, unconcealable even in the general prospect, are obvious on closer inspection. The stranger arriving by railway gets no bird’s-eye view of the town; but on his way from the station in the suburbs towards the central town sees the painted roofs, coloured walls, pretentious pillars, cupolas with golden stars, strange towers, fantastic gates, immense buildings, tiny cottages, magnificent spaces, narrow winding streets; irregularities and incongruities so many that Moscow first, and most lastingly, impresses by its bizarrerie.

With fuller acquaintance the diversity of style appears in keeping with the spirit of the place, and seeming incongruities are softened, or redeemed, by originality of design or execution. The buildings of Moscow are multiform, but there is dissimilarity rather than contrariety; the usual elsewhere is the unconventional here, and conformity is attained by each being unlike all others. An early traveller wrote: “One might imagine all the states of Europe and Asia had sent a building by way of representation to Moscow,” and in a certain sense this is still true. But it would be incorrect to assume, therefore, that cosmopolitanism is a dominant trait. The very reverse is the fact. Moscow is essentially Russian, and though there is abundant evidence of borrowing from Greece, Italy and Byzantium;{3} from Moor, Goth and Mongol; of appropriation of classic, mediæval and renaissance methods, the prevalent style seems to be not exactly the combination of any so much as the outcome of all. Not that indigenous forms are wanting, but their elemental quality is obscured by the wondrous versatility and adaptability of the artists. The result is as confusing as though an author in writing out his original ideas made constant random use of different alphabets in each word.

This method, so characteristic of Russia, is perplexing rather than intricate, but he would be very learned or foolhardy who, acting on the rule that to see the house is to know the inmates, if shown Moscow should at once predicate the character of its inhabitants.

Yet more than most towns Moscow reflects the life history of its people; whatever there is of beauty, of strength, of individuality, is the result of human intelligence, experience and effort. No town of like importance owes so little to nature, so much to man. And the dominant tone is religious; religious feeling has inspired the noblest efforts, ecclesiastical influence has conserved such oneness of purpose as Moscow manifests. Withal there is strong individualism, both clerical and secular.

Paradoxical as Moscow is, it is in the highest degree interesting. If no one object can be pointed to as typical of race or period, no public work shown as the result of persistent policy or genius of peculiar citizenship, Moscow in its entirety demonstrates the development of a people. Even the opposing principles of diffusion and cohesion, and the parts they have served in the history of this race, are so unmistakably expressed that the sight-seer, even, feels that in Moscow, most surely, must be found the key not only to the history of Russia, but also to the character of men{4} who have conquered and hold the largest part of two continents.

Moscow, the town that has cradled and nursed a mighty nation, does not lack story; but its story comprises much of the early history of the empire subsequently evolved, and consequently much that may be considered foreign to the city itself must be stated if the tale is to be complete, or even comprehensible by those to whom the ancient history of Russia is unknown.


To begin at the beginning. European Russia is an immense plain, its centre elevated scarcely three hundred feet above sea-level; the hills, few, low and unimportant. Lakes are plentiful, and great rivers with many ramifications flow slowly by tortuous channels—mostly towards the north-west or the south-east. Large tracts of forest and marsh in the centre terminate with frozen wastes to the north, and merge with rough, sandy pastures on the south.

At various periods, Europe has been invaded and peopled by different races from the east, and the last of these migrants, the Slavs, for the most part took the direction of the great water-ways of Russia, that is, from the south-east towards the north-west. In addition to their nomadic habit, various causes, amongst which must be counted internecine warfare, led to the dispersion of the Slavs, whilst effective occupation by earlier migrants and the determined resistance of aboriginal races checked their progress in some directions. The Scythian branch of the Slav race settled on the Don about 400 B.C. but was gradually driven from the shores of the Black Sea by the Greek colonists of Miletus. These colonies were taken by the Romans{5} later, and about 300 A.D. the Slavs again asserted their dominion there for a period. Other branches of the Slav race and wilder races from Asia pressed westward, laying the country waste. Huns, Turks, Goths, Bolgars, Magyars, Polovtsi, Pechenegians and others, at different times, drove Slavs of pastoral habit aside from their path. In the fifth century Slavs established themselves on the Dnieper at Kief and at Novgorod on the Ilmen, where they progressed and became civilised. In the seventh century they were once more on the shores of the Black Sea in the south, and in the north Novgorod was a thriving commercial centre.

The Slav republics suffered at the hands of Asiatics on the south, and from the depredations of vikings on the north; moreover there were internal dissensions. In A.D. 864, Rurik, a Varœger prince—the same who, it is believed, laid waste the maritime provinces of France in 850 and in 851 entered the Thames with 300 sail and pillaged Canterbury—made himself master of the northern republic, took up his residence at Novgorod and founded a dynasty which lasted 700 years. There is a legend to the effect that his coming was at the invitation of the Slavs, who sought his aid and sovereignty, but there can be no doubt it was as a conqueror that Rurik came and established his race in Russia. Some of his followers, led by Askold and Dyr, sought fortune and conquest further south. These became masters of Kief, pressed on to Constantinople in 200 ships, embraced Christianity and returned to Kief, intending there to found a separate kingdom and dynasty. After the death of Rurik, his son Igor, a minor, succeeded; his uncle, Oleg, as regent, went to Kief; there he treacherously killed the two usurping leaders, took possession of the city and, appointing Igor to the throne, determined that Kief should be{6} the “mother of Russian towns.” The people were then pagans, and the Northmen kept to the practices of their ancestors until about 955, when Olga was regent; she visited Constantinople and was there baptised into the Christian faith. Some thirty years later, Vladimir, the seventh in descent from Rurik, ascended the throne, and during his reign the Christian religion was generally adopted throughout his realm. Kief then became closely associated with Constantinople, its connection with the Byzantine empire being both ecclesiastical and commercial. Novgorod, on the other hand, remained in closer touch with the west, supplying the Northmen with the wares of Araby and Ind that reached Russia by way of the Volga. Otther, the Scandinavian founder of Tver, where the Tmak joins the Volga north of Moscow, was a great trader and traveller; at one time going as far east as Perm on the Kama (Biarmaland), at another to England—where he gave King Alfred particulars of the fairs in the east, and the methods of trading with Asian merchants.

In the Historical Museum of Moscow is a well arranged collection of prehistoric antiquities found in the empire. There is nothing among the stone implements to show that the earliest races in Russia in any way differed in habit from those of the same era occupying western Europe and the British Isles. The most ancient of the relics (Rooms I., II.) were found with bones of the mammoth in the district of Murom in Vladimir, and at Kostenki near Voronesh. Some ear-rings and a bracelet of twisted silver were found in the Kremlin, and a few other early remains when excavating for the foundations of the new cathedral, but these trifles are not evidence of early occupation, since they may have been left by travellers along the waterways.{7}

The frescoes are fanciful representations of supposed incidents in the life of the early inhabitants, and the models of tumuli, tombs, dolmens, cromlechs and the like, enable one to picture some part of the rude life of the people. Particularly deserving notice are the models of the dwellings of different races found in Russia: in many the living room is raised well above the ground. It was on the first-floor that the mediæval Muscovites lived; it is still the bel-étage, and preferred by all.

The picture by Semiradski representing the funeral rites of the Bolgars has the warrant of history. On the death of a chief of this tribe, the remains were placed in a boat on a pile of wood; horses, cattle, slaves, were slain and added; the wife, or a maid offering herself a sacrifice, was fêted for a time, then placed in the boat, and as soon as her attendants bade her farewell the pyre was fired, and subsequently a mound raised over the ashes.

The stone idols, remarkable in their likeness to each other, are from all parts of Russia; a similar one is to be seen at Kuntsevo, near Moscow, but both the “babas,” as they are called, and pre-christian crosses, are more common in the south and east of Russia than in Muscovy.

To the little that this Historical Collection tells of the early Slavs may be added such facts as ancient chroniclers have recorded. The Russians lived together in communities governed by elected or hereditary elders; reared cattle and farmed bees; they were nomadic, idolatrous, hospitable and fond of fermented liquors.

Some writers dispute, disregard, or belittle the Varangian dominion in Russia; contending that the Varœgers themselves were Slavs, were closely akin to them, or were quickly absorbed by them. To the contrary it is urged that Rurik and his followers{8} possessed qualities peculiar to the Northmen; that his kingdom in Russia resembled other Scandinavian colonies, and that certain customs he introduced were foreign to Slav habits. Vladimir, a direct descendant of Rurik, conquered Poland; his son, Yaroslaf, both on account of his warlike achievements and the splendour in which he lived, was respected throughout Europe. His daughters married into the reigning houses of France, Hungary and Norway; a daughter of Vsevolod married Henry IV. of Germany; Vladimir, the grandson of Yaroslaf, married Gyda, the daughter of Harold II. King of England; their son, Mstislaf, married Christina, daughter of the King of Sweden. Such a close connection between the Scandinavian and Russian courts is not likely to have obtained if the members belonged to different races. Scandinavian conquerors to some extent mixed with the peoples whose territory they occupied; usually they married their own race. They fought with each other on matters of precedence and succession; they thought much of personal valour and honour, and lived in the present with little regard to dynasty. They, as little as the Slavs to-day, would pay tribute to suzerains.

Doubtless the Varangian leaders and their military companions, subsequently known as the drujni of the Russian princes, gave to the Slav character love of enterprise and power to initiate—traits which have always distinguished Russian nobles from the peasantry. Again, the “Russkaia Pravda” of the tenth century is contemporary with and akin to “Knut’s Code,” which the English usually, but wrongly, attribute to King Alfred. One other point tells in favour of Scandinavian dominion: the freedom accorded to women and the high position some of them took in the state. But their privileges and influence declined with the ascendency of the Slav, and the seclusion of women in the{9} Asiatic manner subsequently obtained in Moscow and lasted there until the days of Peter the Great.

The Northmen introduced into Russia their system of succession, the odelsret that still prevails in Norway. The descendants of Rurik, with their military comrades, fought against each other for the throne of Kief, or the inheritance of other possessions. As with each succeeding generation the princely family multiplied, the country was rent with dissensions. Now the ruler of Kief, then he of Novgorod became paramount; in 1158 the reigning prince of Vladimir succeeded, and, for the time, Kief became of second importance. The history of Russia during the tenth and succeeding centuries is a story of strife and disaster. Wars, with varying success, against Poles, Swedes, Lithuanians, and the predatory tribes on the south and east; fires, famine, pestilence, succeeded each other and re-occurred. In 1124 Kief, the opulent and sacred city, was destroyed by fire; some years later Novgorod was depopulated by famine; robbers exacted blackmail from voyagers on the great waterways; trade decayed. In 1224 the Russians made common cause with their enemy the Polovtsi to repel an invasion of Tartars; they were beaten and Kief fell—50,000 of its inhabitants being put to the sword. Thirteen years later a second invasion of the Tartars resulted in the fall of Vladimir and the subjection of southern and eastern Russia to Mongol rule. Livonians, Swedes and Danes attacked Novgorod, but were repulsed. Pressed on these sides the Russians could extend only towards the inhospitable north. In these times and with this environment Moscow was founded, and nursed; became a rallying point for the Slav race; grew strong and rich; and, by the genius of its rulers, dominated Russia.

Slowly but surely the Scandinavian element was{10} absorbed; with Ivan I. (1328-1341) the time of transition practically ended. A new policy of aggrandisement was adopted and the Muscovite was evolved from the Slav race. Round Moscow, subject to the Tartar yoke, the people became patient and resigned; born to endure bad fortune, they could profit by good. The princes of Moscow gained their ends by intrigue, by corruption, by the purchase of consciences, by servility to the Tartar Khans, by perfidy to their equals, by murder and treachery. “Politic and persevering, prudent and pitiless, it is their honour to have created the living germ which became great Russia.”{11}


Origin and Early History

“Away in the depths of the primeval forest, where one heard the low chanting of the solitary hermit in his retreat, arises the glorious Kremlin of Moscow town.”

M. Dmitriev.

IT is generally believed that the word Moscow is of Finnish origin; in an old dialect kva means water, the exact significance of Mos is undecided, probably Moskva implies “the-way,” simply—the water-route to some trading point reached by this river from the Volga and Oka. It was the name by which the river was known, and from time immemorial there have been villages on the banks of the stream near the present town of Moscow.

In the ninth century the hill which the Kremlin now covers was virgin forest. According to tradition Bookal, a hermit, was living there in 882, when Oleg, on his return to Novgorod from Kief, paused there and laid the first stone of the city. Sulkhovski, who had access to the archives of Moscow prior to their removal on the French invasion, asserts that there was documentary proof of this then in existence, but his statement lacks confirmation.

The chroniclers make no mention of Moscow until 1147. Between the foundation of the Rurik dynasty and this date the dominion of the Northmen had extended, and, divided and subdivided as generation succeeded generation, was split up into many districts,{12} each ruled by a descendant of Rurik. These princes all claimed kinship, admitted the rights of their elders and the rule of the head of the house in Kief. In addition to the residences of the princes, their drujni, that is “war companions” or friends, had “halls,” and held, subject to their prince, one or more villages. In the twelfth century one Stephen Kutchko had his hall near the Chisty Prud in Moscow, and the villages between the Moskva and the Yauza, with others, were within his lordship.

In 1147 Yuri Dolgoruki, the Prince of Suzdal, in whose country Moscow was situated, agreed to meet his kinsmen Sviatoslaf and Oleg of Novgorod on the banks of the Moskva river, and thither they came with their drujni, and others, all of whom were so sumptuously entertained by Yuri, that the fame of Moscow and of Yuri was noised abroad.

As the river Moskva was a highway for traffic between Suzdal, Vladimir and the Volga in the east, with Smolensk in the west and Kief in the south, the villages on its banks were important. The hill on which the Kremlin stands appeared to Yuri a point of vantage, and, as it was near the boundary of his territory, he there constructed a fortress and also built, or rebuilt or enlarged, the church which served for the inhabitants of the village of Kutchkovo hard by, and for those of other villages in the neighbourhood.

All chroniclers agree that Yuri was the first to make a stronghold of the hill on the Moskva; most state further that he put to death Stephen Kutchko, but attribute this act to different causes. One story has it that Yuri wished to wed the wife of Stephen, so put him out of the way. As Yuri was but recently married to a kinswoman of Mstislaf, and so allied to the dominant house in Novgorod, this story is improbable. Another legend is to the effect that Kutchko, proud{13}





of his village, refused due homage to his superior lord, and so suffered; and another that a village was taken from Kutchko to endow Andrew Bogoloobski, a son of Yuri’s wedded to the daughter of a neighbouring boyard, whence the trouble. This last story is supported by the fact that later the sons of the killed Kutchko conspired against the enriched Andrew Bogoloobski; one was killed in attacking him, whilst the other succeeded in avenging a wrong done. Later historians are of opinion that Kutchko was an interloper from Black Russia or Podolia, trespassing on the territory of Yuri, who treated him as a usurper.

It was in 1156 that Moscow became a town—just a cluster of dwellings on the Kremlin hill with a fence extending from the narrow stream Neglinnaia (now a covered sewer under the Alexander Gardens), from the Troitski Gate to the Moskva at, or near, the Tainitski Gate. The chief house was built on the spot now covered by the Orujnia Palata. A church, Spass na Boru, St Saviour of the Pines, is supposed to have existed where the church of that name, the oldest building in the Kremlin, now stands. Another church, dedicated to St John the Baptist, once existed nearer the foot of the hill, and its altar was removed to the chapel adjoining the Borovitski Gate when a later erection was demolished. Both of these churches were known as “In the Wood,” and the name still preserves the memory of the thick forest that once covered the hill, and probably extended far and near on both sides of the Moskva.

The founder of Moscow, Kniaz Yuri Dolgoruki Vladimirovich, or, as the English call him, Prince George Long-ith’-arm, Vladimir’s son, was a son of that Prince of Kief who married Gyda, the daughter of Harold II. of England. Yuri, like his father, was a man of great energy and did much to strengthen and{16} improve the towns within his territory. He is described as “above the middle height, stout, fair complexioned, with a large nose, long and crooked; his chin small; a great lover of women, sweet things and liquor; great at merry-makings, and not backward in war.”

For a century or more Moscow remained in obscurity, an insignificant appanage of the younger sons of the princes of Suzdal. It was long before any of the reigning house made it a place of residence. In the meantime, a stronghold, it attracted traders and the attention of enemies. Gleb of Riazan has the distinction of being the first to set fire to the town, but the earliest enemy of importance was the Tartar.

In 1224 the Golden Horde defeated the Slavs in South Russia, destroyed Kief, marched towards Novgorod Sverski, then, “without ostensible reason,” returned to Bokhara, to the camp of their leader, Khingiz Khan. In 1237 Baati, a grandson of Khingiz, crossed the Volga and laid the country waste. On the march of this horde westward Moscow was burnt; Vladimir was first taken. There the princess and other persons of distinction took refuge in a church, where they were burnt alive. Yuri II., the reigning prince, absent at the time, then attempted revenge and was slain in battle. There was little resistance; the Tartars subdued many towns and reduced whole provinces; marched within sixty miles of Novgorod Sverski, then again “without ostensible cause” turned eastward and left Russia.

The Tartar was not driven from his own country; he raided because it was his nature so to do. The object of these early incursions, as of subsequent raids into Russian territory, was “to get stores of captives, both boys and girls, whom they sell to the Turks and other neighbouring Mahometan countries.” Rich towns, therefore, could buy the Tartar off; a fact{17}

which influenced the later policy of the Muscovites. Poor towns and ill-protected districts were, until a comparatively recent period, liable to “slave-raids” from Tartars and others. The Sultan Ahmed I. of Constantinople asked of Osman, his eldest son and heir, “My Osman, wilt thou conquer Crete for me?”



“What have I to do with Crete? I will conquer the land of the white Russian girls,” answered the boy. And as he thought to do, so many of his race did. It was not until the present century that the exchange of prisoners of war became the practice of Turks and{18} Russians. The Tartars, with their enormous crowd of captives, could not winter in Russia, hence their timely withdrawal “without ostensible cause” on several occasions.

Moscow was soon rebuilt after this Tartar invasion. A few years later Michael Khorobrit, a brother of the successful Alexander Nevski, ruler of Novgorod, succeeded to Moscow, and became its first actual prince; but during the war the Lithuanians commenced against Novgorod in 1242, Michael was killed. Tradition has it that this Michael was the builder of the first cathedral of the Archangel in the Kremlin.

He was succeeded in Moscow by Daniel, the fourth son of Alexander Nevski, and thenceforward the fortunes of Novgorod and Moscow were more in common. Moscow was chief of the few villages Daniel received as his portion. He made the most of it. In 1293 the Tartars, under Dudenia, fired the town and destroyed the churches, monastery, and all buildings on the Kremlin hill. Daniel set energetically to work to build a larger and stronger town. He re-erected the church Spass na Boru; built the cathedral of the Archangel, and that of the Annunciation; founded the Danilof monastery, and incorporated the one known as Krutitski. He so added to the town that it quickly became prosperous, and when he died in 1303 his son, George, succeeded to a position of wealth and power. Daniel was of the line of Rurik, and from him were descended the subsequently mighty race of Moscow Tsars. George acquired Mojaisk; then began a struggle with Tver, which continued from father to son, lasted eighty years. The quarrel arose from a disputed succession. Andrew, Prince of Suzdal, died in 1304; George of Moscow, his nephew, wished to succeed him. His right to do so was questioned by Michael of Tver,{19} who was cousin-german of the deceased. Michael, the eldest, was accepted by the boyars, and his election was confirmed by the Tartars, who claimed the right of appointing the sovereign. George then caused himself to be recognised as a Prince of Novgorod, and still disputed. Michael besieged him in Moscow, and for a time there was peace. Then George again attempted to obtain Tver, and a second time he was forced to take refuge in Moscow, which was again besieged by Michael.

Tokhta, Khan of the Golden Horde of Tartars on the Volga, died; he was succeeded by Usbek, to whom George of Moscow at once repaired to do homage and obtain favours. He so represented affairs to Usbek that he obtained from him his sister Kontchaka in marriage, and was adjudged rightful successor to Andrew of Suzdal. George returned to Russia accompanied by a Mongol army under a baskak, one Kavgadi. The boyards still supported Michael, who was a great fighter. Michael, refusing to submit to Kavgadi, was accused of having drawn sword against an envoy of the Khan, and later, when Kontchaka died, of having poisoned her. To arrange this matter Michael, busy in defending his province against other enemies, sent his twelve-year old son to the Horde; George went himself and compassed the fall of his rival. The Khan reluctantly complied with George’s request for a sentence of death upon Michael; it was no sooner granted than George hastened away to give it effect, and Michael was done to death in his tent by George’s servants. Michael became a saint; George the all-powerful ruler of Moscow, Suzdal and Novgorod.

Dmitri, of the “terrible eyes,” son of Michael, succeeded to Tver and determined upon revenge. When at last he met George of Moscow he slew him, but for thus going against his superior prince was himself{20} put to death, and his brother, Alexander, succeeded him in Vladimir in 1325.

Such is the story of the little wooden town. Its rulers—with, possibly, the exception of Daniel—regarded it merely as a property, the possession of which might lead to the acquisition of a more important capital. It flourished because it was in the midst of a country that was self-supporting, as well as being conveniently situated as a mart for the interchange of products from north and south, east and west. Its disasters were such as other towns suffered; its advantages of site they did not possess.{21}


Moscow under the Mongols

“At Sara, in the lande of Tartarie,
There dwelled a king who werryed Russie.”
ChaucerStory of Cambuscan bold.

THE first real prince of Moscow was Ivan I., surnamed “Kalita” (the Purser), who of his own right inherited Moscow from his father, Daniel, and by the grace of the Khan, was also Grand Prince of Vladimir in succession to his brother George. He made alliances, matrimonial and other, for himself and his, so adding to his possessions, and by purchase acquiring also Uglitch, Galitch and Bielozersk. Like his brother he kept on good terms with the Khan. At the command of Usbek he made war on Tver, Novgorod and Pskov. The Tartar Horde and the Muscovites fought in concert against Russian enemies. When Tver rose against the Tartar, Ivan, with Moscow, was on the side of the Mongols. When Usbek ordered him to produce Alexander of Tver, who was a fugitive in Pskov, Ivan induced the metropolitan to interdict Alexander and the Pskovians—thus a Christian prince and people were excommunicated by their own kin at the behest of Tartars.

Ivan “Kalita,” in his turn, served the church well. Peter, the metropolitan of Vladimir, had often resided in Moscow; Theognistus lived there almost constantly; and for Ivan, Vladimir was only the town in which{22} he had been crowned. It was in Moscow that he lived and for Moscow he worked. In order to make it attractive to the metropolitan and to obtain for it the religious supremacy which had first belonged to Kiev, then to Vladimir, he built magnificent churches—notably that of the Assumption (Uspenski Sober)—and was practically successful in so far that Moscow had the prestige of a metropolis; but Vladimir remained the legal capital, and as such was recognised by the Khans.

Ivan surrounded the hill with a wall of oak in place of the deal fence formerly its sole protection, and he gave to the enclosure the Tartar name of “Kreml” or fortress. This then included his own dwelling; the cathedrals of the Assumption, of the Annunciation and of the Archangel Michael; the churches of Spass na Boru and of St John the Baptist; as also the dwellings of his drujni, followers and military companions. It was at his instigation too, that Sergius founded the Troitsa monastery in order to rival the Pecherskoi monastery and catacombs of Kiev. Ivan knew well the power of money and was free in using it; he was cunning, unscrupulous and discerning. He demanded and obtained from Novgorod more than he intended to pay on her behalf to Usbek, and was everywhere successful as farmer-general of taxes and imposts made on Russia by the Horde. When he died, in 1341, he ordered that Moscow should not be divided, and he left by far the largest portion of his possessions to his son Simeon, surnamed “The Proud.”

Simeon, most submissive before the Khan, bought over the horde by using his father’s treasure. To his brothers he was haughty and overbearing. As intermediary between the Tartars and Russian states he enjoyed privileges denied to his seniors, and arrogated to himself the title and position of “Prince of all{23} the Russias.” He continued his father’s policy in Moscow, engaging Greek artists to ornament the cathedrals, and many native workmen to enlarge and improve the buildings within the Kremlin, spending upon Moscow the tribute he exacted from Novgorod and other towns.

Ivan II. who succeeded him, 1353, was of quite another sort. Gentle, pacific, lovable—all outraged him; he would have lost his throne had not the church supported him loyally. Moris, a monk, quelled a revolt; a fire destroyed the Kremlin; when he died the succession to the title of Grand Duke, which his three predecessors had made such efforts to keep in the house of Moscow, passed to their kinsmen at Suzdal.

Alexis, the metropolitan, saved the supremacy of Moscow. After crowning Dmitri at Vladimir he returned to Moscow to take charge of the children of Ivan II. and refused to leave the town. Dmitri was in his ninth year when he succeeded his father in Moscow, and remained in the tutelage of the church for many years. It was to the prompting of Alexis even more than to that of his own kinsmen that the breach of the Tartar alliance is due. Dmitri availed himself of a division in the Tartar horde to question the supremacy of either leader. Later he had the courage to visit Mamai—who was then the more powerful—and had the good luck to get back alive. Seven years later he won a battle against Mamai, in Riazan.

In 1635 a fire on All Saints’ Day destroyed the Kremlin wall and, a storm raging at the time, Moscow was almost in ruins. In 1367 the Kremlin was surrounded with a new wall—of masonry—and in the following year this was put to the test when an attack was made on Moscow by some bands of pagan Lithuanians under Olgerd, his brother Kistut and his subsequently famous nephew Vitovt. “Olgerd camped{24} before the walls, pillaged the churches and monasteries in the neighbourhood, but did not assault the Kremlin, the walls of which frightened him.” Two years later he returned to the attack, but his enterprise was unsuccessful. In the meantime Mamai, the Tartar leader, had matured his scheme of revenge. In 1380 he had collected his forces and was marching on Moscow when Dmitri, with the aid of all the neighbouring princes, got together an immense army and determined to give battle.

The confederate troops gathered in the Kremlin included contingents supplied by the princes of Rostov, Bielozersk and Yaroslaf, and the boyards of Vladimir, Suzdal, Uglitch, Serpukhov, Dmitrov, Mojaisk and other towns. After service in the cathedral they left by the Frolovski (Spasski) Nikolski and other gates in the east wall, escorted by the clergy with crucifixes and miracle-working ikons, the troops marching behind a black standard on which was painted a portrait of the Saviour on a nimbus of gold.

Dmitri before advancing against the Tartars went to St Sergius at the Troitsa monastery to ask his blessing, and was there comforted with a prophecy of victory. More, Sergius sent two monks, Osliabia and Peresvet, to encourage the Muscovites. They wore a cross on their cowls and went into the thick of the battle. Peresvet was found dead on the field tightly grasping a Patsinak giant who had slain him. The armies met at Kulikovo on the Don, where Dmitri with his 150,000 men after a hard fight obtained the victory, and Mamai fled. The battle was really won by the troops of Vladimir and Dmitri of Volhynia, whose men remained in ambush until the best moment for attack came.

With historians Dmitri, who, badly wounded, was found in a swoon after the battle, is the hero of{25} the day, and he added the name of Donskoi to commemorate the victory. Sophronius, a priest of Riazan, who wrote an epic of the battle, awards chief honours to the monks, and makes St Sergius, through them, support the courage of Dmitri at critical stages.

Though Mamai was beaten by Dmitri, he fought again before he fell into the hands of his rival Tamerlane, who put him to death. Then Tamerlane sent an envoy to Dmitri acquainting him with the fact that their common enemy had been vanquished and calling upon him and all Russian princes to present themselves to him and make their homage to the Horde.

Dmitri failed to comply, and when the Tartars advanced into his territory he tried to raise an army to oppose them. The princes who had promised him support failed to afford it, and Dmitri, unable to get 40,000 men together, was still waiting reinforcements at Kostroma when the Tartars under Tokhtamysh, a descendant of Khingis Khan, appeared before the walls of Moscow.

The defence of the Kremlin was in the hands of a Lithuanian, Ostei, and the Tartar attack was repulsed; boiling water being thrown from the towers; stones and baulks of timber dropped from the walls upon the assailants in the ditch. For three days the Tartars tried to effect an entrance by force. Then Tokhtamysh stated that it was not with the people of Moscow the Tartars were at war, but only with their prince and his companions, inviting those who had sought refuge in the Kremlin to come out and occupy their dwellings where they would not be molested. The besieged believed him, and, laden with presents and preceded by the clergy, they went out of the Kremlin to meet the enemy as friends. The Tartars at once fell upon them, killed Ostei and the other leaders, and forced a way into the{26} fortress. The defenders were demoralised, “they cried out like feeble women and tore their hair, making no attempt even to save themselves. The Tartars slew without mercy; 24,000 perished. They broke into the churches and treasuries, pillaged everywhere, and burned a mass of books, papers and whatever they could not otherwise destroy; not a house was left standing save the few built of stone.”

After Tokhtamysh withdrew Dmitri returned and was horrified at the ruin wrought. He is said to have repented of his victory over the Tartars at Kulikovo, a barren victory after this desolation, and to have called out “Our fathers who never triumphed over Tartars were less unhappy than we.”

Moscow was quickly rebuilt. When Dmitri died in 1389 the principality was the largest and most thriving of the states in the north-east of Russia. As the Horde withdrew the “Good companions” from Novgorod devastated the country round, but Vladimir and Moscow alike in having a Kremlin on a hill, were far enough away from the Volga to escape the attention of these free-booters from the north-west.

Vasili, the son of Dmitri Donskoi, succeeded his father, and twice saw his territory invaded by the Horde. In 1392 he bought a iarlikh of the Tartars freeing to him Moscow, Nijni and Suzdal. In 1395, to escape an inroad of the Tartars, the celebrated ikon of the Virgin (see Frontispiece) was brought from Vladimir to Moscow, but the Tartars did not venture so far. This time they stopped at Eletz-on-the-Don, pillaged Azov—where much Egyptian, Venetian, Genoese, Biscayan and other merchandise was warehoused—and returned to Tartary sacking Sarai and Astrakhan on their way thither.

During these turbulent times Moscow increased in importance. The two years of peace Dmitri secured{27} after his victory at Kulikovo he used to strengthen the defences. Already, in 1637, he had substituted a wall of masonry for the old wood rampart round the Kremlin; now handsome gates with towers were added. Its finest church at this period was that of the Transfiguration, more usually styled “Spass na Boru,” which, built in stone in 1330, had been considerably enlarged and a monastery attached; there were the cells in or near the church building, vaults below it for secreting treasure, a hospital for the infirm, and a cemetery for the princes, but their tombs were subsequently transferred to the Archangelski Sobor.

Within the Kremlin, or near by, were the monasteries of Chudof (Miracles), Vossnesenski (Ascension), Bogoyavlenni (Epiphany), Rojdestvenski (Nativity), St Alexis, St Peter the Apostle, of Daniel, Simon, and Spasso-Preobrajenni (the Transfiguration). To commemorate the withdrawal of Tamerlane, Vasili founded the monastery of the Sretenka (Meeting). He made a fosse across the town from the field of Kuchko to the river Moskva, and later surrounded the town with a stone wall.

A strong place now; the lesser nobles, cadets of the house of Rurik, took up their residence in Moscow and shared its fortune.

In 1408 the Lithuanians aided by the Tartars laid siege to Moscow, a siege which is memorable from the fact that cannons were then first used in its defence, though Mamai had brought Genoese gunners against Dmitri twenty years earlier. Ediger led the assault, and, though his forces had to retreat, the boyards of Moscow paid to him 3000 roubles as a war indemnity; the Monastery of St Sergius at Troitsa was burned, the surrounding country pillaged and the peasants ruthlessly slaughtered.{28}

It cannot be said that the first Vasili did much for Moscow. He was in retreat at Kostroma when the inhabitants of the town, led by “Vladimir the Brave,” successfully defended it; both pestilence and famine were frequent during his reign of thirty-six years, and at his death the succession was disputed.

In 1431 Yuri attempted to revert to the ancient custom of succession of the eldest, and claimed the throne from Vasili II., the son of Vasili I. To avoid war it was agreed to refer the matter to the Horde for settlement. Vsevoloshski, a boyard of Moscow, advanced the most potent argument on behalf of Vasili. “My Lord Tsar,” he said to Ulu Mahomet, “let me speak, me, the slave of the Grand Prince. My master prays for the throne, which is thy property, having no other title but thy protection, thy investiture and thy iarlikh. Thou art master and can dispose of it at thy pleasure. My lord, the Prince Yuri Dmitrovich, my master’s uncle, claims the throne of the Grand Prince by the act and will of his father, but not as a favour from the all powerful.” This flattery had a suitable reward; the Khan appointed Vasili to the throne, and ordered Yuri to lead his nephew’s horse by the bridle.

Vasili II. was crowned at Moscow, not at Vladimir, and the supremacy of Moscow was admitted. Vasili was to have married a daughter of Vsevoloshski, but instead married a grand-daughter of Vladimir the Brave, the defender of Moscow. The offended boyard went over to the side of Yuri and fanned his resentment. Yuri’s two sons, Vasili, the squint-eyed, and Chemiaki were present at the marriage festivities of Vasili, whose mother, the Princess Sophia, seeing round the waist of the young Vasili a belt of gold that had belonged to Dmitri Donskoi, there and then seized it from him. The brothers took umbrage at this open affront; forthwith they{29}





left Moscow and induced their father to take up arms.

At Kostroma, Vasili II. fell into the power of Yuri, who spared his life and gave him Kostroma as an appanage, betaking himself to Moscow. Thereupon the inhabitants of Moscow deserted the town and took up residence with their prince in Kostroma. Owing to the popularity of Vasili II., Yuri was powerless and sent to him at Kostroma inviting him to return to his own. On his return the people crowded round him “like bees round their queen.” Later, Vasili, the squint-eyed, fell into the hands of Vasili II., who had his eyes put out; then at once repenting the act, set free his brother Chemiaki, and war again broke out between them. Chemiaki with a host of free lances “good companions” and such men as he could get together besieged Moscow. Then in came the Tartar horde and Vasili could get but 15,000 men together to oppose them. He made a valiant struggle, but, wounded in fifteen places, he was taken prisoner to Kazan.

Moscow was in despair: Tver insulted her and Chemiaki intrigued to get himself made prince. Then the Khan suddenly agreed to liberate Vasili II. for a small ransom, and soon the prince was in his capital again. He went forthwith to Troitsa to return thanks for his escape. During his absence, Chemiaki surprised the Kremlin and there captured the wife and mother of Vasili and took all the treasure. Hurrying after Vasili to Troitsa, he made him prisoner, brought him back to Moscow, and in 1446 put out his eyes in revenge for the like act upon his brother Vasili. Chemiaki, some time afterwards, left Moscow to go against the Tartars; the town revolted during his absence and Vasili was once more restored to the throne, which as “Vasili the Blind” he held until his death in 1462.{32}

It is not easy to account for the popularity of Vasili II.; possibly the detestation in which Chemiaki was held made the mild virtues of Vasili more prominent; for in the language of the people, a “judgment of Chemiaki” is, proverbially, tantamount to a crying wrong.

Events outside Russia strengthened the supremacy of Moscow. At the Council of Florence (1439) Pope Eugene suggested the union of the eastern and western churches, and amongst the many representatives of the eastern church present Isidor, the metropolitan of Moscow, agreed to the proposal and signed the act of union. How Mark, Bishop of Ephesus, protested, and at last carried the Greeks with him in repudiating the union, is no part of this history. Isidor having accepted, introduced the Latin cross, made use of the name of the Pope in the services and so astonished the Russians that Vasili interfered. He reproached Isidor for his bad faith, and in dismay the prelate fled to Rome. In 1453 Mahomet II. entered Constantinople. There was no longer a Christian emperor of the east, and Moscow became the heir of Constantinople and the metropolis of orthodoxy. Ivan, the artist-monk of Constantinople, brought to Moscow such of the holy relics as he could save, and, what is more, by his own genius impressed upon the Muscovite priesthood a love of culture to which Moscow had hitherto been a stranger.

Ivan III., styled “The Uniter of Russia,” was twenty-two years of age when, in 1462, he succeeded his father Vasili, the Blind. He continued the policy of the princes of Moscow and early obtained a success against the Tartars of Kazan. In 1472 he married Sophia, a daughter of Thomas Paleologus, a brother of the last emperor of Byzantium, and this union, with a member of the race that had so long held sway over{33} all orthodox Christianity, greatly influenced his policy. His wife, less patient than the Russians, found the Mongol yoke unbearable. “How long am I to be the slave of Tartars?” she would ask, and there is little doubt that it is to her urging that Ivan became aggressive. He was not personally courageous, preferring to remain in Moscow, and allow his people to fight on the frontiers of Russia; when forced into the field, his method was to avoid giving battle and wear out the enemy with delays, retreats, and puzzling, irritating marches and counter-marches.

In 1472 he conquered Perm; in 1475 he was successful against Novgorod the Great; in 1478 he openly rebelled against the Khan; in 1499 he pushed the confines of Russia to Petchora on the Arctic Sea. He was a puzzle to his enemies, gaining victories over Lithuanians, Livonians and Siberians, without leaving the Kremlin. Stephen of Moldavia said of him, “Ivan is a strange man; he stays quietly at home yet triumphs over his enemies, whilst I, although always on horseback, cannot defend my own country.”

Born a despot he was initiated into the mysteries of autocratic government by his wife. Cold, cruel and cunning, he brooked no opposition where he thought he could triumph; was an arrant coward whenever the issue was doubtful.

When he vanquished Novgorod, he brought the boyards to Moscow, and settled them there; three years later he tortured some, and put others to death. He was relentless in punishing rebellion, no matter what the rank of the offender. He whipped Prince Oukhtomski, and ordered the archimandrite of a monastery to be flogged; mutilated the counsellors of his son, cowed the boyards, burnt alive Poles who had conspired against him; pillaged the German traders of goods to the value of £40,000, and played{34} the tyrant so thoroughly that even when he slept no boyard “durst open his mouth in whispers” for fear of disturbing his master’s slumber.

Towards the Great Horde he was both respectful and recalcitrant. He repulsed the invasions of adventurers into his territory; avoided the payment of tribute by sending costly presents regularly. But in 1478, when Khan Akhmet sent envoys with his image to receive tribute, Ivan openly rebelled; put all the messengers to death, save one; trampled the image of the Khan under foot, spat on the edict, and allowed this news to reach the Khan. When the enraged Tartars advanced towards Moscow, Ivan wished to remain in the city, but the inhabitants would have no shirking. “What! he has overtaxed us, refused to pay tribute to the Horde, and now that he has enraged the Khan, though he does not want to fight, he must—and shall.” Ivan journeyed about from one town to another, returning to Moscow on various pretexts. He wished to consult the clergy, the boyards, his mother, anybody. The answer was always the same, “March against the enemy!” Forced to go South, he wished to send his son back to Moscow, but the young Ivan disobeyed.

Archbishop Vassian urged Ivan to go to the front. “Is it part of mortals to fear death? We cannot escape destiny; a good shepherd will, at need, lay down his life for his flock.” But this prompting did not suffice. Vassian at last lost patience, wrote a bellicose letter to Ivan, recounting the deeds of his heroic ancestors, from Igor Sviatoslaf to Dmitri Donskoi. Ivan assured him that this letter “filled his heart with joy, himself with courage and strength”; but another fortnight passed, and Ivan had not advanced a step.

When at last the two armies came within sight of each other, the streams Oogra and Oka separated them.{35} They insulted each other bravely across the water, but not daring to ford, waited until the river should be frozen. When this happened, Ivan at once gave orders for his forces to withdraw. Seeing the army in motion an inexplicable panic seized the Tartars, and they hastened away. Both armies were in flight, and no one pursuing. In such pitiful fashion did the Mongol supremacy terminate. For more than three centuries Moscow had acknowledged the rule of the Golden Horde, now a thoroughly demoralised rabble. The remnants in their flight south were opposed by the Nogay and Krim Tartars, and defeated. The Khan Akhmet was then put to death by his own men.

Ivan next sent his voievodes or “war-leaders” against Kazan; in 1487 they took it and made Alegam, its commander, a prisoner. In his boyhood Ivan had been imprisoned in Kazan by his Tartar enemies, and so now was able to turn the tables on them completely.

His next act exemplifies his statesmanship. Instead of annexing Kazan to Moscow he gave the crown to the nephew of his powerful ally, the Khan of the Krim Tartars. This Khan could not ask for the release of Alegam, because he was an enemy of his own nephew, the newly installed ruler of Kazan; but the leaders of the Khivan and Nogay Tartars, who were related to him, felt that Islam had been wronged, and despatched an envoy to Moscow praying for Alegam’s release. Ivan declined, but did so graciously, and gave no offence. He made the envoys presents, and sent to their leaders other presents, much foreign cloth and trinkets for their wives, whom he styled his sisters. Ivan did not treat directly with the envoys, making use of the western method of conducting negotiations through an officer of his court.

Ivan took the two-headed eagle as the arms of his{36} country. Its early form is still to be seen on the wall of Granovitaia palace in the Kremlin. The device of St George and the Dragon, which Yuri Dolgoruki the founder of Moscow used, was from this time more closely associated with the city of Moscow, and the eagle taken as the arms of the ruler.

When it became necessary for Ivan to appoint his successor he hesitated, and at last made choice of Dmitri, the son of Ivan, his eldest child, then dead. His wife advanced the claims of her own son Vasili; his daughter-in-law, Ivan’s widow, her own son. Having proclaimed Dmitri heir, he threw Vasili into prison and degraded his wife; then he changed his mind, imprisoned his daughter-in-law and grandson, and proclaimed Vasili his heir. In 1505 he died, and Vasili was at once crowned ruler of Moscow.{37}


Moscow of the Princes

“As pearls thy thousand crowns appear,
Thy hands a diamond sceptre hold,
Thy domes, thy steeples, bright and clear
Seem sunny rays in eastern gold.”—Dmitriev.

VASILI III. succeeded his father and reigned in Moscow for nearly thirty years. From the historical point of view, he is unfortunate, as he followed a sovereign recognised as “Great,” whose conquests and innovations changed the destiny of Moscow, and was succeeded by a ruler, who, by his barbarities, won for himself the surname of “Terrible.” Vasili III. was not a warrior, and when he made war it was by preference against Slavonic peoples in the west. His chief delight was in building: churches, monasteries, city-walls, palaces—none of these came amiss to him; he constructed some of all, leaving Moscow much stronger, richer and more beautiful than he found it. He made the most of such services as the Italian masters could render, but in those times, all that was done in Moscow in any one age appears to have been executed at the command of the reigning prince. The houses of the nobility have all disappeared, and to the date of Vasili III. there appear to have been no founders of churches in Moscow, other than the princes. Not that these necessarily found the labour or material; as often as not a church was built from the proceeds of a{38} fine laid upon some town or government at the pleasure of the prince.

Vasili was the first to build a stone palace in the Kremlin, that known as the Granovitaia, which is still standing. But Herberstein wrote that Vasili would not live in it, preferring his old palace of wood.

During his reign the Tartars got as near Moscow as the Sparrow Hills; there they sacked the royal palace and cellars containing large stores of mead. They became intoxicated with the liquor and advanced no further, but the leader obtained from Vasili a treaty in which he acknowledged the sovereignty of the Horde and promised yearly tribute. Vasili’s voievodes at Riazan, thinking the terms shameful, intercepted the returning Tartars, routed them, and got back the treaty. The following year, goaded to action, Vasili got an army together and went out towards the Khan, challenging him to battle. The Khan answered that he knew the way into Russia, and was not in the habit of asking his enemies when he should fight. In revenge for this insult, Vasili established a fair at Makharief, on the Volga; it ruined the mart of Kazan and was subsequently moved to Nijni-Novgorod, where it is still held yearly.

Vasili married first, Solomonia Saburov, but, as after twenty years of married life she had no son, he forced her to take the veil and married Helena Glinski, of Lithuania. This gave great offence to the Church; when he sent specially to the highest authority on the technical question, Mark, Patriarch of Jerusalem, is reported to have made the following remarkable prediction:—

“Shouldst thou contract a second marriage thou shalt have a wicked son; thy states shall become a prey to terrors and tears; rivers of blood shall flow; the heads of the mighty shall fall; thy cities shall be devoured by flames.”


Vasili disregarded the decision of the Church and married a most able and enlightened woman, who had the foresight to surround the Kitai Gorod with a wall of good masonry, and it is said, named that part of the town after a similarly designated enclosure in her native place. She bore Vasili two sons, Ivan, the Tsarevich, who was later the “terrible” Tsar, succeeding to the throne in 1533, when but three years of age. The younger son, Yuri, fared badly at the hands of his cruel brother.



The Moscow of the Princes was of wood, and the{40} vestiges remaining are unimportant. Some of the later buildings, as the palace of the Terem and towers of the Kremlin wall, have been built in the style of the wooden erections they replaced; but it is not easy to picture Moscow as it was before Ivan’s Italian workmen raised their walls of brick and stone.

The town was of great size; in 1520 it contained 41,500 dwellings and 100,000 inhabitants. Its circumference was nearly twelve miles. The Grand Prince and his relations lived in the Kremlin; so did a few of the richest and most powerful nobles. In the Kitai Gorod lived the traders, the wealthy boyards and foreigners. The Bielo Gorod, “White” or Free Town, was occupied by boyards, merchants and privileged citizens; in the outer ring lived the artisans and labourers. The churches and chapels were numerous. Ivan Kalita built ten when there were already eighteen in the town, in 1337; in the reign of Vasili III. there were as many monasteries and nunneries, and upwards of three score churches and chapels.

The first dwelling in the Kremlin was the Prince’s habitation, originally called the Prince’s apartment, which served only as a pied à terre for the Prince when passing through. When Moscow became a place of residence then a house was put up near where the Great Palace now is. Then followed the usual dependences; including a prison or dungeon. Even at that early date the Russian carpenters were able craftsmen; how expert they afterwards became the wonderful wooden palaces and churches of Russia accurately demonstrate.

The Princes of Moscow were not extravagant, their palaces consisting of four chambers, en suite—the one most distant from the entrance was the sleeping-room; then, adjoining it, the oratory or private chapel; the{41} room for living or affairs of the town, the anti-chamber; the vestibule; add kitchens and domestic rooms on a lower floor, and the early palaces of the Russian princes is complete.

Vasili III. required no more; his palace in the Kremlin consisted, on the bel étage, of the vestibule, an anti-chamber, and two rooms. In a separate building, reached by a corridor or covered staircase, the bathroom and storerooms. Above the bel étage, either a large open loft, or a belvedere pierced with windows on all sides and communicating with the terrace. The apartments reserved for the children, and for relations of the sovereign, were in separate buildings offering similar accommodation.

The roof was invariably ornamented with carved wood-work and with gay colours. The distinctive colour for the windows of the Terem was red. Further ornamentation consisted in shaping the roof conical, making it arched or in superposing cones on two arches; these were furnished with small grills and covered with shingles.

Each house had its private chapel, so the agglomeration of connected buildings that constituted a palace in the Kremlin in old days contained many chapels, and they now number more than a dozen. Apart from these private chapels within the palace, the Princes used the churches for the safer keeping of their treasure.

Ivan III. used the Church of St Lazarus now in the palace for his treasury; his wife, the Church of St John the Baptist, near the Borovitski Gate. To steal from the church was sacrilege, to take from the house of even the Tsar, simply robbery. The churches were used as treasuries also by the nobles, and doubtless much of the church-plate throughout Russia was originally deposited for safe keeping, whilst the owners{42} went against Tartars or Livonians. All the churches were rich, and all, time after time, were spoiled by invaders; thus hiding-places were made in or near all the old churches.

Near the residence of the ruler were the very similar dwellings of the minor princes. In the days of Vasili III., of Grand Dukes even, for, as Moscow conquered other principalities, their former rulers were brought to the Kremlin and lived under the surveillance of the “Grand Prince of all the Russias,” rendering him such military service as he demanded. In time these nobles became an element of danger, intriguing for the succession and quarrelling among themselves for precedence. Vasili III. was the first ruler to treat them harshly and he spared none, not even his own near relatives if he thought they aspired to the succession. To render them less dangerous they were not employed as war-leaders, men of lower rank, the drujni of the Tsar and other princes being entrusted with command in the field and acting also as governors of provinces. Burned down time after time and usually put up again in wood, Moscow, with all its conflagrations, was nearly three centuries before it contained a dwelling-house of brick or stone, and more than two before enclosed with a wall. The reason being that stones of any kind were scarce in the neighbourhood of Moscow, whilst wood was plentiful.

With a palace in the Kremlin the rulers soon set to work to have palaces elsewhere. The one at the Sparrow Hills seems to have been most often resorted to in the early days, but with the advent to Russia of Sophia Paleologus and the introduction of western customs, not only was the single palace found inadequate, but Ivan’s successors all built dwellings in the forest or in villages near Moscow where they{43} could go for sport, or when driven from town by fire, pestilence or revolt.

The most pressing need of the rulers of Moscow when they entered into relations with the west was a hall for entertaining visitors. It was for this purpose that the Granovitaia (chequered) Palace was constructed by the Italian workmen Ivan induced to work in Moscow for the then high wages of ten roubles a month. It was at this period that the Tsars began to evolve a special court etiquette. Previously anyone who could force his way through the throng by whom the princes were surrounded might speak with them. From the first the court etiquette, though not elaborate, was firmly insisted upon. Those who came to the palace had to dismount at some distance from the grand entrance, and approach it on foot. This accounts for the joy of Bowes, the English envoy, who rode right up to the grand entrance before dismounting. Those officers sent to meet foreign envoys had orders not to be the first to dismount; if the envoy knew the etiquette the parties on meeting would sit for hours facing each other, then agree to dismount simultaneously. Herberstein held back after throwing his feet out of the stirrups, so was last to touch earth, and he counts this a gain to his master. Common people and lower nobles were not allowed to pass the Tsar’s residence covered, and “must uncover as soon as it is within view.”

“The city is built of wood and tolerably large, and at a distance appears larger than it really is, for the gardens and spacious courtyards in every house make a great addition to the size of the town, which is again greatly increased by the houses of the smiths and other artificers who use fires. These houses extend in a long row at the end of the city, interspersed with fields and meadows. Moreover not far from the city are some small houses, and the other side of the river some villas where, a few years ago, the Tsar built a new city for his courtiers, who had the privilege of the Tsar to drink at all{44} seasons, which was forbidden to most, who were free to drink only at Eastertide and Christmas. For that reason the Nali, or drinkers, separated themselves from intercourse with the rest of the inhabitants to avoid corrupting them by their mode of living. Not far from the city are some monasteries, which of themselves appear like a great city to persons viewing them from a distance.”—Herberstein.

In addition to the gilded domes of its cathedrals, and the bright red roofs of its palaces, during the reign of Vasili III. Moscow commenced to accumulate other ornamental work quite as wondrous to the pilgrims from other Russian towns. Aleviso of Florence is unusually credited with the work upon the doors and lintels of the old churches within the palace, the porches of the Vossnesenski, Blagovieshchenski, and other Cathedrals within the Kremlin. The gilded and embossed metal work of the doors, the carved and bright-coloured columns and lintels, impressed visitors with the wealth of Moscow since the precious metals were so lavishly employed for merely decorative purposes. There are not many specimens of the work of this period still in existence, such as remain are now for the most part preserved within the palace instead of being, as formerly, exposed to the weather; but practically the whole of the wooden Moscow of the Princes was destroyed by fires during the reign of Ivan IV.{45}






Ivan the Terrible

“A right Scythian, full of readie wisdom, cruell, bloudye, mercilesse.”—Horsey.

MOST conspicuous of all the monuments of the past Moscow contains, is the great weird building familiarly known as the church of Vasili Blajenni; as monstrous and impressive is the era that produced it. The half century during which Ivan the Terrible reigned over Muscovy is a unique period in the history of Russia. And not that of Russia only, for in no country at any time have so many and diverse outrages been perpetrated at one man’s command. Disasters resulting from human ambition and folly sully the history of every land, but all histories are spotless in comparison with that of Moscow under its first Tsar—a creature of unparalleled ferocity and inconceivable wickedness.

Ivan was the son of the crafty Vasili Ivanovich in his dotage; of Helena Glinski, a fiery-natured Lithuanian woman, passionate as a Spaniard, reckless as a Tartar. But if his parentage was unpromising his upbringing was worse. He and his mother had many enemies, the members of princely houses in vassalage in Moscow but with aspirations to the throne. These men, mostly relations of the Tsar, were insistent upon the rules of precedence, both for the gratification of their own vanity, and as of possible importance in the{48} event of a Tsar dying without direct heir. For this reason all the Tsars were merciless towards their relatives on their father’s side, and looked for help from the relations of their mother and wife, who had most to gain from the succession being maintained in a direct line.

Helena, as regent, appears to have governed well. She did not marry again, thus the rights of Ivan and his brother Yuri were not endangered by her. Her lover, Kniaz Telepniev, for a time kept at bay the rival factions of the more powerful nobles, and possibly was instrumental in thwarting the plots of the Glinski. At Helena’s command two of her relatives were executed for conspiring against the infant Tsar. She enclosed the Kitai Gorod with a wall of stone; improved the defences of Moscow in other ways, gave the people a new coinage, founded monasteries, built churches, and continued the policy of the rulers of Moscow. Five years after her husband’s death she died suddenly, of poison it is said, and the rumour may be credited.

In 1538, Ivan, then in his eighth year, and his brother Yuri, his junior by eighteen months, were left to the mercies of the most powerful factions about the court. They were neglected; Ivan himself said of this period, “we two were treated as strangers: even as the children of beggars are served. We were ill clothed, cold, and often went hungry.”

Jealous of each other the courtiers would not allow the princes to attach themselves to anyone. If Ivan felt drawn to anyone, or any person took notice of him, all the others combined to separate the two.

The Shooiskis were then the most powerful family, and Shooiski treated Ivan with scant consideration. His tutors encouraged him to ride at full speed through the streets and try to knock down the old and feeble;{49} they allowed him to have animals tortured for his diversion, and laughed with him at their plight when flung from the roof of the palace. Ivan learned to read, and spelled through all the books he could obtain. From these old chronicles,—from those of the Kings of Israel, to the doings of his own ancestors—he seems to have obtained the idea of the powers of sovereignty. A close observer he noticed that although ordinarily he was treated as of little account, when any act of state had to be done he was always summoned to give the command. Young as he was, Ivan knew his importance. One day, when he was thirteen years old, he went out sporting with Gluiski, and Gluiski incited him to repress the arrogance of Shooiski. Ivan did it by having Shooiski pulled out into the street and worried to death there and then by Gluiski’s hounds.

From that time Ivan treated all with cruelty. In his eighteenth year he arrogated to himself the title of Tsar—the name by which all great rulers were designated in the old Slavonic books he had read. In the same year, 1547, he married Anastasia Romanof, and in that year the inhabitants of Moscow, tired of his cruelties, repeatedly fired the town. In April the merchants’ stores were fired, probably by robbers intent upon gain; the fire spread, destroying the stores of the Tsar, the monastery of the Epiphany, and most of the houses in the Kitai Gorod. On the 20th of the same month the streets of the artisans along the Yauza suffered, and on the 21st June, during a high wind, a fire started on the far side of the Neglinnaia, in the Arbat, and this spread to the Kremlin and destroyed there the whole of the wooden buildings. The inhabitants could save nothing, and the night was made more hideous by frequent explosions as the fire reached one powder magazine and another. The palaces, the tribunals, the treasuries, armouries, warehouses, all were{50} destroyed. All books, deeds, pictures and ikons were lost, with few exceptions. The metropolitan, the aged Macarius, was praying in the cathedral and refused to leave; he was forcibly removed, placed in a basket and lowered from the Kremlin wall near the Tainitski gate; the rope broke, he fell to the ground, and was taken more dead than alive to the Novo Spasski Monastery. There was not time to remove the Holy ikons. The fire after destroying the roof of the cathedral burnt out, and the celebrated ikon of the Virgin of Vladimir was saved.

The ruins smouldered for a week. Seventeen hundred perished in the flames. The Tsar withdrew to the Sparrow Hills so as not to see the distress of the people. The survivors, their beards burnt, their faces blackened, fought among the embers for the vestiges of what had been theirs. Church and court alike forsook the spot.

An earnest priest, Sylvester, forced himself upon the terrified Tsar, upbraided him for his excesses, and exhorted him to lead a better life. Ivan, always an arrant coward, now completely unnerved, at once came under the influence of the priest. He took as his counsellor one Adashef, a man of good repute and some wisdom. For thirteen years he and Sylvester administered the law and dictated the policy of the country. In Anastasia they had an able assistant and firm friend. Their first act was directed towards limiting the power of the Tsar; at their behest he called together an assembly of the people to advise him. They compiled a code of laws, the Sudebnik, and the Stoglaf, this last the decrees of the council (Zemstvo) held at Moscow in 1551 and shortly afterwards Sylvester issued his “Domostroi”—household law, teaching how to live as Godfearing men and prove good husbandmen. The Tsar, earnest in his{51} new rôle, paid great attention to his spiritual advisers. When twenty-one he exhorted them to “Thunder in mine ears the voice of God that my soul may live.”

In 1552 he was persuaded to lead an expedition against the Tartars of Kazan. The army was strong and well equipped. With wonderful foresight, a neighbouring town had been well stocked with provisions and was used as a base for the besiegers. After a stubborn resistance Ivan’s army of 150,000 took the town, and slaughtered the defenders. On this occasion Ivan is said to have displayed considerable courage, and when he saw the bodies of the slain Tartars, to have regretted their death, saying, “for though of another faith they are human beings even as ourselves.”

Too soon he returned to Moscow, and the newly-conquered province rebelled. Ivan then was very ill, “a fever so great all thought him at the point of death.” Ivan thought his last hour was at hand and summoned the nobles to take the oath of fealty to his son Dmitri, whom he nominated his successor. Some refused, others hesitated: Zakharin-Yurief alone, was earnest and ready in his allegiance. He was a near kinsman of the Tsarina and so, more than any, was interested in the welfare of Dmitri. Others intrigued for the succession. The Tsar lying helpless on his couch heard the boyards and counsellors discussing their plans in the adjoining apartment. Even Sylvester and his trusted counsellor Alexis Adashef, favoured the succession of Vladimir, Ivan’s cousin.

Ivan recovered, but for a time he acted as though he had forgotten what he overheard on his sick bed. He never forgave. His wife, Anastasia, also withdrew her friendship from those who had opposed her son’s succession.{52}

Then Ivan made a visit to the monastery at Bielo Ozersk—the White Lake—and there he saw the aged Vassian, the old counsellor of his father, who gave him advice contrary to that so earnestly and frequently dinned into his ears by Sylvester and Adashef. “If you wish to become absolute monarch,” said Vassian, “seek no counsellor wiser than yourself. Never take advice from any: instead, give it. Command, never obey. Then will you become a sovereign in all truth.”

This advice pleased Ivan. “My father himself,” he answered, “could not have given wiser counsel.”

Ivan could wait for his triumph over his associates. He went now to the Volga again, completed the conquest of Kazan, and his troops pressed on as far as Astrakhan, which they took after slight resistance.

In Moscow Ivan kept the grand-dukes, princes, and boyards his nearest relatives; his voievodes, or military leaders, were men of good birth, but with no claim on the succession. Under the administration of Adashef, the outlying parts of the Tsar’s dominions were so effectually governed that when the English ships first appeared on the White Sea, Chancellor was not allowed to trade, or penetrate into the interior of the country, until the permission of the Tsar had been received from Moscow.

In 1560 Anastasia died, and Ivan fretted under the constant surveillance of Sylvester. He was always at hand, entreating the Tsar to shew mercy, and to live straightly. Both Sylvester and Adashef retired within a short time of Anastasia’s death. For bad generalship in Lithuania, Adashef was imprisoned in the fortress of Dorpat, where he died shortly afterwards. Sylvester was ready enough to send the Tsar and his Russian armies to war against the Tartars and infidels; he opposed wars with Livonia, Lithuania and Poland,{53} where Ivan was particularly desirous of extending his dominion.

On the withdrawal of these counsellors again commenced the murders and massacres in which Ivan delighted. Historians divide these into seven cycles; it is a purely arbitrary division—with the exception of the thirteen years 1547-1560, during which he was wedded to Anastasia and engaged in foreign wars, the whole of his long reign was given to terrorising his subjects.

Obolenski was the first noble killed by Ivan himself; Repnin was murdered whilst at his devotions in church; another was slain simply because he remonstrated with the Tsar for such a display of cruelty. Ivan always used the hour of victory to exterminate foes, and he now relentlessly hunted down all his past advisers and their friends.

He was determined on absolute supremacy.

“To shew his soveraintie over the lives of his subjects, Ivan in his walks, if he disliked the face or person of any man he met by the way, or that looked at him, would command his head to be struck off. There and then the thing was done, and the head cast before him.”

Dismayed, some of his nobles fled to the west; among them was Kniaz Kourbski, who, not content simply to take service under Sigismund, acquainted the Tsar by letter with the fact. Kniaz Vasili Chibanov was the bearer. Ivan received him on the Krasnœ Kriltso, and there, with his sharp staff, pinned to the floor the foot of Chibanov, who never stirred a muscle during the whole time the long letter was read aloud. Then Chibanov was put to the torture, to obtain particulars of the flight of Kourbski, and the names of his partisans in Moscow; but Chibanov confessed not a word, and in the midst of the most horrible{54} torment praised his master, and counted it a joy to suffer thus for him.

Generally Ivan studied to keep on good terms with the common people—whom he feared; by them he was worshipped. Macarius, the metropolitan, complained that “He who blasphemes his maker, meets with forgiveness amongst men, he who reviles the Tsar is sure to lose his head.” Ivan chose as his companions the worst people whom he could find. At one time he withdrew from Moscow, taking umbrage at the prelates, still too powerful to be touched. The people clamoured for his return.

“The Tsar has forsaken us: we are lost, who will now defend us against the enemy? What are sheep without the shepherd? Let him punish all who deserve it: has he not the power over life and death? The state cannot endure without its head, and we will not acknowledge any other than he whom God has given us.”

This was gratifying to Ivan. He consented to govern again if the Church would not exercise its prerogative of mercy, and would leave him to do his will. His return was followed by murders and outrages worse than before. Randolph, who in 1568, was in Muscovy on an embassy from England, with which country Ivan wished to be on the best of terms, was not allowed to enter Moscow, because, Count Yuri Tolstoi thinks, Ivan wished to keep from him the knowledge of these massacres. Randolph wrote to Cecil:—

“Of the Tsar’s condition I have learned that of late he hath beheaded no small number of his nobility, causing their heads to be laid on the streets, to see who durst behold them or lament their deaths. The Chancellor he caused to be executed openly, leaving neither wife, children, nor brother alive. Divers others have been cut to pieces by his command.”

During the third cycle of Ivan’s outrages, Philip,{55} the metropolitan, in 1568, dared to upbraid the Tsar. Ivan with a crowd of his irreligious followers, disguised in the cloaks they wore when sallying forth to rapine and outrage, repaired to the Uspenski Sobor for a blessing before starting on their fearful work. The metropolitan refused to recognise Ivan so clad when called upon for his benediction.

“What is the thing thou hast done then, O Tsar, that thou shouldst put off from thee the form of thine honour? Fear the judgment of God, to whom we are here making a pure sacrifice. Behind the altar the innocent blood of Christian men is made to flow by thee! Among pagans, in the country of the infidel, are laws, and justice, and compassion shown to men, but in Russia now is nothing of this kind. The lives and goods of citizens are without defence. Everywhere pillage, on all sides murder, and each and all these crimes are committed in the name of the Tsar. There is a judge on high—how shall you present yourself before that Tribunal? Dare you appear there covered with the blood of innocents, deaf to their cries of pain? Even the very stones beneath your feet cry aloud to heaven for vengeance on such black deeds as are done here. O Prince, I speak to thee as the shepherd, fearing none but the Lord our God.”

Ivan enraged, stuck his staff into the ground, and swore to be as bad as Philip described him. Vasili Pronski was the first to suffer in the murders that followed closely upon this scene, but Ivan did not forget Philip. One of the soldiers was ordered to present himself before the metropolitan and wear the Tartar skull cap; the metropolitan noticed this irreverence, and turned to the leader for a command that the man should uncover. In the meantime the man did so, and Philip was accused of lying. The boyard, Alexis Basmanov, with a troop of armed men and having the Tsar’s fiat in his hand, arrested Philip whilst officiating at High Mass in the Uspenski Sobor, and read out that by the decree of the clergy, Philip was deposed from his high office. The people were{56} surprised and stupefied. The soldiers seized Philip, tore his vestments from him, and chased him from the church with besoms. He was first taken to the monastery of the Epiphany, next to an obscure prison where he was loaded with irons. Whilst there, the head of his well-beloved nephew, Ivan Borisovich, was thrown to him. A crowd gathered near the prisoner’s cell, and the people spake with each other of his goodness. It frightened Ivan, and he had Philip removed to the monastery at Tver, where he was subsequently strangled by Skutarov on the Tsar’s journey through the town on the way to Novgorod.

As a condition for his consent to reside in Moscow, Ivan stipulated for a bodyguard of his own choosing. These men, the öpritchniki, that is, “picked” fellows, became the terror of Moscow. Selected for their readiness to obey, their bodily strength and lack of morals, they recognised no master but Ivan, and by him were privileged to rob and slay the people as they wished, providing they were at hand to kill anyone in particular whom he might want out of the way. They carried bludgeons with heads carved to represent those of dogs, at the saddle bow, and a small besom at the other end, the “speaking symbols” of their intention to hunt down rebels and sweep Russia clean.

By their callousness and brutality they, on many occasions, distinguished themselves in a manner that gladdened Ivan, but at no time did their excesses excel their performance on the march to Novgorod. Ivan, very suspicious of treason, doubted the fidelity of Novgorod, a town with known predilections for freedom, and inclined to favour the more enlightened rule of the western kings than the Russian autocrat. A hired traitor placed a forged letter behind an image in Novgorod Church, and disclosed the plot to Ivan,{57} whose agents found the compromising letter, which contained overtures to the Lithuanians; Ivan started to subdue the town. The öpritchniks preceded him. Klin, a thriving town near Moscow, was sacked; the inhabitants of Tver were spoiled, and many murdered. On their way the advance guard killed all whom they met, lest any should know where the Tsar was. Villages and towns were annihilated. Monks had to find twenty roubles each as ransom; those who could not were thrashed from morning until night, then, when Ivan arrived on the scene, were flogged to death.

On his arrival at Novgorod he was entertained by the people; during the banquet served to him and his followers he gave a loud cry—the signal for his fellows to begin the slaughter. The Tsar and his son went to an enclosure specially reserved for the torture of their victims, and with their lances prodded those who were not quickly enough dragged to the place of torment. Chroniclers say that from 500 to 1000 were slain in cold blood before him each day of his stay. Some were burned, some racked to death, others drowned in the Volkhof, run in on sledges or thrown in from the bridge—soldiers in boats spearing those who swam. Infants were empaled before the eyes of their mothers, husbands butchered along with their wives. Novgorod, at that time larger and of greater commercial importance than Moscow, was so injured that she has never since acquired the rank of even a third-rate town. On leaving it, Ivan called together a few starving survivors, and commanded them to obey the laws and fear him. He went on to Pskov, where the town was saved by the boldness of a half-witted hermit, who offered Ivan raw meat on a fast-day, and threatened him that he would be struck by lightning if any citizen of Pskov was injured whilst Ivan remained in the town. An accident to his horse seemed to Ivan{58} an earnest of the “Holy-man’s” power, and he left the town precipitately.

According to Horsey, Ivan at this time had a Tartar army with him, and tried to reduce other towns in Livonia. At Reval, men and women carried water by night to repair the breaches in the walls made by his cannon during the day, and Ivan, losing six thousand men, in the end had to retreat in shame. Losing more men before Narva, he put in execution there “the most bloody and cruellest massacre that ever was heard of in any age,” giving the spoil of the town to his Tartars. Following the custom of his country, the prisoners of war were all brought as slaves to Moscow, many dying on the way, some, including Scotch and English soldiers of fortune in the pay of the Swedes, thrown into prison in Moscow and there subsequently tortured and executed.



These excursions of Ivan and his men into distant parts of his dominions afforded the Muscovites some respite from his attentions. The English then there were much impressed by the cruelties of Ivan, though themselves escaping. Jerom Horsey thus describes Ivan’s invasion of Novgorod:—

“O the lamentable outcries and cruel slaughters! The drownings and burnings, the ravishing of women and maids, stripping them naked without mercy or regard of the frozen weather, tying and binding them by three and four together at their horses’ tails: dragging them, some alive, some dead, all bloodying the ways and streets, lying full of carcases of the aged men, women and infants! Thus were infinite numbers of the fairest people in the world dragged into Muscovy.”


With the spoil brought from Novgorod was the “Great Bell of Novgorod” which had so often called its burghers to assemble for the defence of the town. Ivan was determined that the tocsin should never again be heard over the fallen city. The bell he caused to be hanged in the turret on the Kremlin wall near the Spasski Gate, where for long it was used as the alarm bell of Moscow, but subsequently served as metal when the great bell in Ivan Veliki was recast.

Shortly after his return from Novgorod he entered upon his fourth cycle of massacres. The prisoners were executed in batches before the Spasski Gate. Horsey was instrumental in getting the lives of many spared, and they were settled in a suburb of Moscow where they lived at peace with the citizens but were still subject to attacks from the öpritchniks. Ivan found other traitors among the boyards and princes, for his favourites of to-day were the victims of the morrow.

“On July 25, in the middle of the market-place, eighteen scaffolds were erected, a number of instruments of torture were fixed in position, a large stack of wood was lighted, and over it an enormous cauldron of water was placed. Seeing these terrible preparations, the people hurried away and hid themselves wherever they could, abandoning their opened shops, their goods and their money. Soon the place was void but for the band of öpritchniks gathered round the gibbets, and the blazing fire. Then was heard the sound of drums: the Tsar appeared on horseback, accompanied by his dutiful son, the boyards, some princes, and quite a legion of hangmen. Behind these came some hundreds of the condemned, many like spectres; others torn, bleeding, and so feeble they scarce could walk. Ivan halted near the scaffolds and looked around, then at once commanded the öpritchniks to find where the people were and drag them into the light of day. In his impatience he even himself ran about here and there, calling the Muscovites to come forward and see the spectacle he had prepared for them, promising all who came safety and pardon. The inhabitants, fearing to disobey, crept out of their hiding-places,{60} and, trembling with fright, stood round the scaffold. Some having climbed on to the walls, and even showing themselves on the roofs, Ivan shouted: ‘People, ye are about to witness executions and a massacre, but these are traitors whom I thus punish. Answer me: Is this just?’ And on all sides the people shouted approval. ‘Long live our glorious King! Down with traitors! Goiesi, Goida!’

“Ivan separated 180 of the prisoners from the crowd and pardoned them. Then the first Clerk of the Council unrolled a scroll and called upon the condemned to answer. The first to be brought before him was Viskovati, and to him he read out: ‘Ivan Mikhailovich, formerly a Counsellor of State, thou hast been found faithless to his Imperial Highness. Thou hast written to the King Sigismund offering him Novgorod: there thy first crime!’ He paused to strike Viskovati on the head, then continued reading: ‘And this thy second crime, not less heinous than thy first, O ungrateful and perfidious one! Thou hast written to the Sultan of Turkey, that he may take Astrakhan and Kazan,’ whereupon he struck the condemned wretch twice, and continued: ‘Also thou hast called upon the Khan of the Krim Tartars to enter and devastate Russia: this thy third crime.’ Viskovati called God to witness that he was innocent, that he had always served faithfully his Tsar and his country: ‘My earthly judges will not recognise the truth; but the Heavenly Judge knows my innocence! Thou also, O Prince, thou wilt recognise it before that tribunal on high!’ Here the executioners interrupted, gagging him. He was then suspended, head downwards, his clothes torn off”, and, Maluta Skutarov, the first to dismount from his horse and lead the attack, cut off an ear, then, little by little, his body was hacked to pieces.

“The next victim was the treasurer, Funikov-Kartsef, a friend of Viskovati, accused with him of the same treason, and as unjustly. He in his turn said to Ivan, ‘I pray God will give thee in eternity a fitting reward for thy actions here!’ He was drenched with boiling and cold water alternately, until he expired after enduring the most horrible torments. Then others were hanged, strangled, tortured, cut to pieces, killed slowly, quickly, by whatever means fancy suggested. Ivan himself took a part, stabbing and slaying without dismounting from his horse. In four hours two hundred had been put to death, and then, the carnage over, the hangmen, their clothes covered with blood, and their gory, steaming knives in their hands, surrounded the{61} Tsar and shouted huzzah. ‘Goida! Goida! Long live the Tsar! Ivan for ever! Goida! Goida!’ And so shouting they went round the market-place that Ivan might examine the mutilated remains, the piled-up corpses, the actual evidences of the slaughter. Enough of bloodshed for the one day? Not a bit of it. Ivan, satiated for the moment with the slaughter, would gloat over the grief of the survivors. Wishing to see the unhappy wives of Funikov-Kartsef and of Viskovati, he forced a way into their apartments and made merry over their grief! The wife of Funikov-Kartsef he put to the torture, that he might have from her whatever treasures she possessed. Equally he wished to torture her fifteen-year-old daughter, who was groaning and lamenting at their ill fortune, but contented himself with handing her over to the by no means tender mercies of the Tsarevich Ivan. Taken afterwards to a convent, these unhappy beings shortly died of grief—it is said.”—Karamzin.

Sometimes Ivan’s vagaries were less gruesome, possessing even a comic aspect:—

One day he requisitioned of his secretary 200,000 men at arms by such a day and signed the order “Johnny of Moscow.” He carried a staff with a very sharp spike in the end, which, in discourse he would strike through his boyard’s feet, and if they could bear it without flinching, he would favour them. He once sent to Vologda for a pot of fleas and because the town could not send the measure full, he fined the inhabitants 7000 roubles.

“He once went in disguise into a village and sought shelter. The only man who would offer it was the one worst off, and at the time sore beset. Ivan promised to return, and did so with a great company and many presents, acting also as godson to the man’s child, whose birth he had witnessed. Then his followers burned all the other dwellings in the village to teach the owners charity and try how good it was to lie out of doors in winter.”

“When Ivan went on his tours he was met by the householders and presented with the best they had. A poor shoemaker knowing not what to give, except a pair of sandals, was reminded that a large turnip in his{62} garden was a rarity, and so presented that to Ivan, who took the present so kindly that he commanded a hundred of his followers to buy sandals of the man at a crown a pair. A boyard seeing him so well paid, made account by the rule of proportion to get a much greater reward by presenting Ivan with a fine horse, but Ivan, suspecting his intention, rewarded him with the turnip the bootmaker had given.”

On a certain festival he played mad pranks, which caused some Dutch and English women to laugh, and he, noticing this, sent all to the palace, where he had them stripped stark naked before him in a great room and then he commanded four or five bushels of pease to be thrown on the floor and made them pick all up one by one, and, when they had done, gave them wine and bade them heed how they laughed before an emperor again. He sent for a nobleman of Kasan, who was called Plesheare, which is “Bald,” and the Vayvod mistaking the word, thought he sent for a hundred bald pates and therefore got together as many as he could, about eighty or ninety, and sent them up speedily with an excuse that he could find no more in his province and asking pardon. The emperor seeing so many, crossed himself, and finding out how the mistake occurred, made the baldpates drunk for three days then sent them home again.—Collins.

“He it was who nailed a French ambassador’s hat to his head. Sir Jeremy Bowes, the English ambassador, soon after came before Ivan, put on his hat, and cocked it before him, at which Ivan sternly demanded how he durst do so, having heard how he chastised the French ambassador. Sir Jeremy answered, ‘I am the ambassador of the invincible Queen of England, who does not veil her bonnet, nor bare her head to any prince living. If any of her ministers shall receive any affront abroad, she is able to avenge her own quarrel.’

“ ‘Look you at that!’ cried Ivan to his boyards, ‘Which of you would do so much for me, your master?’ ”

He was probably not acting nor scoffing when he{63} acted the part of abbot, and made his companions friars of the house at Alexandrovski—to which he retreated for upwards of a year at a time when he mistrusted the people of Moscow and feared for his life and his throne. Ivan regularly summoned to mass this strange company, all clad like brothers of a monastery, and himself officiated. His prostrations were no sham, for his forehead bore the marks of its severe knockings on the floor, but in the middle of a mass he would pause to give some order for the murder of his victims, or the pillage of the rich. The mornings were spent in religious exercise—the rest of the day and much of the night in the foulest orgies and the perpetration of fearful outrages in the dungeons and torture chambers of his residence.

At all times the boyards durst do nothing without him, and waited upon him duteously wherever he might go. His voievodes kept the newly-conquered provinces in subjection; others carried the war into the country of his enemies and brought fresh lands under his dominion. Yermak, an outlaw, conquered Siberia and made of it a gift to the Tsar. Anthony Jenkinson, on behalf of the English Russia Company, conveyed their goods from Archangel to Astrakhan; there fitted out a fleet for trading on the shores of the Caspian, and made a successful war on the Shah of Persia.

In 1571 Ivan’s voievodes failed him. They were unable, or unwilling, to oppose the Tartar horde and it reached Moscow. There the enemy pillaged and burnt the town, destroying the stores, houses and buildings outside the Kremlin. The town suffered worse than in the great conflagrations of 1547, but the Tartars, satisfied with the spoil, withdrew. They subsequently sent envoys to Ivan and these were at once imprisoned. Kept in dark rooms, ill-treated, almost starved,—they endured; made light of the hardships; scorned{64} their guardians. At last an audience was granted them.

“The Ambassador enters Ivan’s presence; his followers kept back in a space with grates of iron between the Emperor and them; at which the ambassador chafes with a hellish, hollow voice, looking fierce and grimly. Four captains of the guard bring him near the Emperor’s seat. Himself, a most ugly creature, without reverence, thunders out, says,—His master and lord, Devlet Geray, great Emperor of all the Kingdoms and Kams the sun did spread his beams over, sent to him Ivan Vasilievich, his vassal, and Grand Duke over Russia by his permission, to know how he did like the scourge of his displeasure by sword, fire and famine? Had sent him for remedy (pulling out a foul, rusty knife) to cut his throat withal.” They hasted him forth from the room, and would have taken off his gown and cap, but he and his company strove with them so stoutly. The Emperor fell into such an agony; sent for his ghostly father; tore his own hair and beard for madness! Then sent away the ambassador with this message, “Tell the miscreant and unbeliever, thy master, it is not he, it is for my sins, and the sins of my people against my God and Christ. He it is that hath given him, a limb of Satan, the power and opportunity to be the instrument of my rebuke, by whose pleasure and grace I doubt not of revenge, and to make him my vassal ere long be.” The Tartar answered, “He would not do him so much service as to do any such message for him.”—Horsey.

Ivan had to send his own emissaries to the Tartars and the Khan kept them imprisoned seven years, and in other ways showed his contempt for the ruler of Moscow. But for Ivan’s newly-found friends the English, his enemies in east and west would have conquered him. The English, much to the disgust of Swedes and Poles, supplied Ivan with artillery and small arms; improved engines of war, much gunpowder, and showed his men how to use them—Russians are not slow to learn.

In 1548 Ivan sent John Schlitte to Germany to enlist foreign artisans for his service. Attracted by the high remuneration offered, a hundred were willing{65} to accompany Schlitte back to Moscow, but the Governments, anticipating danger to their territory if the Russ became enlightened, refused permission. Only a few determined stragglers reached Russian territory. The first printers in Russia were encouraged for a time, then, for their own safety, had hurriedly to seek exile.

For Moscow Ivan did little: twice during his reign the town was destroyed by fire. After the first he built himself a new palace of wood within the Kremlin; later he had another constructed outside, between the Nikitskaia and the Arbat. For a long time he lived in neither, preferring a wretched dwelling in a far off village, whence he believed he could, at need, escape unobserved to England if any of his subjects took up arms against him.

The monument of his reign is the church in the Grand Place. Dedicated to the “Intercession of the Holy Virgin,” it was built at Ivan’s command, and at the expense of Kazan, to commemorate the conquest of that town, which fell on the first of October 1552. Commenced in 1553, it was completed six years later and consecrated by the Metropolitan Macarius on the day of its patron saint.

The name of its architect is unknown. Tradition asserts that Ivan, to make sure that this church should be “the crowning effort of his wonderful genius,” put out his eyes. There is no evidence in support of this story, and it is unlikely that Ivan would have done a thing so usual.

Many writers have asserted that this fantastic edifice is a mixture of the Gothic, Moorish, Indian, Byzantine and other styles of architecture. As a matter of fact it is but an exaggeration of the Russian style, an agglomeration of domes, towers and spires, one or other of which may be found on many buildings in “wooden Russia.” In the chapter on “Ecclesiastical{66} Moscow” the reader will find further information on this point. It appears to embody the salient features of many styles, eastern and western, and the whole, if neither beautiful nor magnificent is strikingly imposing and original. Unlike other Russian churches the belfry instead of being at the west end, is at the east. Nine of its chapels are each surmounted by a lofty roof differing from the others.

The central one, that dedicated to the Virgin, has a high tower and wonderful spire, the paintings on its internal converging sides adding to its extravagant proportions. The other eight chapels on this floor surround the spire and are covered with the usual arched vault supporting longer or shorter cylindrical towers, surmounted with cupolas of different forms and sizes. One, has apparently large facets; another bristles like the back of a hedgehog; a third bears closest resemblance to a pine-apple, a fourth to a melon; a fifth is in folds, another has spiral gonflements—none are plain. A covered gallery extends from north to south, with roofed and spired stairways leading up to the church level, and a narrow passage and outside wall enclose the remaining chapels. The quaint belfry with its Russo-Gothic spire and bright roofing, being unlike aught else, is in keeping with the general design. Outside, the central dome is brightly gilt, the others are painted in gaudy colours, and the whole of the exterior is decorated with crude patterns in strong contrast. Its design is bizarre; its colour is motley; the two both harmonise and contrast—the whole fascinates. It is at once both a nightmare and a revelation. Like an impressionist’s picture it rivets attention by apparent strength and seeming originality. It cannot be forgotten, yet it repels by its egregious fatuity. It is the over-inflated frog at the instant of explosion. It is not even known by its correct name: covering the remains of a{67}



mendicant monk “idiotic for Christ’s sake,” its familiar appellation, “Blessed Willie,” is derived from him. He it was who so often interposed his person between the Tsar and the objects of his wrath. He upbraided{68} Ivan; threatened him with all manner of disasters, but neither Ivan nor his opritchniks ever hurt the naked body of the old beggar. He used to address the Tsar familiarly, “Ivashka” (Bad Jacky); when the Tsar offered him money he let it fall to the floor, blew on his fingers, said the coins burned, and asked Ivan why he had his gold from hell. Then he would tell Ivan that on his forehead were already growing the horns of a goat—that he was becoming a devil really—then hold him up to the ridicule of the court and the people—and Ivan, enraged, dared not strike him down himself or order anyone to do so. Now, the wonderful monument of Ivan’s time is called by the name of the man he feared; it is he the orthodox remember; it is his church; they honour and revere him. Later another popular prophet, “Ivan the Idiot” was buried there by order of the Tsar Theodore: his chapel adjoins that of “Blessed Willie,” below the level of the church itself at the east end.

The church has not much history; the Poles plundered it, Napoleon ordered his generals to “Destroy that Mosque”—instead they quartered themselves there. It has been many times repaired; was reconsecrated in 1812 and remains, what it is, a striking memorial of a fearful era.

As a place of worship it is now but little used. Its architecture is not of the kind to inspire lofty thoughts, or draw any nearer to God. Its associations are all unpleasant, reminiscent of the excesses of Ivan, the weaknesses of his immediate successors. Worse, it lacks sincerity: intuitively one knows that such a building cannot shelter truth or engender hope. To uncover at its portal seems a mockery; to connect it with aught that is pure and Holy, a rank blasphemy.

Glittering in bright sunlight, gay with colour, resplendent with reflections from a glorious sky, it seems{69} only like a kaleidoscopic flash on a variegated canvas. To know Vasili Blajenni, the visitor should walk round it in the dusk of the evening, in the gloom of a winter’s day, or, in summer, in that half-light of midnight that there does duty for darkness. Standing in the shadow of the Kremlin wall, on soil saturated fathoms deep with the blood of innocent martyrs, examine the building closely and call to memory the people by whom and for whom it was produced. Then and then only may the conception of this fungus-like excrescence seem possible, and Vasili Blajenni stand revealed as an expression of inordinate vanity, uncontrolled passion, insatiate lust. Like attributes without a soul—weird, monstrous, horrible. No fitting memorial of any man, yet not out of character with what is known of him they called Ivan the Terrible.

The clergy alone possessed any power besides the Tsar; but the Church was unable to coerce him or to save the people. Obedience to those in power it had inculcated so long and thoroughly that the Russians never attempted reprisals or lifted a hand against the Tsar. Even a voievod, speaking to Ivan, had his ears sliced off there and then by the Tsar himself, and he not only bore it patiently, but thanked the Tsar for his attention. The people, debased, servile, frightened, could not help the Church—and soon the clergy could not help themselves. Ivan, who was fond of the semblance of justice, after his expedition north appointed a baptized Tartar, one Simeon Bekbulatov, to be Tsar in his place, then himself abdicated. But he took care to make Simeon do as he wished, and he kept the power. The people obeyed Simeon, to a certain extent, but the Tsar’s chief object in this was to legalise his seizure of ecclesiastical revenues. Simeon made certain agreements, but not having made those in force, which had been recognised by Ivan, he abrogated{70} them. Then Ivan dismissed Simeon amidst the thanksgiving and rejoicing of his people, and with tears in his own eyes, the arch-hypocrite again took his seat on the throne. But the old agreements were no longer in force; then Ivan declared null and void certain acts of Simeon, and so between the two, secured all the Church properties he wanted, and deprived the clergy of many privileges. Ivan was a great chess-player; his strategy as Tsar shows how his knowledge of the game benefited him.

Ivan put to death his cousin Vladimir for no crime; his mother Euphrosyne, when living in seclusion in a convent, he dragged forth and drowned in the Cheksna. His own sister-in-law, the widow of his early playmate Yuri, was also killed for no other reason than in the seclusion of the convent she had shed tears over the victims of the despot’s fury.

The boyard Rostevski, after imprisonment, was marched naked in very cold weather until the Volga was reached. His guards said that there they must water their horses. “Ah,” said Rostevski, “full well I know I have to drink of that water too,” and straightway he went to his death.

Seerkon had no other crime than that he was rich. A rope was placed round his waist and he was hauled from one side of a river to the other and back again until half-drowned, then placed in a bath of hot oil and torn to pieces.

Ivan kept many bears, and delighted to turn them out when savage amongst helpless people. Another diversion was to clothe men in bear skins, then set trained dogs to tear them to pieces. He poured spirits over the heads of delegates, then set their beards on fire. On one occasion his men brought a lot of women of Moscow, and stripping all naked presented them to Ivan—he took a few and gave the remainder to the{71} perpetrators of this outrage. Prince Chernialef he had grilled in an enormous frying-pan; hundreds died on the rack.

“Kniaz Ivan Kuraken, being found drunk, as was pretended, in Wenden when besieged, being voievod thereof, was stripped naked, laid on a cart, whipped through the market with six whips of wire, which cut his back, belly and bowels to death. Another, as I remember, Ivan Obrossimov, was hanged naked on a gibbet by the hair of his head; the skin and flesh of his body from top to toe cut off and minced with knives into small gobbets, by four palatsniks (chamberlains). The one, wearied with his long carving, thrust his knife in somewhat far the sooner to dispatch him, and was presently had to another place of execution and that hand cut off; which, not being well seared, he died the next day.

“That was the valley compared to Gehenna or Tophet, where the faithless Egyptians did sacrifice their children to the hideous devils.

“Kniaz Boris Telupa was drawn upon a sharp stake, soaped to enter his body and out at his neck, upon which he languished in horrible pain for fifteen hours and spake unto his mother, the duchess, brought to behold that woeful sight. And she, a good matronly woman, given to one hundred gunners who did her to death. Her body lying naked in the Place, Ivan commanded his huntsman to bring their hungry hounds and devour her flesh, and dragged her bones everywhere. The Tsar saying: ‘Such as I favour I have honoured, and such as be treytors will I have thus done unto.’ ”—Horsey.

Another boyard impaled, during the long hours he remained conscious, never ceased calling upon God to forgive the Tsar. On one occasion, during a time of great scarcity, Ivan caused it to be made known that at a certain hour alms would be distributed at his palace. A great crowd of needy people assembled, and seven hundred were promptly knocked on the head by the opritchniks and their bodies thrown into the lake; a death so merciful, Horsey terms it “a deed of charity.”

Ivan forced father to kill son, and son father. His two once favourites, the Gluiskis, also suffered; the son being beheaded as he reverently raised the head{72} just struck from his father’s body. On that same day another prince was impaled and four others beheaded. Many were hung up by the feet, hacked with knives, and whilst still living, plunged into a cauldron of scalding water. On one occasion, eight hundred women were drowned together. The opritchniks, of whom at one time Ivan had seven hundred, killed scores of people daily.

He himself plotted against the life of his own son and gave “Maliuta” (Skutarov) orders to kill him. Kniaz Serebrenni saved him. This is the subject of Count A. Tolstoi’s best known novel and of an old ballad which recounts how the Tsar got all the boyards together to say a mass for the dead Tsarevich and in mourning, “or all I will boil in a cauldron.” Nikita Serebrenni, hiding the Tsarevich behind the door, enters in ordinary raiment and is questioned by the Tsar, who when he knows that the Tsarevich is safe, rejoices greatly and offers Serebrenni half the kingdom as a reward. Serebrenni answers:—

“Ah! woe Tsar Ivan Vasilievich!
I wish neither for the half of thy kingdom,
Nor the gold of thy coffers.
Give me only that wicked Skutarov,
I will guide him to the noisome marsh
That men call most cursed spot.”

With the aid of his foreign physician, Bomel, Ivan substituted poison for the knife. At his table the craven boyards would gather trembling; take from him and drain the cup they knew to be poisoned. No wonder Horsey called them “a base and servile people, without courage.” In his turn “Elizius Bomelius” suffered a cruel death. When Theodorof was accused of aspiring to the crown, Ivan dressed him in the royal insignia, seated him on the throne and did him mock homage; then struck him dead, saying that it was he{73} who exalted the humble and put down the mighty from their seats.

His people all shrank from him: the merchants hid their goods if he, or any of his spies, were in their neighbourhood; none dared be counted rich. He robbed any and all. Even the English merchants, whose good esteem he prized, were forced to furnish him with what he wished, on credit, and were never paid. They dared not offer their wares to any, unless he had first been afforded an opportunity to purchase—at his own price.

His palace at Alexandrovski was a wondrous building; all spires, domes, quaint gables, and corridors—as unlike all other palaces as Vasili Blajenni is unlike other churches. Of his enormities there, none may write. After his death, it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

He was rough, uncouth, unfeeling. He emptied scalding soup over one of his favourites and laughed at the sufferer’s contortions. Taking offence at a remark of one of his jesters, he ran his knife into the little fellow’s chest; then called a doctor, telling him he had used his fool roughly. The doctor told him the man was dead. Ivan, remarking that he was a poor jester after all, went away to his revels.

A straightforward old boyard, Morozof, a hard fighter and an upholder of the rights of his order, for disputing with the favoured Boris Godunov about precedence, was exiled. After some years he was again summoned to court, and Ivan made of him a buffoon. Count Alexis Tolstoi uses the story in his romance “Prince Serebrenni.”

“ ‘Yes, the Boyard is old in years but young in spirit. He loves a joke—so do I in the hours not devoted to prayers or my affairs of state. But since I killed that foolish jester, no one knows how to amuse me. I see that the Boyard Morozof{74} wants the post. I have promised to show him a favour—I name him my chief jester! Bring the cap and bells! Put them on the Boyard.’ The muscles of the Tsar’s face worked sharply, his voice was unchanged.

“Morozof was thunder-struck: he could not believe his ears. He looked more terrible even than the Tsar. When Gresnoi brought the cloak, with its tinkling bells, Morozof pushed him aside. ‘Stand back! Do not dare, outcast, to touch Boyard Morozof! Your fathers cleaned out my ancestor’s kennels. You leave me alone! Tsar, withdraw your order. Let me be put to death. With my head you can do as you will. You may not touch my honour!’

“Ivan looked round at the opritchniks. ‘You see I am right in saying that the Boyard will have his joke. I have no right to promote him to the office of jester, eh?’

“ ‘Tsar, I implore you to withdraw your words. Before you were born I fought for your father with Simski against the Cheremiss; with Odoevski and Mstislavski drove back the Krim-Tartars, and chased the Tartars away from Moscow. I defended you when a child; fought for your rights and the rights of your mother. I prized only mine honour; that has always remained unstained. Will you mock the grey hairs of a faithful servant? Behead me rather—if you will.’

“ ‘Your foolish words show that you are well fitted for a jester. Put on the cloak! And you fellows, help him. He is used to be waited upon.’

“The opritchniks put on the fool’s cloak, the parti-coloured cap, and retreating, bowed low before him. ‘Now amuse us as did the late jester!’ said their leader.

“Morozof was resolute. ‘I accept the new post, to which the Tsar has appointed me. It was not fit for Boyard Morozof to sit at table with a Godunov—but the court fool may keep company even with such as the Basmanovs. Make way for the new jester, and listen, all of you, how he will amuse Ivan Vasilievich!’ He made a gesture of command: the opritchniks stood aside, and with his bells tinkling, the fine old man marched up the room and seated himself on the stool before the Tsar, but with such dignity that he seemed to be wearing the royal purple instead of the motley of the court fool.

“ ‘How shall I amuse you, Tsar?’ and putting his elbows on the table, he leant forward and looked directly into the eyes of his sovereign. ‘It is not easy to find a fresh diversion for you; there have been so many jests in Russia since you began to reign. You rode your horse over the helpless in the streets{75} once-upon-a-time; you have thrown your companions to dogs, you poured burning pitch over the heads of those who humbly petitioned you! But those were childish freaks. You soon tired of such simple cruelties. You began to imprison your nobles, in order to fill your rooms with their wives and daughters, but of this also you have tired. You next chose your most faithful servants for the torture; then you found it wearied you to mock the people and the nobles, so you began to scoff at the Church of God. You picked out the lowest rabble, decked them out as monks, and yourself became the abbot! In daylight you commit murders; at night sing psalms! Your favourite amusement, this! None had thought of it before. You are covered with blood, yet you chant and ring the holy bells and would like to perform the mass. What else shall I say to amuse you, Tsar? This: whilst you are masquerading thus with your opritchniks, wallowing in blood, Sigismund with his Poles will fall on you in the west, and from the east will come the Khan, and you will have left none alive to defend Moscow. The holy churches of God will be entered and burned by the infidel, all the holy relics will be taken: you,—you—the Tsar of all the Russias, will have to kneel at the feet of the Khan, and ask leave to kiss his stirrup!’ Morozof ceased. None dared interrupt; all held their breath in agonising suspense. Ivan, pale, with flashing eyes, and foaming with rage, listened to all attentively, bent forward, as though fearing to lose a single word. Morozof gazed proudly around him. ‘Do you want me to divert you further, Tsar? I will. One faithful subject, of high birth, still remained to you. You had not yet thought of killing him, because—perhaps—perhaps you feared the anger of God; and perhaps only because you could think of no torture or infamous death worthy of him. He lived in disgrace far from you; you exiled him; you might have forgotten him—but you never forget, do you, Tsar? You sent your cursed favourite, Viasemski, to burn his house and carry off his wife. When he came to you for redress for these wrongs, you sent him to combat for the right, in the hope that your young courtier would kill the old boyard. God did not allow you that joy, Tsar. He gave the other the victory. What did you do then, Tsar?’ the bells on the cap tinkled as the old man’s head shook with his emotion. ‘Why, then you dishonoured him by an unheard-of outrage. Then, Tsar,’ he pushed back the table in his indignation, and sprang to his feet—‘then you ordered the boyard, Morozof, to wear the fool’s cap! You forced the man, who had saved Tula{76} and Moscow, to play the fool to amuse you and your idle courtiers!’

“The look of the old warrior was fierce; the absurdity of his dress disappeared. His eyes flashed fire, his white beard fell on a chest scarred with many wounds now hidden beneath a jester’s cloak. So much dignity was there in him that by his side the Tsar looked mean.

“Tsar, your new fool stands before you. Listen to his last jest. While you live the people dare not speak, but when your hateful reign is over your name will be cursed from generation to generation, until, on the day of judgment, the hundreds and thousands you have murdered—men, women and little children, all of whom you have tortured and killed, all will stand before God appealing against you, their murderer. On that dreadful day I, too, shall appear in this same dress before the Great Judge, and will ask for that honour you took from me on earth. You will have no body-guard then to defend you; the Judge will hear us, and you will go into that everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’

“Casting a disdainful look upon the courtiers, Morozof turned round and slowly withdrew. None dared to stop him. He passed through the hall with great dignity, and not until the jingle of his bells ceased did any speak.”—Alexis Tolstoi.

His son, the Tsarevich Ivan, wished to lead an army against his father’s enemies in Lithuania. In this offer the jealous Tsar saw an attempt to gain popularity. He turned on Ivan savagely and struck him repeatedly with the iron-shod “sceptre” he always carried; the last blow knocked the young man senseless. He fell to the ground, and the Tsar, now frightened, did his utmost to save him, but he was injured too severely and died four days later.

There still exists in the monastery of St Cyril, Moscow, a synodal letter, in which are specified a number of victims for whom Ivan solicited the prayers of the Church. The souls of 3,470 in all are to be prayed for; 986 of these are mentioned by name, the others are cited as—“with his wife,” “with sons,” “with wife and children,” “Kazarim Dubrovski and his two sons and the ten men who came to their defence,”{77} “twenty men of the village of Kolomensko,” “eighty of Matveche,” “Remember, Lord, the souls of thy servants to the number of 1,505 Novgorodians.”

In the number of wives recognised by the Church as more or less legitimately joined with him he beat Henry VIII. by only one, but in the number of mistresses he can be compared with Solomon alone. Anastasia Romanof died in 1560; in the same year he married Mary Tangrak, either a Cheremiss or Tartar. His next wife was chosen out of all the most eligible maids in Russia. Her name was Marfa Sabakina of Novgorod. The marriage took place on October 28, 1571, and on November 13 of the same year she died. Her brother, Michael, the Tsar impaled shortly afterwards. Ivan’s marriage with Natalia Bulkatov was not recognised by the Church. Anna Koltoski he took next, but he forced her into a nunnery later, where she lived until 1626. Anna Vasilichekov and one Mstislavski succeeded, but only one was recognised,—which one is disputed. Vassilissa Melentief, a great beauty, was his next choice, but the Church recognised only Maria Nagoi, the mother of the murdered Dmitri, whom he married in 1580. When but a few months wed, he informed Queen Elizabeth that he would put aside his wife, who was shortly to become a mother, if he could find a suitable partner for himself in England. Poor Lady Mary Hastings, learning something of his character, begged her sovereign not to mate her with such a barbarian. His harem was that of a Turk.

He was prematurely worn out with his excesses. He could obtain little peace. Superstitious, he sent for wizards and prognosticators; Finns who certainly foretold the day, if not the hour, of his death. The appearance of a comet greatly terrified him—the once mighty Tsar lost his strength. Like{78} Herod of old he died a fearful death, and he left his country in a worse plight than he found it.

He was received into the Church before his demise, but he is officially known as Yoanna and familiarly as “Groznoi” (the Terrible). His evil deeds are forgotten by the people, whilst the enrichment of his country by others of his day is counted to his credit. He was the first “Tsar” of Russia, and not in name only; he was its first ruler to become an absolute autocrat.

It is a fashion of this humanitarian age to make allowances for the harsh deeds of those who lived in ruder times, and in this nineteenth century even Ivan the Terrible has found apologists. His atrocities, his joy in the perpetration of the cruellest tortures on the innocent, all his wickednesses are admitted; but they call his lust by a Greek name and say he is to be pitied rather than condemned. Yet some there must be even now, who, when they read that Ivan always went to the torture rooms with joy and came away from its fiendish practices invigorated, refreshed and gay, will rightly regard him with loathing and horror. Not only is his character without a redeeming trait, but his nature is so fiendish and foul that the student may read long and investigate very closely before making sure that Ivan was human. His lusts had not the saving grace of humour; his fear even was sulphurous. Neither circumstances nor events either mitigate or condone his cruelties. Throughout his life he was actuated by one impulse only, to gratify and preserve himself. Those who believe that the occasion makes the man must feel that the fifty-years rule of this despot upsets that theory. Never was there such need for a Cromwell—the country could not produce a man, much less a liberator. Doubtless the action of previous rulers, the centuries{79} of thraldom to Tartars, the thorough teaching of the Christian doctrine of obedience to rulers, contributed to the servility of the people. One of his tortured victims, it is true, did try to assault him, but the wretch was at once killed by the watchful Tsarevich, and in future Ivan ran no such risks. Prelates rebuked him and suffered; his victims suffered and forgave him—none tried to free themselves or help others. In all this dreary time only one man appears to have acted worthily. The Englishman, Jerom Horsey, exerted all the influence he possessed on behalf of Ivan’s prisoners. The services he rendered deserve a memorial; instead he received the condemnation of the Russia Company, in whose employ he was, and the encomiums and admiration of the Tsar whom he loathed and despised.

The magnitude and multitude of his crimes place Ivan far beyond other tyrants of his class. It is reassuring to know that in no other country and at no other time would his rule be permitted. The mere possibility of a recurrence of such a time of terror would determine every thinking being to die childless. The spirit of freedom renders the ascendency or continuance of his like impossible—but in mediæval Moscow the spirit of freedom had no place.{80}


The Troublous Times

“But war has spread its terrors o’er thee,
And thou hast been in ashes laid:
Thy throne seemed tottering then before thee,
Thy sceptre feeble as thy blade.”—Dmitriev.
“Yea, one is full out as villainous as the other.”
W. RussellA Bloudie and Tragicke Massacre.

BORIS GODUNOV was the most powerful and sagacious of the boyards spared by Ivan the “Terrible”; he was best fitted to direct the policy of the government, and later the people looked to him as the only ruler possible. A man who could satisfy Ivan, yet take no part in his orgies, who could keep the goodwill of the foreign residents, yet be beloved of the Muscovites, must have possessed abilities of no mean order. Boris was a great man to whom historians have done scant justice. He is described as inordinately ambitious and accused of unscrupulousness in his methods, but the court in which he was schooled may be adduced in extenuation of his crimes, whilst ambition, an undesirable quality for a subject to possess, is a laudable virtue in monarchs. It was his misfortune not to have been born in the purple—his contemporaries and the historians have counted this a fault, but it is too late to blame him for acting as a king when he was by birth a simple noble.

Boris Godunov, as brother of the Tsar’s wife, had{81} a recognised position apart from the favour the Tsar’s father had shown him. The relatives of the Tsarina were always counted less dangerous to the dynasty than were the Tsar’s blood relations, and their influence at Court was greater than their precedence warranted. Theodore was the opposite of his father, unintelligent, feeble-willed, incompetent, he thrust greatness upon Boris Godunov, who saved Moscow. At that time the Tsar held territory in Europe larger than that ruled by any of his contemporaries; the conquests of Yermak in Asia brought as much more under his dominion. Enemies, active, watchful, virulent, were ever ready to harass its rulers. Poles and Swedes expected Moscow sooner or later, to fall to them, and lost no opportunity to effect the overthrow of the Russians. Tartars and others kept up predatory wars and, within the empire, towns and districts, devastated by the wanton cruelties of Ivan, were anxious to get back their independence. There were no men able to rule. Ivan had put to death those brave enough and independent enough to assert authority; what was worse for Russia, he had driven into exile competent and influential nobles, who, maddened by his persecutions, became enemies of their fatherland and plotted with foreign sovereigns against the state.

To govern was difficult; to preserve the empire intact, still more so; further aggrandisement almost impossible with the conditions then prevailing. Theodore left everything to the council,—duma, consisting of boyards whom Godunov held in the hollow of his hand. From his brother-in-law he obtained special titles and special powers; he became viceroy of immense territories, and could put 100,000 armed men into the field at need. He was practically regent and lacked nothing that was royal but the title. When the Shooiskis, the Belskis, the Mstislavskis{82} and others did not please him he forced them from power. Mstislavski had to become a monk; Shooiski, who tried to get together a party among the merchants, was banished to a distant town; Dionysius, the metropolitan, was deposed, and a nominee of Godunov’s succeeded to the primacy of the church. When, in 1586, Batory, King of Lithuania died, Boris Godunov put forward Theodore as candidate for the crown of Poland. But the Poles would have no ruler who belonged to the eastern church. Moreover, they feared the Muscovites would join Poland to Muscovy like a sleeve to a coat; but the claim proved that Russia was still a power with which the west would have to reckon. Boris, who had always been friendly with the English, obtained for Theodore the support of England against Danes and Swedes; he quite won over Queen Elizabeth to the side of the young Tsar and, in many ways, as Grand High Chancellor advanced the interests of his sovereign and his country.

In Moscow he acted intelligently. The middle town, the Bielo-Gorod or free town, between the Kitai Gorod and the present boulevards was enclosed with a wall of stone, having twenty-eight towers and nine gates. The last gate, that on the Arbat, was razed in 1792, the wall having been earlier demolished and its site utilised for the present existing boulevards. Its style was that of the wall around the Donskoi Monastery built in 1591 to commemorate the victory of the Muscovites under Mstislavski against 150,000 Krim-Tartars advancing on the city under the leadership of the Khan Kazi Ghiree. Another building of Godunov’s is the smaller “Golden Palace” in the Terem of the Kremlin, which was erected for the accommodation of the Tsaritsa Irene. Many bells were cast, and some cannon including the monstrous Tsar Pushka—still within the Kremlin—which bears a{83}





portrait of Theodore on horseback on its reinforcement. Theodore lived in regal state: his household numbered over 1000, and he entertained foreign ambassadors with even greater pomp and magnificence than his predecessors. Not only were these guests provided with a fitting residence and a large suit, but it was not uncommon for as many as a hundred and fifty dinners to be sent daily from the Tsar’s kitchen for their entertainment.

Ivan’s youngest son, Dmitri, with his mother Maria, and her relatives, the Nagois, were domiciled in Uglitch by the order of Boris; whilst there in 1581, about the period of the Tartar invasion, young Dmitri was murdered—at Boris Godunov’s instigation it is said. Jerom Horsey, who was in Uglitch at the time, states that he was aroused late at night, the news given him, and his aid requested on behalf of Dmitri’s mother believed to be poisoned. Horsey gave the messenger the small vial of sallet oil the Queen (Elizabeth) had given him as a specific against all poisons and ills. An inquiry was ordered when Boris Godunov was suspected of having instigated the crime, and as a result of the investigation made by Shooiski it was declared that the boy cut his own throat and that the Nagois and citizens of Uglitch had put to death innocent men as murderers, whereupon, the incredible finding being believed, an effort was made to exterminate the Nagois, and Uglitch was almost depopulated.

There can be no doubt that Dmitri was murdered when six years old, but it is not so clear at whose instigation the deed was done. Giles Fletcher states that the child “resembled his father in delight of blood,” and it may be that evidence of his cruel propensities induced some sufferer from Ivan’s tyranny to wreak vengeance on the son in hope of saving a generation to come from such suffering as the past{86} had endured. It may be that Boris Godunov plotted for his removal, but it is known that Boris was anxious for Theodore to have a son to succeed to the throne, and, probably, had then little intention of securing it for himself. One of the complaints made by the Russia Company against Jerom Horsey was in connection with a wrongly interpreted order he executed on behalf of Boris Godunov who wished a “wise woman” sent out from England to doctor the Tsaritsa, and the company instead sent out a midwife.

To conciliate the small landowners a decree was issued in 1597 forbidding peasants to leave the land and thus serfdom was established. Some efforts had been made in former centuries to restrict the migrations of a people, nomadic by habit, still accustomed to change masters frequently by moving from one estate to another at seed time and harvest. The tendency of the powerful was to increase the size of their holdings and to augment their retainers by enticing labourers from smaller estates. To check this the husbandman was attached to the soil as the serf of the estate.

As statesmanlike, and less objectionable, was the appointment of a patriarch to win over the clergy. Jeremiah, patriarch of Constantinople, was banished by the Turks and sought refuge in Rome. The Pope sent him to Moscow, hoping that the chief of their own church would influence the Russians to forward the amalgamation of the Greek and Roman churches. If not successful in this, it was hoped that the recountal of the patriarch’s sufferings and indignities at the hands of infidels, might induce the Romans to make a league with Spain against the Turks. According to Giles Fletcher the Pope’s emissaries did nothing more than inveigh against England; but with the destruction of the Spanish Armada all conceit of a{87} Russo-Spanish league vanished. Godunov profited by Jeremiah’s stay in Moscow. He induced him to consecrate the Metropolitan Job, patriarch of Moscow, and to this patriarchate that of Constantinople was subsequently added. Thus Moscow became indisputably the head of the Orthodox Church, by direct apostolic succession.

The Tsar fell ill in 1597 and died in the Kremlin the following year, and his widow then at once retired to the Novo Devichi convent mourning her bereavement and blaming herself that through her the sovereign race had perished, for her only child, Theodosia, died in 1592, when but ten months old.

The enmity the reigning princes had shown their own kindred, produced the unexpected result that there were now no legal heirs to the throne; the line of which Andrew Bogoloobski Dolgoruki was the founder, was extinct. The Tsar Theodore when on his death-bed said that God would provide the next Tsar, and refused to nominate a successor. The States’ Council convened for the purpose of appointing a ruler, unanimously chose Boris Godunov. It was impossible that the throne could escape him. He hung back, wishful to have an expression of the desire of the people of Moscow, as well as of the delegates. The people required him. They went to the Novo Devichi convent, whither he had gone, begged him to accept the position to which he had been appointed; his sister “blessed him for the throne,” and with great show of reluctance, he at last consented. In due course he was crowned; reigned wisely and well, but was not liked. A chronicler has it that “he presented to the poor in a vase of gold the blood of the innocents, he fed them with unholy alms.”

Those of his subjects who remembered the tyranny of Ivan should have blessed their elected ruler. They{88} could not forget his Tartar origin: he was not of royal descent, was no Tsar. Nor could he win popularity. His first act was to conclude an honourable peace with Kazi Ghiree and the invading Tartars; his policy was to avoid war, that “there might be neither widows nor orphans of his making.”

Horsey wrote of him:—

“He is nowe become a Prince of subjects, and not of slaves, kept within duty and loyalty by love and not by feare and tyranny. He is comely of stature, of countenance well-favoured and majesticalle withal; affable in behaviour and yet of great courage, wyse, politick, grave; merciful, a lover of virtue and goodness, a hater of wicked men, and a severe punisher of injustice. In summa, he is a most rare prince as ever reigned over these people as any I have ever read of in their chronicles, which are of great antiquity.”

In 1601 Moscow was in a state of famine, the like of which it had never known. In a short time 3 roubles would not buy as much food as 15 copecks had done formerly. Driven wild by hunger the Muscovites committed fearful atrocities. Men were entrapped, killed and eaten. It is said that some mothers killed and ate their own children; pies of human flesh were sold openly; many thousand corpses remained unburied in the streets; chroniclers state that half a million perished of famine and disease. To alleviate some of the misery, Boris caused the granaries and stores to be burst open, and the food avarice withheld sold at normal prices.

Boris built two new palaces of stone within the Kremlin; had made a map of the Russian dominions, and a plan of Moscow. To find employment for the poor he caused the belfry tower of Ivan Veliki to be constructed, and did his utmost to win the love of the citizens. He had to combat treason and intrigue; his reprisals were severe, but the victims suffered in secret.{89}





The Belskis and Romanofs were ill-treated; the head of the latter house was forced to become a monk, and took the name of Philaret; his wife to become a nun, under the name of Marfa. One of the most remarkable specimens of Muscovite architecture has survived from Boris Godunov’s day, the church of the Assumption he built on the Pokrovka. Like other churches of mediæval Moscow, its chief entrance is by steps to a second storey, but unlike them it is carried much higher and appears more like a collection of buildings piled upon each other. Thirteen cupolas, at different heights, are arranged around the central dome. A covered gallery surrounds the church on the main storey, and the logia beneath was, until recently, divided and let as shops.

In 1604, the first false Dmitri appeared, invading Russia from the west, at the head of Poles and Zaporogians. Boris was energetic and able, but the towns revolted on the approach of Dmitri, and the soldiers of Godunov’s voievodes “found it hard to bear arms against their lawful sovereign.” Even Mstislavski, who tried to stop the advance, had no soldiers to help him; his men “had not hands to fight, only feet with which to run away.” Shooiski was better able to rally his men, and he defeated Dmitri at Dobryvichi. Boris then thought that the struggle was finished, but the movement had only just commenced. The Ukraine rose; some 40,000 Cossacks of the Don joined the impostor, and the inaction of the voievodes to stop the advance towards Moscow, proved that the spirit of treason was wide spread.

Boris Godunov did not live to see the issue. After a repast he was suddenly taken ill; there was suspicion of poisoning and, expecting to die, he nominated his son Theodore his successor. After confiding the youth to the care of his friend Basmanov, to the{92} Patriarch and to the people of Moscow, he breathed his last on the 15th April 1605, being then but fifty-five years of age.

Theodore ascended the throne as soon as his father’s remains were interred in the Archangelski Cathedral, but it soon became evident to his supporters that neither officers nor men would fight on behalf of the Godunovs. Rather than become a victim of treason, Basmanov chose to be its author, and announced that he was convinced that Dmitri was in truth the son of Ivan the Terrible.

The impostor was audacious and successful. His career has the fascination of romance. He was one Otrepief, a monk of the Chudov monastery within the Kremlin. Job, the Patriarch, made him his secretary, a position which enabled him to learn several state and court secrets. He said one day to his fellow scribes, that some day he would reign over them as Tsar of Muscovy. For answer they spat in his face, and reported his words. Boris sent him a prisoner to the monastery on the White Lake. He escaped, wandered about for some time, and at Novgorod Severski was well received by the inhabitants, to whom he revealed himself as the supposed murdered Dmitri, and promised all who helped him suitable rewards if he should obtain his own rights. Then he threw off his cowl and joined a band of Zaporogians; learned of them how to ride and fight. As a soldier he sought service with Adam Vichnevetski, a Polish pan of good standing. He soon feigned illness; a priest was summoned, and to him he confessed that he was the son of the Tsar. This disclosure was of too great political value to remain the secret of the priest, and in due course Otrepief was recognised as Dmitri by Vichnevetski. Then the papal Nuncio took him under his protection, and he was presented to King Sigismund.{93}

It is unlikely that these dignitaries were deceived. Sigismund feigned to believe Otrepief’s story, but refused to recognise him officially, though he allowed his subjects, at their own risk, to take service under Otrepief’s banner and foment a revolution.

From various motives the Russian leaders flocked to him as he marched towards Moscow. In the town the people crowded in the Grand Square to hear the news of his triumphant progress; his manifesto was read from the Lobnoe Mesto, and none dare stay the treason, not even the Patriarch would venture! The boyards Mstislavski, Vasili Shooiski, Belski and others, went out to argue with the citizens, but they were met with cries of “The day of Godunov is over! To-day the sun rises upon Russia; Dmitri! Long live the Tsar Dmitri! Down with the Godunovs! Cursed be the memory of Boris! Long live Dmitri!” So shouting, this crowd made its way into the Kremlin.

The rioters were masters; the guard fled, and the townsmen who had forced their way into the palace actually pulled the young Tsar from the throne. His mother begged them to spare his life, and her cry was heeded. The Godunovs were removed from the palace to their own dwelling and a guard placed over them. The relations and friends of the Godunovs were then imprisoned, their dwellings pillaged and destroyed. Belski, from his known antipathy to the Godunovs, became the counsellor of the mob. Some time later the partisans of Dmitri made a fresh attack on the Kremlin. The object of their fury on this occasion was the Patriarch. He was celebrating mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption when an armed band forced their way into the sanctuary, seized him at the altar, dragged him forth and tore away his vestments. Clad in black he was brought in ignominy from the church, shown to the people, and sent away on a{94} common cart to the monastery of Staritsa, five hundred versts from Moscow.

On the 10th of June 1605, the Princes Galitzin and Mossolski, with a couple of secretaries and three of the guard of Streltsi, went to the palace of the Godunovs; took Theodore and his sister from the arms of the Tsarina and ordered the guard to put them to death in an adjoining room, and then strangled the Tsarina herself. Theodore made a struggle for life, fighting savagely, but he was struck down. Xenia was spared; Dmitri who had heard of her beauty ordered Mossolski to find an asylum for her in his mansion. The corpses of Marie and Theodore after being exposed to the public, were interred in the convent of St Varsonophee on the Srietenka, and the disinterred body of Boris Godunov brought to the same resting-place.

At this time Dmitri was at Tula, but all being now in readiness for his enthronement, he came to Moscow and made a state entry unparalleled for its magnificence and pageantry. A violent gust of wind which somewhat disturbed the procession as it crossed the Moskva was taken as an omen of ill, and later in the day, by an unlucky coincidence, at the moment when the clergy were prostrate before the Holy ikons, the foreign musicians sounded a fanfare. When Dmitri prostrated himself before the tomb of Ivan and cried, “Oh my father, thou left me an orphan and in exile, but by thy prayers I have regained my possessions!” the simple people were convinced of his identity. He was crowned; his supposed mother, Maria Nagoi, recognised him, and his rule commenced.

Little fault can be found with the way in which Dmitri governed. He pardoned those who had suffered from the Godunovs, and was generous to those who had shown themselves inimical to him;{95} he rewarded his partisans handsomely and was lavish in his expenditure. He purchased and ordered rich furnishings for himself and the court, exhibiting a prodigality that frightened the more staid of the Moscow citizens. In three months he is said to have spent more than seven million roubles, and the display of riches was the wonder of foreign visitors to his court. He rode Arabs, dressed his servants like nobles, and built and furnished a palace that surpassed anything seen in Moscow. It was of wood; the stoves of porcelain had doors of silver; the bolts and bars of the palace were all gold, or at least gilded; before the entrance was an enormous statue of Cerberus, of which the three jaws opened wide at the least blow. The chroniclers state that “this was a symbol of the dwelling that was to be Dmitri’s throughout eternity.”

There were malcontents, and chief among them was Vasili Shooiski, who, on the denunciation of Basmanov, was tortured and condemned to death. At the last moment he was pardoned, but was implacable, and worked assiduously for the overthrow of Dmitri and the ruin of Basmanov.

Pope Paul V. sent Rogoni to Moscow on the usual errand, but Dmitri was in nowise inclined to make any submission to Rome. At the same time he was tolerant, and this tolerance gave great offence to the orthodox. He allowed Lutherans to preach; permitted the Jesuits to have a place of worship within the Kremlin; even listened to an address in Latin delivered by a Jesuit in an orthodox church. Equally irritating was the freedom foreigners now had to enter an orthodox church, the doors of which had been hitherto closed against all but the faithful. Dmitri upbraided the clergy for their intolerance. “With us,” said he, “there is only the outward observance, we{96} ignore the spirit of our religion. You fast, you prostrate yourselves before relics, you worship the Holy ikons, but you do not understand the spirit of religion. You consider yourselves the most upright people on the earth, and meanwhile you do not even live as do Christians. You lack charity: you are little inclined to good works. Why do you scorn those who dissent from you? What is the Roman faith? It is a Christian faith, even as yours is.” Such opinions as these alienated everyone, but especially the clergy. To them he was gracious, allowing the Patriarch, four metropolitans, seven archbishops and three bishops to have seats on the general council—a privilege they had previously received upon very special occasions only. An order he made for an inventory of clerical property inflamed the priests of all degrees against him.

Crull writes of him:—

“For his owne person, he maintayneth his greatnesse very well. He was a man of mean stature, browne of hue, prompt to choler, but quickly appeased. He hath broken many a staff, and given sentence of death, upon the marshals and other officers, when they did but little swerve from their duty. After he grew to know the Russians’ false pranks, he provided himself with a guard of Livonians, and afterwards also of Asmaynes and other strangers.... He yet further determined to have also a hundred musketeers, when he was laid apart. He took great delight in hunting, and in casting great pieces of artillery, and not only to see them in hand but also to proove them himself: for which end he caused ravelynes and ramparts to be erected to imitate an assault.”

Dmitri was too fond of the customs of the west to satisfy the Muscovites. Many charges were made against him which seem absurd now. Among them may be instanced “that he favoured foreigners, especially musicians;” ordinarily he sacrificed pomp, and went hither and thither about Moscow like a{97} simple citizen. He took the cannon out of the town to test various pieces “and might then have turned them on the town”; he liked to watch mimic battles, and laughed when the Muscovites were routed by the foreign soldiers. He ate meat during Lent and veal at any time. He showed little or no regard for Russian customs, and broke down those barriers that prevented the common people from having access to their Tsar. Much could have been pardoned, but two things were decisive: he would not sleep after dinner, and he mounted his horse at a bound.

When Dmitri arranged to wed Marina Mniszek, the daughter of a Polish pan, Vasili Shooiski plotted anew for his overthrow. He it was who had been commissioned to hold the inquiry into the crime committed at Uglitch; and the people remembered that he, if anyone, knew the truth respecting the murder of Ivan’s son and the identity of their present ruler. This in some measure accounts for Dmitri’s surprising leniency towards this enemy. In his new plot Shooiski counted upon the support of 18,000 men of Novgorod and Pskov, then in Moscow on their way to do battle against the Krim-Tartars. The Tsar could count on the support of the common people, and though warned of the danger that was threatening, he took no measures to ensure his own safety, or that of his guests and bride. The agents of Shooiski circulated two rumours; one, among the boyard and clergy, to the effect that with the help of the newly arrived Poles “Dmitri” intended to massacre the boyards and introduce the Roman faith; to the common people it was represented that the Poles were ill-treating the Tsar. On the night of the 17th of May the soldiers secured the entrances to the Kremlin; and on the morning of the 18th, Shooiski, with a cross in one hand and a drawn sword in the other, obtained an entrance through the Redeemer Gate,{98} made straight for the Cathedral of the Assumption and, prostrating himself before the ikon of Mary of Vladimir, called upon those around him in the name of God to attack the cursed heretics. The alarm bell rang; Basmanov met some boyards who, with swords drawn, demanded that “Dmitri” should be given them. They killed him; then entered the palace in search of the Tsar, who tried to escape, and to defend himself. Driven along a corridor, he slipped, was stabbed, and thrown into the courtyard. The guard of Streltsi, called to his assistance, would have defended him, but when threatened by Vasili and the boyards, the Tsar prayed them to desist, and the companions of Shooiski thereupon despatched him. Marina was spared, and a guard left to protect her; but the conspirators, having killed Dmitri, Basmanov, and a hundred or more of the foreign musicians in the palace, they spread over the Kitai Gorod and murdered without discrimination all the Poles and foreigners they encountered. These scenes continued all day, and at last the populace took up the cry of “Down with the Poles!” and the massacre of foreigners became general.

The bodies of “Dmitri” and Basmanov, their faces covered with ribald masks, prepared for “mummeries” in celebration of the wedding, were dragged out on to the Grand Square and exposed to the public; later these corpses were burned, and the ashes fired from a cannon.

On the day following the massacre, Vasili Shooiski was proclaimed Tsar. The action was too precipitate. Galitzin, who was a candidate, was not satisfied; the provinces were annoyed that they had not been consulted. Shooiski did not feel secure. He sent into the distant parts of the empire as voievodes those boyards who had taken the side of “Dmitri.” Among them was Mossolski, who, on leaving Moscow, took a letter addressed to “Dmitri,” and had already{99} formed the idea of advancing someone else to the throne. Vasili Shooiski was fifty years of age, he lacked energy, and his rule satisfied no one. Pretenders sprang up everywhere; at one time there were seventeen people claiming to be “Dmitri”; others took the name of Peter; all claimed to be sons of Ivan. Fighting men took their part. Cossacks, Zaporogians, and others, wanted war for the booty it brought. The nobles led a war in the south; in the east the Tartars thought the time opportune for action; Finns tried to recover their independence; Swedes and Poles looked on, waiting for the best moment at which to interfere. News travelled slowly, lack of communication made local risings possible. The people in distant parts heard almost at the same time that the Tsar was dead, that Dmitri had recovered his own, that the usurper had been dethroned—they knew not what to believe. In Moscow the citizens remembered that the bodies which had been exposed on the Grand Square had the faces masked: to most it seemed possible that “Dmitri” had escaped after all.

It was some time before the revolutionists joined forces. In the meantime Shooiski instigated an anti-foreign reaction. Dmitri exiled a bishop named Hermogen, an able, devout man, uncompromisingly orthodox, stubborn and bigoted, who now became Patriarch, and won the confidence of the people.

In due course the different sections of the army of revolutionaries closed in towards Moscow. Lissovski, a noted brigand, had a large following. There was John Zapieha, exiled from Poland, seeking fortune, and with him numerous “pans,” intent on the spoils of war; a host of Zaporogians, and the usual large army of Cossacks, under the hetman Rojinski, joined them. In the field the superior talents of Michael Skopin-Shooiski, a nephew of the Tsar, saved the situation.{100} He refused overtures made by Liapunov, and this voievode consequently separated his following from that of the revolutionaries and joined Shooiski. Bolotnikov had then to fall back on Tula, and he wrote to Mniszek that unless “Dmitri” was produced, their cause would be lost. He was found, but too late to save Bolotnikov, who was drowned; another leader was hanged. The identity of the new impostor is as disputed as that of “Junius”; to historians he is simply the “second false Dmitri,” the “Brigand of Tushino,” or the “Little Tsar.” His party was strong, because each of its units expected spoils in case of victory; it received such support as it had from the people by reason of the ex-Tsaritsa Marina, the widow of “Dmitri,” and Mniszek, recognising the impostor as “Dmitri.”

The northern towns supported the impostor, and Sigismund and the Poles made common cause with him against Moscow. Shooiski, who had refused the proffered aid of Sweden, now sought help, and from Novgorod the young Delagardie was sent on behalf of Sweden. More could have been accomplished had not Vasili Shooiski been so jealous of the successes and popularity of his nephew. He was afraid to let him take the field, and the impostor established himself at Tushino, a village ten miles to the north of Moscow. Here he held his court, and enticed the Muscovites by promises. Nobles and citizens alike essayed to be on good terms with both Shooiski, the “half-Tsar,” and the impostor, the “little Tsar,” spending their time at both courts, and earning the name of Pereletsi (birds-of-passage) by their frequent changes of residence. The townsmen were so demoralised that they were ready for whomsoever should succeed, yet gave little assistance to either “Tsar,” and responded but feebly to future attempts at insurrection within the capital. The soldiers returned to their homes, and{101} Shooiski became by turns devout and ribald. Now spending all his hours in church, anon seeking aid of sorcerers; one day punishing traitors with extreme rigour, the next proclaiming that all were free to do as they wished. The few who remained true to Shooiski sent sons or near relations to make court to the impostor.

The Church saved Russia in this extremity; it was unswervingly orthodox and opposed to Polish supremacy. The rich monastery of Troitsa attracted the cupidity of the revolutionaries, and some 30,000 men under Zapieha and Lissovski laid siege to the famous monastery in 1608. The monks held out bravely, keeping the besiegers at bay for sixteen months. In September 1609 Sigismund himself laid siege to Smolensk. The people refused to submit; the voievode Shein defended the town so well that Sigismund found it necessary to call all Poles to his banner. Zapieha very reluctantly left Troitsa and joined Sigismund, knowing that in case of victory the spoils would now fall to the King of Poland. The Russians with the “little Tsar” had no choice but to accompany the Poles, and the impostor, deserted, sought refuge in flight. Disguised, he went south, and later Marina and Mniszek joined him.

The condition of the nobles and commoners who had taken the part of the impostor was pitiable. In despair a deputation, headed by Soltikov, waited upon Sigismund and said that the Muscovites beat their foreheads in the dust before his majesty, and begged that his son Vladislas would take the throne of the Tsars, making only one condition, namely, that he should become of the orthodox faith. A compact was made between Sigismund and the delegates, by which, under certain conditions, Vladislas was to succeed to the throne of Muscovy.

In the meantime Michael Skopin-Shooiski died in the hour of his victories. His uncles were accused of{102} having poisoned him. When, at last, Dmitri Shooiski went out against Sigismund, he was beaten by Jolkievski and betrayed by the leader of the foreign regiment. The Poles then marched on to Moscow, and thitherward also came the impostor with a fresh following, thinking the town would choose him in preference to Vladislas. Moscow was in uproar; the inhabitants knew not what to do. On one hand the proclamation of Jolkievski promised peace, abundance, and prosperity; on the other, the impostor with more specious promises held fast those who had already paid court to him. Some suggested that neither candidate should be accepted, but a new Tsar elected by the people. Matters drifted on until the 17th July 1609 when, after the result of a meeting at Serphukov became known, the boyards and citizens together most humbly requested Vasili Shooiski to abdicate, because “he caused Christian blood to be shed and was not successful in his government.” He retired to his private dwelling and subsequently became a monk in the Chudov Monastery.

When the boyards had to choose between the Pole and the impostor, some wished to restore Shooiski to power. For the time being the Council was content to enforce an oath of fealty to it, and to await the coming of Jolkievski, then at Mojaisk.

Sigismund had determined upon securing the throne for himself, and Jolkievski had a difficult part to play. The Russians elected an embassy to Sigismund; it consisted of those who were most likely to oppose the Polish supremacy: then, the better to guard against the impostor, the Poles were requested to garrison the Kremlin. The dissidents were thus got out of the town, and the key to the stronghold of the empire was given into the hands of the Poles. The Muscovites progressed so slowly with their negotiations that Jolkievski left Gonsievski in command and returned to Smolensk,{103} taking Shooiski with him. The Patriarch alone remained inexorable. He protested against the Polish occupation and refused all attempts at compromise. More, he was unceasing in his attempts to awaken the Muscovites to their duty, to their religion, their country and themselves. His attitude was most irritating to the boyards favouring the Poles and to the officers of the garrison, for the indomitable prelate, deprived of the wherewithal to write, called out loudly to the people to revolt. The boyard Soltikov, enraged by his repeated refusals to sign the submission, struck at him with a dagger, but the cross of the prelate warded off the blow. “The cross is my only weapon that I have against thee, cursed one!” he called, and the garrison did their best to prevent the people from entering the cathedral to hear him. Cast in prison, he still found means to inflame the populace.

The “little Tsar,” after the alliance between the Poles and Muscovites was accomplished, withdrew to Kaluga. Soon afterwards he was murdered; he left Marina and a son, but neither now were of importance to Russia.

Sigismund wanted Smolensk reunited to Poland; the delegates wanted Vladislas in Moscow at once. Sigismund delayed. He tried what he could do with Smolensk; when the secretary Tomila was asked if he would surrender the town, he answered, “If I were to do it, not only would God and Muscovites curse me, but the earth would open and swallow me.” Others were not so honest. The King was besieged by applicants for favours and rewards in return for services rendered, or to be rendered. In the Kremlin, the boyards denounced each other to the commandant, Galitzin and Vorontski were arrested; others lost what little prestige remained to them.

Hermogen succeeded in getting two letters circulated; both were calls to the faithful to rise against the Poles. They excited indignation, and at last Liapunov started{104} out from Riazan with an army and arrived before Moscow. The Poles besought Hermogen to order this force to disperse. He refused and defied the Poles to do their worst.

In 1611 matters quickly became worse. As long as Jolkievski was in the Kremlin, Russians and Poles were at peace with each other, but Gonsievski was not so successful. Some Poles were so foolish as to mock the orthodox worshippers, and although severely punished, the circumstance roused the Muscovites to action. There were several riots, but these were quelled, and the measures the Poles took to ensure their own safety irritated the citizens still more. Hatred increased day by day; the position of the Poles became critical. As Holy Week approached, Gonsievski fearing trouble forbade the usual ceremonies. This so offended the people that he was forced to give way. The critical period passed with one or two unimportant risings, when suddenly a quarrel broke out with the carters, who had been asked to haul cannons into position and had refused. Soon the fighting became general in the town. Prince Pojarski, with the advance guard of the Russian army, had just arrived on the Sretenka when the Poles and Germans fell ruthlessly upon the citizens. The massacre lasted an hour or more, some seven thousand being killed. The alarm bells were ringing, and the crowd at last was chased from the Kitai Gorod when the Poles who followed further were driven back by the cannon of Pojarski. The Poles and foreigners had then to entrench themselves and, to clear the neighbourhood, the Poles fired the town. The conflagration spread rapidly and lasted three days. The Russians abandoned the burning town; the Bielo Gorod was destroyed, and much of the Kitai Gorod also; the dwellings and warehouses of the foreign{105} merchants were consumed, and the “English factory” lost several of its members. Some went into the cellars and were suffocated, the survivors made a dash for the Kremlin, and were helped over the wall by the Poles, where their position was precarious, for they were amidst a town in flames in a foreign country, among a people in revolt against the garrison. Some vestiges of this fire are still found occasionally when excavating—old vaults full of charred wood and burned bricks—whilst the wall of the Kitia Gorod itself is said to bear evidence in several places of the fire that for days raged round it, and vitrified the bricks and tiles of its battlements and machecoules. When the news of the disaster in Moscow reached Sigismund he sent the delegates and hostages as prisoners to Marienburg. Shortly afterwards Smolensk capitulated: the brave Shein was tortured for holding out so long, then Sigismund returned to Warsaw and led the ex-Tsar Shooiski in triumph through the streets. He delayed in hastening needed reinforcements to the besieged garrison in the Kremlin of Moscow, counting those that reached it during the conflagration sufficient.

During Easter week Liapunov arrived; he was closely followed by Zarutski with Don-Cossacks and Prince Troubetskoi with the levies from Kaluga. The Russian forces camped on the ashes of the Bielo Gorod and, if the leaders had been united and vigilant, success might have been theirs. Day by day the situation became more dangerous for the beleaguered Poles—obliged to make frequent sorties for food, and losing men on each occasion. Zapieha made an attempt to relieve the garrison but failed; the 100,000 Russians round the Kremlin kept him away, but themselves were unable to carry the fortress by assault and too lax to starve the enemy out.

Gonsievski did well. Threats failing to move the{106} stubborn Hermogen, a letter was written to the leader of the Cossacks to the effect that Liapunov intended to ruin them. They treacherously killed him; the cause of Russia seemed lost, for there was no longer a leader in whom all could trust, but impostors and intriguers beyond count. The Cossacks determined to fight for their own hand; the nobles and boyards held aloof, save those with the Poles in the Kremlin. Zapieha revictualled the garrison; Sweden threatened Novgorod, and called the heir-apparent Tsar of Russia; a fresh usurper found a following at Pskov; Cossacks, Poles and brigands of different nationalities overran the country, pillaged towns and burned villages, and during that winter of 1611-12 food was so scarce that “men devoured each other.” There was no Sovereign recognised, no chief authority, no law. From time to time the Archimandrite Denis, and his able seconder Abraham Palitizin, sent letters to the different towns urging the people to rise, retake Moscow, and save the holy relics. Hermogen was starving imprisoned in the Kremlin; the Poles allowed the ex-patriarch Ignatius to act in his stead. Moscow was powerless. The other towns commenced to govern themselves and to raise local forces for their own protection.

The high priest Sabbas made a stirring appeal to the people to unite and deliver their fatherland. His eloquence moved the citizens of Nijni-Novgorod to tears. He called on the faithful “to assert their unity, join together to defend the pure and true religion of Christ, free the holy cathedral of the Blessed Virgin, and recover the sainted remains of the miracle workers of Moscow.”

An elder of the province, one Cosma Minin, by trade a butcher, exhorted his neighbours to initiate the rising. His appeal was, “Orthodox! If we wish to save our country, do not fear to sacrifice our goods, to sell our{107} possessions, aye, even to pledge our wives and children if need be, and find a commander faithful to our religion and capable of leading us, then will victory be ours!”

The most suitable leader seemed to Minin to be the Prince Pojarski who had fought at Moscow and been wounded in the fray. He lived near by on his estate in Suzdal, and to him Minin went and offered the command of the volunteering peasants. Pojarski had shown no strong partisanship, had sought favours of no one, and was willing to fight for the general good. These provincials were undoubtedly in earnest; a three days’ fast was enjoined and made obligatory for all, even suckling babes. When the troops began to gather together, in the spring of 1612, the Poles and boyards in the Kremlin became desperate, and once more ordered Hermogen to command the leaders to disperse their forces. He refused; and in the days of dire necessity that followed he died, starved to death, and was buried within the Chudov Monastery.

Prince Pojarski advanced very slowly towards Moscow: it appeared to be that he was waiting for an assembly general at Yaroslavl to elect a tsar, fearing without a sovereign the Russian provincial troops would not act together against so many enemies, native and foreign.

The garrison of the Kremlin, now commanded by Struss, was ill-provisioned. The Cossacks had retired to the south-east, Zarutski’s intention being to beat up reinforcements and re-attack with the followers of the “little Tsar” and secure the throne for Marina and her son. From the west, Khodkevich came with reinforcements and provisions to the relief of Struss. Pojarski arrived on the 18th August, but was separated from Troubetskoi. On the 21st August Khodkevich arrived on that side of the town guarded by Pojarski, whose troops therefore were the first to be attacked.{108}



On the 23rd the poles and Pojarski engaged in a fierce battle. Later Troubetskoi led his men also against the Poles, and with him went a part of the Cossack army. Khodkevich was driven back, but fought stubbornly. The next day he renewed his attempt to reach the Kremlin. Pojarski begged Troubetskoi to join forces, and Abraham Politzin persuaded the Cossacks to assist in defeating the Polish relief. Attacked on both sides simultaneously, Khodkevich retreated from the commanding position he had occupied; then the sudden appearance of Minin, with a few hundred peasants who{109} fought most savagely, turned the retreat into a rout, and the Polish treasure fell into the hands of the Cossacks. After this victory Pojarski and Troubetskoi joined forces and formed a provisional administration. The defenders of the Kremlin were in despair. They were short of food and ammunition, and the fact that 300 Poles had forced their way through the Russian ranks and joined the garrison was in no way advantageous. Soon they deserted the Kitai Gorod and took refuge in the Kremlin, holding it a month longer in hope that relief would reach them. The usual horrors of a long siege were manifest; not only did they devour everything that was eatable, but even gnawed at their own flesh and disinterred corpses. The boyards with their wives and families were sent out of the Kremlin and at last the Poles were compelled by hunger to surrender. On the 25th October the Muscovites made their entry into the Kremlin, and after much thanksgiving and praise, proceeded to the election of a new ruler. Sigismund with an army was coming to the relief of the Poles, but was unable to subdue the towns on his way. His ambassadors to the Muscovites were not even received by the victorious leaders. The Swedes were informed that no one of their race would be elected. Boyards intrigued for Galitzin, for Shooiski, and for others. The provincial army was determined that there should be a general assembly for the election of the Tsar, and the candidate most favoured by all classes seemed to be the young Michael Theodorovich Romanof.

Old men remembered Anastasia Romanof, the first wife of Ivan the Terrible; younger ones had nothing but praise for Philaret, the present head of the family; all pitied the persecutions and hardships its members had suffered because of their relationship to the old royal line—if unanimity was necessary, no candidate{110} had so good a chance of securing it as had the young Romanof. On February 21st, 1613, the electors met around the Lobnœ Mesto in the Grand Square. The crowd shouted lustily for Mikhail Theodorovich Romanof, and to the general wish the electors gave the only possible expression. By some it is thought that the crown was offered to Pojarski who declined it; it is a fiction of latter day poets, as are Dmitriev’s lines:—

“What—what shall be his recompense?
Look! He who made the invaders bleed
And Moscow and his country freed,
He—modest as courageous—he
Takes the bright garland from his brow,
And to a youth he bends him now,
He bends an aged and hero-knee
‘Thou art of royal blood,’ he said,
‘Thy father is in our foeman’s hand;
Wear then this garland on thy head
And bless—O bless, our father-land!’ ”

The new dynasty was founded, but quite early, if the tradition be true, was likely to have been extinguished. The Poles on learning the news endeavoured to put the young Romanof to death; an attempt to waylay him was frustrated by the heroism of the peasant Sussanin who, in the district of Kostroma, gave his “life for the Tsar” by leading astray in the forest the murderous band searching for him. Historians now say that he had no opportunity of so doing, but the fact remains that for some service rendered the Romanofs the Sussanins for many generations enjoyed rare privileges, and if the tale be not true, it has at least resulted in the Russians obtaining from the theme their finest opera, Glinka’s “Life for the Tsar.”

The “time of trouble” for Moscow was not over on the appointment of a Tsar, but the Muscovites entered upon a very glorious era with a Tsar of their own choosing.{111}


Moscow of the Tsars

“Mid forests deep the turrets gleaming
Of Moscow’s gorgeous Kremlin stand,
Beauteous golden-crown!
Peerless white-walled town!”
All Russian Poets.

WRITERS in the west still ignore the history of Russia previous to the reign of Peter the Great, attributing to that monarch reforms he did not initiate, and a policy of which he was not the author and followed but indifferently. The real makers of the Russian nation were the wise Romanofs who preceded the tyrant Peter. The history of the period may be briefly recounted, apart from the story of the construction of the great town—the Moscow of the Tsars. It was under the Tsar Michael that the relations of Russia with the west became general; under Alexis, who succeeded him in 1645, not only were the Poles driven back and other enemies conquered, but those great social and economic reforms were introduced, the working of which subsequently “westernised” Russia. Theodore during his short reign of five years successfully continued what his father had commenced. It was the claims made on behalf of his half-brother Peter that caused the hands of the clock to be set back. The story of Peter is well known, but its teaching has been often misinterpreted. To obtain the truth{112} let the Moscow of Theodore Alexeivich be compared with the Russia of Peter, or of any of his eighteenth century successors. The one exhibits the highest normal achievement of purely Muscovite ideals, and reveals the capacity of Russia to absorb what is nearest akin to its own spirit from among the more progressive motives of the west. Peter crudely grafted a coarse imitation of western forms upon a rarer stock; stagnation and corruption were the result. It was not until the nineteenth century, and the complete abandonment of Peter’s policy, that Russia once more advanced towards civilisation.

A country devastated by foreign invaders and surrounded with bitter and relentless enemies; a territory wasted by internecine warfare; the cinders of a capital; an empty treasury; a famished and pestilent ridden people—such was the gift of the electors in 1613 to Michael Theodorovich Romanof, a boy of sixteen, whose mother was in a convent and father in a foreign prison. No wonder that he hesitated, and that his friends urged prudence. The people were honest, and Michael exacted proofs of their earnestness. Slowly he advanced towards Moscow, urging his subjects to prepare suitable apartments for himself and his mother in the spoiled ruins of the Kremlin, to store afresh the warehouses with provisions and replenish the treasury. The boyards answered that they had already prepared the palace of Ivan for himself, and a suite in the convent of the Ascension for his mother, but it was impossible to restore the Golden Palace and terem of the Tsaritsa Irene, for there was no money, carpenters were lacking, the buildings roofless, and the stairs, corridors, doors, windows, and all furnishings were no longer in existence; it would be necessary to rebuild, and time pressed. Michael was not satisfied; the palaces must{113} be made fit for habitation, if materials were lacking those of other buildings must be used, and as for the apartments in the convent, “it will not suit my mother to occupy them.” Ultimately the Tsar’s behests were executed, and in May he made his state entry, more than two months after his election to the throne.

Both at home and abroad his position was regarded as precarious. Zarutski, who had with him Marina Mniszek, the widow of the false Dmitri, and her son, held Kazan and ruled the districts bordering the Volga. He was ultimately captured, and executed in Moscow. Marina and her son were also taken; according to native writers she “died in prison of chagrin”; according to foreigners in Russia at that time, she and her son were thrust beneath the ice on the river Oka. Sweeden continued the war, and would not relinquish her claim to the throne. It terminated after Gustavus Adolphus was repulsed at Pskov, and failed to take Narva. A Swedish officer states that “from their youth up, the Muscovites are inured to continuous labour and much fasting, and can make shift long with meal, salt and water only. They hold it to be a deadly and unpardonable sin to surrender a fortress, and prefer to die happily for their Tsar and country.” The Swedes contemplated a long siege, but by the good offices of the Dutch and English an armistice of three months was agreed to, and in 1617 a lasting peace concluded on terms disadvantageous to Russia. An army of Poles was marching upon Moscow, when it was re-inforced by Ronashevich-Salidachni at the head of 20,000 Cossacks; Michael repulsed their attack on Moscow, but, anxious to secure his father’s release, agreed to relinquish Smolensk, so a peace to endure fourteen years and six months was thereupon made. Immediately after his coronation the Tsar sent envoys to England, Germany and the Netherlands, seeking their{114} assistance in securing peace. The English promised a loan of £100,000 and paid 16,000 roubles only towards it; but King James prevented Scots taking service in Poland against Russia, and the Tsar obtained his munitions of war from the English factory at Archangel. In such fashion was a respite obtained, so that undivided attention might be given to establishing good order within the Tsar’s Empire. Surely no ruler started with greater disadvantages than did Michael. To the inexperience of youth must be added a lack of competent advisers. The old hereditary aristocracy had for the most part disappeared; those members who survived had taken sides with either the second impostor or the Poles, and in them he dared not trust. There remained only appointed military and civil officers, boyards, whose titles were not hereditary, secretaries, and gentlemen of the council. In Russia, where there was no general instruction and little learning, all was left to a governing caste, composed of men who, from their noble birth, had the entrée to the court and were conversant with all affairs of state; it was this “caste” Michael lacked. The men, able men, who were not accustomed to rule, did not seek responsible posts. Even Pojarski, the saviour of the country, said to Vasili Galitzin, “If we had found such a leader as you, Vasili Vasilievich, all the country would have at once flocked to you, and it would not have devolved upon me to direct so onerous a task.” The times of trouble had forced simple citizens to occupy positions of importance; such were the butcher Cosma Minin, Zarutski, Troubetskoi, Liapunov and Fedka Andronov. To none of the humble born leaders were the degenerate nobles prepared to grant precedence or even equality; whilst on the other hand, affairs of state could no longer be entrusted to those who had betrayed the country, or by past conduct,{115} proved themselves incapable. Squabbles for precedence at once recommenced.

When Dmitri Mikhailovich Pojarksi, the great liberator, was created a boyard, one Gabriel Pushkin threw himself at the Tsar’s feet and pleaded that the thing might not be, for “his own family was in no way inferior to that of Pojarski,” who, as boyard, would be appointed a higher place than he himself occupied at court. These nobles could not, or would not, understand that services to the state should be considered. Birth alone was to count, for these nobles to remain side by side with a person of inferior birth was considered an ignominy to which death itself was preferable. On the occasion of the Tsar’s coronation, there were several disputes for priority of place, notwithstanding that the Tsar had ordered that during the ceremonies all ranks were to be discarded. Before the coronation, in the palace of the Golden Seal Prince Tretiakov, the secretary, nominated those who were to bear the regalia. “Prince Mstislavski will throw the golden coins upon the Tsar; the new boyard, Ivan Nikitich Romanof, will carry the crown of Monomachus; Prince Dmitri Troubetskoi, the sceptre; the new boyard, Prince Pojarski, the ‘globe!’ ” Troubetskoi took offence that he had to cede his place to a Romanof, albeit a relative of his sovereign. The Tsar answered, “It may be that your rank is higher than that of Ivan, but he is my uncle, and you must give place to him at a time when the order of rank is not to be observed.” This appeased Troubetskoi, but later, one Boris Likof, invited to the table of the Tsar, would not cede his place until the Tsar personally intervened. On the next occasion he failed to attend, although the Tsar twice sent for him. Each time he sent the same answer, “I am ready to yield my life on the scaffold, but allow a Romanof to take precedence{116} of a Likof I will not!” Sometimes these quarrels embarrassed the Tsar on occasions of state, as when, at the reception of the Persian envoys, his body-guard disappeared. One hid himself away so quickly that he could not be found; another feigned indisposition; another was dragged into the presence coupled with Prince Romodanovski; Cherchugov complained of Romodanovski, and Prince Pojarski also took offence, and upbraided Cherchugov for dishonouring his rank by his alliance with Romodanovski. The Tsar ordered Cherchugov to be beaten, and determined to avoid such annoyances in future by choosing his bodyguard from among the lesser nobles, who could not plead the privileges of their ancestors. When Telepnef and Larionof were appointed, one at once took offence and pointed out to the Tsar that he was a freeman of Moscow, whereas the other was but a secretary! Such were the earlier troubles of the boy-Tsar, who longed for the advice of his father in such matters of trifling importance; he, on his return to Moscow, ruled the court with commanding adroitness.

This matter of precedence came to the front again in the next reign, when Alexis settled it once and for all. Hereditary rank was based upon the achievements of one’s ancestors, which, with the titles and honours of the successful, were enumerated in the manuscript-books treasured by each family. In practice no noble would accept an office inferior to that occupied by his illustrious forefathers. Often incapable as military leaders, this meant ruin to the state. Alexis, after sufficient experience of the disasters the system entailed, proposed the abolition of hereditary rank, and petitioned the Church to pronounce upon his finding that “precedence was an institution invented by the devil, for the purpose of destroying Christian love and of increasing the hatred of brother for brother.” In due course the Patriarch declared that in the opinion of the Church,{117} “precedence was a system opposed to God, and intended to cause confusion and hatred.” Thereupon the nobles were commanded to deliver up their “golden books of honour and great deeds,” and the records were burned, so that henceforth precedence depended upon court and military rank alone.




When Michael ascended the throne the two most powerful factions of the nobility were those headed respectively by the Miloslavksis and the Soltikovs, between whom no love was lost. To obtain greater influence and power they intrigued for the marriage of the Tsar. Michael’s choice was one Marie Kholopov, to whom he was betrothed. Before marriage she was drugged at the instigation of the Soltikovs, and her illness represented as incurable. She, and all her relatives, were then banished to Siberia for “attempting to deceive the Tsar,” and remained in exile seven years, when the Patriarch discovered the intrigue. This resulted in the fall of the Soltikovs from power, and the return of the Khlopovs to Nijni-Novgorod. Michael next chose Marie Dolgoruki, but she died a few months after marriage, and twelve months later, Michael was urged to marry again. The earlier method of selecting a bride was resorted to upon this occasion, and the Tsar’s intention made known throughout the empire. According to S. W. Glinka what took place is as follows:—

“On the morrow the Tsar was to make known publicly whom he had chosen as his bride. That evening the carriages of the palace brought to his residence the marriageable daughters of all the noble and illustrious families who had gathered in Moscow for this election. These young ladies of high degree all wore the vestments provided by the Tsar, and were accompanied by their mothers, or a near relative. In turn they were presented to the Tsar’s mother, Martha Ivanovna, and the mothers and relatives then returned to their homes; the young ladies, attended by their maids remained, and donned the nightdresses they had brought with them. The chambers to which they were appointed contained two rows of beds. Towards midnight, the Tsar, accompanied by his mother, went in to examine the candidates. The scrutiny finished, he returned to his own apartments, and his mother anxiously inquired upon whom his choice had fallen. To her surprise, Michael indicated the maid of one of the ladies. Martha Ivanovna could not believe her ears. She earnestly begged her{119} son to reflect, before offending the pride and dignity of the princes, nobles and boyards by such a choice. Then she asked a definite answer, for, before the sun rose, it would have to be declared officially, before the Patriarch and the clergy assembled in the cathedral of the Assumption for that purpose. Michael answered, ‘I have obeyed you and the will of God in accepting the crown. Never have I dared to act contrary to your wishes. You have always been my counsellor and my support: I will do as you wish but ... but ... never ... never ... will I choose another; nor love anyone else. It is my fate to be unhappy! I lost my wife a few months after my marriage—now, to-day, I am deprived of the bride of my choice. She is of humble birth; perhaps she is poor; may be, unhappy. But I also have suffered—I too have been persecuted!’ and the Tsar burst into tears. Martha Ivanovna could not resist this appeal. ‘My son, my son!’ she cried, ‘have I not suffered as well? My husband languishing in exile; the murderous swords of cruel enemies directed towards you! Heaven has protected you, has chosen you to rule this realm. May the will of God be done! I will not thwart your desire. Take for wife the one whom you have chosen.’

“Thereupon Martha Ivanovna at once sought out what she could respecting the young girl her son had noticed. She was informed that her name was Eudoxia, the daughter of Lucian Stephanovich Striechnef, a poor gentleman of Mojaisk, and herself a distant relative of the lady in whose service she was. Just as her mistress was haughty, proud and overbearing, so was the maid docile and modest. Michael himself had had to bear oppression. Ill-treatment he hated. He felt for Eudoxia, and chose her because she was ill-used.

“Then Eudoxia was led into the Tsar’s apartments, was richly clothed, and presented with jewels. Martha Ivanovna called her daughter, and the Tsar himself called God to witness that she was his bride. The Patriarch, Philaret, gave his blessing to his son, both as father and as head of the church. The clergy prayed that the pride of the wicked might be humbled and the virtuous protected. The citizens were pleased and shouted ‘Long live Michael and Eudoxia!’ and there was general rejoicing. Then the daughters of the princes, and nobles, and boyards, were presented to Eudoxia and made their homage. In her confusion and modesty she would not allow them to kiss her hand, but cordially embraced each maid. When it came to the turn of her own relation, the frightened girl threw herself at the feet of Eudoxia and begged for mercy and pardon. Eudoxia bent down and said, ‘You also forgive{120} me! it in any way I have offended.’ Forthwith the lovers were formally betrothed, and, as all the world knows, Michael married Eudoxia, and they lived happy ever afterwards.”

Another story, quite as like a fairy tale as this is, concerns itself with Eudoxia’s father, whom the ambassadors of the Tsar found at the plough. Lucian was not surprised at his daughter’s good fortune; he saw in it only the hand of Providence. When he forsook his thatched cottage for a suite in the palace, he carried away with him his old clothes and other things, which he hung on the wall of his new apartment, and each morning uncovered them that he might not forget his origin, and be mindful of the workers and the poor. He lived for many years within the Kremlin, saw Eudoxia’s son, Alexis, upon the throne, and found himself an honoured member of his own grandson’s household, and surrounded by his daughter’s numerous royal grandchildren.

The next occasion that offered for the intrigues of those who sought court influence through a matrimonial alliance was in 1647 when Alexis, the son of Michael and Eudoxia, resolved to marry. Of the two hundred noble maids assembled for his selection he chose Euphemia Vsevolojski, who had enemies. These arranged their plans with her maids-of-honour. When she was attired in the royal robes, her attendants twisted her hair so tightly that she swooned in the Tsar’s presence, and the Court physician declared her to be epileptic. She and her family were thereupon banished to far away Tiumen in Siberia. The next year Alexis married Marie Ilyinichna Miloslavski, who bore him thirteen children, and died in childbed in 1669. In his next marriage Alexis observed the letter of the customary proceeding but disregarded its spirit. At that time his chief counsellor was Artemon Sergievich Matviev, a man who had commanded a foreign regiment{121} in the wars and married Mary Hamilton, one of a Scotch family resident in Moscow. Matviev had no daughter, but living with the family was Natalia Naryshkin, the daughter of Cyril Naryshkin, whose brother Theodore had married a Hamilton, the niece of Matviev’s wife. Matviev made his house as attractive as he could to the Tsar, giving western entertainments, even to the performance of comedies and tragedies in his private theatre. Western manners prevailed among them; his wife dressed in what were called “German” clothes, and both she and her ward appeared at table although strangers might be present. When the Tsar visited Matviev, Natalia, a tall, shapely brunette, herself served him with vodka and zakuska. One day the Tsar informed Matviev that he would find a husband for this charming ward; and, when the nobles were ordered to assemble their daughters, Natalia also received a command to attend at the palace. It was all prearranged, but to allay suspicion a second assembly was convened, and a final one after an interval of three weeks. When it became known that Natalia had been chosen, there was loud outcry, and anonymous letters reached the Tsar. These accused Matviev of sorcery and other dark crimes, and alleged misdemeanour on the part of Natalia. There was the usual investigation; the customary torture; and postponement of the marriage for nine months. On January the 22nd 1671 the ceremony was performed with great pomp, and Matviev that day appointed a member of the State Council as recompense “for the sufferings he had undergone in connection with the affair.” Sixteen months later—May 30th 1672—Peter the Great was born.

Natalia Naryshkin was of Tartar descent, but her training was western, and as tsaritsa she was able to free some of the “twenty-seven locks” with which the “terem” was guarded. With the accession of{122}



the Romanofs there was a strong reaction from the licence of the days of the impostors, a reaction which the all powerful Philaret as patriarch did his utmost to foster. Natalia was required to conform to the rules made on behalf of former tsaritsas, but she succeeded in going openly to church with her husband,{123} saw plays through a latticed window, and the state reception of foreign ambassadors from a screened loge. In so short a time she accomplished much, but in 1676 her husband died, and she retired with her children to a palace near the foreign suburb of Moscow, and there the young prince, Peter, was raised amid rough surroundings, for the Matvievs were exiled and Natalia barely tolerated so near the Kremlin.

Theodore II. was most scholarly of the early Tsars; he was educated by Polish teachers, and, during his short reign the first public schools in Moscow were founded under his patronage. He separated the military from the civil departments; in military matters abolished precedence, and so altered legal procedure as to bring justice within reach of the people. He built the episcopal Palace of the Monastery of St Cyril at the Krutitski Vorot, and was particularly active in adding to the beautiful churches of Moscow. To him is due that gem of Muscovite ecclesiastical architecture, the church of the Nativity and Flight, in the Mala Dmitrovka (v. page 181). With an eye for the picturesque, he laid out a pleasure-garden in the Kremlin and another on the river front by making a vaulted embankment. Further away the slopes towards the river were planted with ornamental trees; medicinal herbs were largely cultivated, and the first hot-houses appeared in Moscow. Private dwellings in the Kremlin were demolished to afford accomodation for public buildings, and particularly for homes for the aged and sick, for the Tsar resembled his father and grandfather in his care of those who had served him, and in well-doing he was tireless. He disliked pomp and ceremony, restricted the ordinary citizens of noble birth to two horses in their carriages, and reduced the number used by others on State occasions; from his ascent to the throne the court pageantry declined.{124}

In the seventeenth century almost the whole of the Kremlin was occupied with buildings appertaining either to the state or the superior clergy. The churches are still sufficiently in evidence, but such of the old dwellings as remain have to be approached through more recent buildings. The Granovitaia (Facetted) Palace of Ivan III. (1491) presents a façade to the Sobornia Ploshchad, but this in no way reveals its antiquity. The constant renewal of the exterior which is indispensable to preservation in the destructive climate of Moscow, to some extent accounts for this; and the “terem,” the outside of which may be viewed from the quadrangle on which stands the old church “Spass na Boru,” is equally disappointing in this particular. Even to see the interiors the visitors must pass through the Great Palace, with which these old dwellings are now incorporated. The site occupied by the eastern end of the Great Palace is that upon which, from the founding of Moscow, the residences of its rulers have been again and again erected, but they faced the east, not south. The wooden palaces of the early Romanofs have entirely disappeared; Peter the Great removed from Moscow whatever would serve to enrich his new capital, and allowed the old royal residences to decay. It is during the present century only that they have been restored to their earlier grandeur. The palace built by the Empress Elizabeth, and occupied by Napoleon, was destroyed by the fire of 1812.

The visitor will first procure a billet d’admission at the Chamberlain’s office in Commandant Street (see plan), turn to the left on leaving the building, and walking towards the south, at the end of the street pass under the Winter Garden which connects the Treasury with the Great Palace. He will then be


1. Nicholas Gate
2. Redeemer Gate
3. Secret Gate
4. Borovitski Gate
5. Trinity Gate
6. Belfry
7. Cathedral of the Assumption
8. " " Archangels
9. " " Annunciation
10. Granovitaya Palace
11. Grand Palace
12. Terem
13. St Saviours in the Wood
14. Ch. of the Holy Vestments
15. Ch. of St Saviour behind the Golden Gates 
16. Ch. of the Nativity of the Virgin
17. Ch. of St Lazarus
18. Ch. of the Resurrection
19. Ch. of St Catherine the Martyr
20. Ch. of the Apostles
21. The Synod
22. Ch. of John the Baptist
23. Ch. of the Annunciation
24. Ch. of Constantine and Helen
25. Chuduv Monastery
26. Convent of Ascension
27. Pleasure Palace
28. Treasury
29. Tsarevich’s Appartments
30. Place of the Boyards
31. Grand Entrance
32. Ch. of St Alexis
33. Cathedral Square
34. Tsar’s Square
35. Monument to Alexander II.
36. Alarm Bell
37. Tsarina’s Tower
38. Tower of Constantine and Helen
39. Oubliette
40. Water Tower
41. Ch. of St Michael
42. Ch. of Acsension
43. Ch. of the Miracles
44. Hall of Catherine II.
45. Ch. of St Catherine
46. Ch. of St Peter and Paul
47. Ch. of St Philip
48. Senate Square
49. State Court-yard
50. Arsenal Tower


in the State Courtyard; on the left a gateway communicates with the quadrangle in which is the old church “Spass na Boru;” the last door on the right is the public entrance to the Treasury. Traversing the courtyard and turning to the left he will reach the grand entrance of the Great Palace and enter there. Passing from the vestibule by the escalier d’honneur the Hall of St George will be reached. It contains sixteen allegorical groups commemorative of the conquests by Russia of Perm, Kazan, Siberia, Kamchatka, Tartary, the Caucasus, etc. The military order of St George was founded by the Empress Catherine II. in 1769, but the effigy of St George, on his white horse, slaying the Dragon, as already mentioned is of Norse origin and was the device used by Yaroslaf the Great in the eleventh century and definitely adopted as the arms of the principality of Moscow by Dmitri after his victory over the Tartars at Kulikova (1380); it figured on the coins, and April 23 (old style) this Saint’s day, is observed throughout Russia. The names inscribed on the wall are those of the individuals admitted to the order, and of the regiments likewise decorated; in short, this Hall of St George Pobiedonosets (the Conqueror) is the Russian Valhalla. The adjoining Hall of Alexander Nevski, is remarkable apart from its richness and beauty, for the six pictures by Müller illustrating the chief events in the life of the Saint: beyond is the Throne room—Griffins, the device of the Romanofs, conspicuous in the decorations—and next the Hall of St Catherine, the state room of the Tsaritsa. The older palaces will be reached directly from the Hall of St Vladimir, or, after passing through the personal apartments of the Tsar, by the Holy Corridor, so named because there the clergy attend to conduct the Tsar to state services in the Cathedrals. It dates from the reign of Ivan III. (15th cent.) and{126} is, in short, a continuation of that terrace which fronts the eastern side of the Great Palace, and has its counterpart in the principal approach to every old-fashioned Russian house. The Krasnœ Kriltso—how hateful the vulgar, and absolutely incorrect, translation, “Red Steps!”—is simply the state entrance to the reception rooms, in contradistinction to the Postyelnœ Kriltso (Back stairs) or private entrance, communicating with the personal apartments of the sovereign, or boyard. To comprehend the importance of the Terem rightly, it must be remembered that actually the state apartments of the sovereign were where the Great Palace now is, and that this corridor served both as a rendezvous for courtiers and the Tsar’s way of communication from his private to his official suites. Another staircase, to which the boyards had not access, led directly from the inner court, near the Postyelnœ Kriltso, to the Terem. The state suite in the seventeenth century comprised: an audience chamber (the middle Golden Palace); a smaller Golden Palace, once the audience chamber of the Tsaritsa; the Stolovia Izba, or saloon for fêtes; the Krestavia, for the celebration of solemn ceremonies by the clergy and household; the Otvietna Palace, where illustrious visitors were entertained; and the Higher Golden Palace, a council chamber for the consideration of grave questions of state. For most of these purposes the buildings still in existence have served temporarily at different periods.




Descending seven steps from this corridor, the Palace of the Tsaritsa Irene, or lesser Golden Palace, is entered. Sneguirev is of opinion that this was originally the apartment of the Archbishop. The Slavonic inscription over the portal is merely to the effect that the decorations were made by order of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich, and restored on the coronation of the Emperor Paul. It was here that in 1653 the Tsaritsa Marie Ilyinichna received the Tsaritsa of Georgia, and later the Tsaritsa Natalia Kyrilevna received the homage of the Princes of Kasimof and Siberia. On the vaulted roof are representations of Olga’s journey to Constantinople, Helena obtaining the true cross, the Council convened by the Emperor Theophilus the Iconoclast, and portraits of the Tsaritsas, Irene, Theodora, Sophia, and Olga. A vaulted corridor leads to an entrance from the square behind the Uspenski Sobor. It is called the “Passage of the Patriarchs” from the seven portraits of the Russian Patriarchs which adorn the walls.

Almost upon a level with the Holy Corridor is the entrance to the Old Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, immediately below which is the Chapel of the Resurrection of St Lazarus (see page 45), the oldest existing building in Moscow. It is only an obscure crypt, but in one of the round pillars, facing the ikonastas is a niche which probably served as the loge of the reigning prince. The entrance with an old inscription was but recently discovered. The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, dates from 1393, when the Tsaritsa Eudoxia, wife of Dmitri Donskoi, erected the first structure on the side of the older Church of St Lazarus. It was destroyed by lightning in 1414, burned in 1473, fell in 1480, and in 1514 was rebuilt by Vasili Ivanovich, and probably again reconstructed early in the seventeenth century. It then became one of the churches of the palace, and has remained the{128} particular church of the Tsaritsas. The old stoves are of an ancient Russian model; according to tradition the Tsaritisas in bygone days were placed upon one of these stoves during their confinements. The ikonostas was injured in 1812, but has been restored and some of the ikons are richly decorated with rubies and other gems of great value.

Above the lesser Golden Palace is a chapel of small dimensions, known commonly as the “Cathedral of Our Saviour behind the Golden Gates,” actually dedicated to “Our Saviour on High” (Verkhospasski); its other name is due to the fact that the entrance to it is on the far, or private, side of the gilt wicket that barred the entrance to the Terem. It was built in 1635 by the Bajenko Ogurtsev, a Russian architect employed by the Tsar Michael, and was restored by his grandson, Theodore II., and many times subsequently. In the seventeenth century it was the private chapel of the sovereigns. In it the sons of Alexis were baptised; here it was that in times of danger, as during the revolt of the Strelsti (see ch. x. and p. 130) the royal princes sought refuge, and from here Ivan Naryshkin went to his murder by the Strelsti who were clamouring for his head. The church is closed by three doors all modelled after the “gilt wicket”; it possesses a magnificent ikonostas of chiselled silver, the gift of the Countess Soltikov, which marvellously escaped the plunderers of 1812. Its ikons include one of the Saviour, “not made with hands” (v. chapter ix. p. 182), said to have been brought to Moscow in 1472 by Sophia Paleologus, and one of Lupin, the centurion, the patron saint of the Romanofs. There is also an old ikonastas in the adjoining chapel of St John the Baptist. On the north side of the Verkhospasski Church, also on this third storey, is the Seventeenth Century Church of the Resurrection, on the threshold{129} of which, if tradition may be believed, Athanasius Naryshkin was struck down by the Streltsi in 1682. It is lighter than ordinary Russian Churches, lofty, with an ogival vaulted roof and almost entirely covered with frescoes. The western door has representations of the eight Sybils. The mediæval incense-burner suspended in the centre is of foreign, probably Dutch, origin, and apart from its own attractiveness serves well to contrast the great differences in Western and Russian handicraft, for the ikonostas has some excellent relief work. The paintings at the east-end are on a gold ground, at one period a prevalent fashion with Russian ikon painters. The brilliant colouring, the lavish use of gold and silver, and the bright illumination, so unusual in Russian churches, together make this royal chapel one of the most interesting of those in the Kremlin. It was from the corridor leading to this church that the first “Dmitri” is said to have been thrown; the window, which had been blocked up, will be pointed out to the visitor before entering the Chapel of the Crucifixion, which is over this corridor and on the same level as the fourth storey of the Terem. The interior of this chapel is very gloomy; the floor of black and white marble may assist in its recognition. Its most interesting feature is the ikonostas of embroidery, the work of the Tsaritsas and their daughters. The faces of the saints on the ikons are painted upon canvas, and the vestments instead of metal are of worked silk and other tissues. At the entrance is the private oratory of the Tsar Alexis, and amongst other things which will be pointed out as having some connection with the younger members of this Tsar’s family, is the spot upon which he at one time erected a “Golgotha”; the cross is of cedar, pine and cypress, contributed by three princes. This church was built in 1679 and communicates with the “Church of the Holy Vestments,”{130} by the door to the left of the entrance, a piece of work highly characteristic of Russian art at this period.

There are other churches and chapels which are technically private chapels of the palace, as are also the Cathedrals of the Assumption and Annunciation, but these are dealt with elsewhere. Those actually within, or communicating with the Terem, are those above enumerated, and in addition there is the old Chapel of St John the Baptist “in the wood,” now removed to the second floor of the tower over the Borovitski Gate.

The palaces and chapels of the Terem with their many means of communication afforded a secure hiding place, and means of escape would usually be found by reaching one of the churches with their treasuries and subterranean vaults. In the early times it was a capital offence to be found behind the Golden Gate, but two Chamberlains who accidentally encountered the Tsaritsa Natalia in one of the corridors were merely dismissed from office for a single day and reinstated; life was more free and easy in the days of Theodore than ever before in Moscow. The faction intrigues and riots that followed the succession to the throne of his brother Ivan and half-brother Peter were chiefly the result of the unjust treatment of the Streltsi. What took place at the palace is soon stated. Matviev had been recalled; the Naryshkins and Miloslavskis, the relatives of the first and second wives of the late Tsar Alexis, were opposed to each other; the son of each wife sat on the throne; Peter, the younger, had his mother to protect him; Ivan, the elder, his sister Sophia. It was too good an opportunity for deciding the supremacy of the Miloslavskis, and they having caused it to be reported that Ivan’s life was in jeopardy, the Streltsi advanced to the Kremlin crying “Death to those who oppose royalty! Death to all traitors!” Before the gates could be closed they were in the Kremlin, and with pikes, halberds, and partisans thronging the state entrance and the square of the palace itself. They wished to be sure that both Tsars were well: they wanted the lives of the Matvievs and Naryshkins if Ivan was not. Matviev momentarily saved the situation. He went with Natalia, who led the Tsars one by each hand out on to the terrace before the infuriated mob. “By God’s mercy both are well as you see,” he said, and added words{131} that soothed the mob, but all too soon he retired following Natalia into the palace. Dolgorooki, the head of the Streltsi, then turned to the rioters and ordered them to be gone. He irritated them by his address; some seized him and threw him over the balustrade, and those below caught him on their pikes. Another troop, partisans of Sophia, were searching for Matviev, dragged him from the presence of the ex-Tsaritsa and near Blagovieshchenski Sobor he too was thrown on to the pikes of the Streltsi in the square below, and they were not content merely with killing now, but cut his body in morsels. Three days later, a faithful black servant ventured forth and collected the remains for burial. The rioters having now committed two crimes reverted to their original determination to settle with those opposed to Ivan. They wished particularly for the uncles of Peter, Ivan and Athanasius Naryshkin—they mistook Soltikov for him, and the man, too frightened even to pronounce his own name, was slain. A dwarf of the Tsaritsa’s led the rioters to the hiding place of Athanasius—the altar of one of the churches, and they killed him where they found him, and threw the body out into the square. The mutiny lasted several days: the Streltsi could not find Ivan Naryshkin or Van Gaden the doctor. The third day they again went to the palace and demanded that Ivan should be given up to them. Natalia pleaded for the life of her brother, the boyards fearing for their own lives besought her to give him up, and at last she consented. He made his last confession, and, attended by Natalia and Sophia, carried the ikon of the virgin before him. Hurried by the impatient boyards he courageously left the chapel, and crossing the threshold of the Golden Gates was at once seized by the Streltsi waiting him and dragged to torture and execution, and this satisfied the rioters for the time.

Richly carved doors, of a type truly Muscovite and mediæval, lead from the Holy Corridor to the larger Golden Hall of the Granovitaia Palace. This building is the work of two Italians, Marco Ruffo, and Pietro Antonio, at the close of the fifteenth century, and has its name of “Facetted” Palace from the trimming of the stone blocks of the external walls to imitate some earlier ornate wooden building. The large Hall is the old throne room of the Tsars Vasili, Ivan “Groznoi” and{132} Boris Godunov. The old custom of a state banquet on the day of the coronation is still observed. On this occasion, as in olden times, the Tsar is seated at a table with such other reigning sovereigns as may be present; his near relations are by etiquette still excluded from the room, and view the ceremony from the small window near the ceiling, immediately opposite the “Krasnœ Ugol” or throne. Around the central pillar which supports the vaulted roof, the “mountain” is placed on which the Imperial plate is displayed on state occasions, just as it was in the days of Herberstein, Jenkinson, and the early ambassadors to the Muscovite Court. Here, too, Ivan “Groznoi” received the Khan’s emissaries and the rusty knife his victorious enemy had sent him that he might cut his own throat; here for three days he regaled his companions after the fall of Kazan: here Boris Godunov entertained the Danish Prince, suitor for the hand of the Tsarevna Xenia; here, in 1653, Alexis received the submission of Bogdan Khmelnitski and the cession of Little Russia. Peter I. also celebrated herein his victory over Charles XII. at Poltava, and in 1767, Catherine II. confided to the delegates the celebrated “Nakaz” for the compilation of the new code of law. Its present condition closely resembles its primitive aspect, traces of Peter the Great’s vandalism having been removed; the walls uncovered; the paintings restored; the windows refitted; and older furnishings substituted for the tapestry and decorations of Peter and his successors. The paintings, as the inscription states, were made in 1882 by two “brothers Bieloosov, ikon painters, peasants of the village of Palekha.” Chancellor and his companions when ushered into the Golden Palace encountered Ivan the Terrible. “The Russian Tsar, sitting on a lofty couch, arrayed in robes of silver, and now wearing a different diadem. In the{133} middle of the room stood a huge abacus with a square pedestal, surmounted with a succession of orbicular tiers, which regularly tapered towards the culminating point, and was adorned with such profusion of plate and costly rarities that it was almost overburdened with the great weight of them, and the greater part were of the choicest gold. Four vases, conspicuous by their size, served specially to enhance the splendour of the other golden vessels, for they were nearly five feet in height. Four tables, placed separately on each side of the hall and raised to the height of three steps above the floor, were bespread with the very finest napery and attended by a numerous company.” One thing which surprised Chancellor was the great reverence shown the Tsar when he spoke, by the whole company “rising simultaneously and bending low their bodies with a sort of gesture of adoration, silently resume their seats.”

The Terem is a building of five storeys, each higher one smaller than any below and the topmost but a single room, with a porch leading to the flat roof from which, before blocked by the Great Palace, a splendid view was obtainable. The ground floor was built early in the sixteenth century, but serves now for storerooms only, and the one above, reached by a door under the staircase, consists of a private suite formerly the workrooms of the palace and now utilised for the preservation of old charters. The staircase with carved stone steps is separated from the palace by the “gilt-wicket” which formerly divided the private from the state and court rooms of the palace. It is of a quite ordinary design when compared with the much more elaborate wrought metal-work found elsewhere in the palaces and churches of the Kremlin. The first room reached was originally the “vestibule,” but serves now as a breakfast-room; the cases contain the old seals of the Kingdom; the walls and vaulted roof covered with{134} pictures and the stove of fine old glazed Russian tiles, a variety of faience the secret of whose manufacture has been lost. Near to this room is the Council Chamber, and, further, what originally served as the private room of the Tsars, but was latterly used as a throne room. In the bronze casket is the deed of election which appointed Mikhail Theodorovich to the throne. In the “Krasnœ Ugol,” or “Grand Corner,” is the seat of the Tsar Alexis with a carpet before it, the handiwork of his daughters. The window adjoining is that from which Dmitri, and other rulers, lowered the basket for the petitions of all and sundry who wished directly to communicate with the Tsar. Adjoining this room is a bedroom, once occupied by the unfortunate Tsarevich Alexis Petrovich. The oratory has two ikons which formerly belonged to the Tsar Alexis, as did also the cross. The belvedere reached by either of two separate staircases, was built by the Tsar Michael for the accommodation of his children, and in later reigns may have been used as a council chamber for the “duma” of the boyards. The Tsars Alexis and Theodore II. were brought up in the Terem; Peter the Great occupied it only occasionally, chiefly before his travels abroad, and his son Alexis was its last regal inmate.

“The early Romanofs practically shared their rule with the Patriarch, and church services and pageants entered largely into their every day life. The Tsar would be awakened at about 4 A.M. and at once enter his oratory for private devotion; a quarter of an hour later he prayed before the ikon of the saint whose day it might be, and then sent one of his attendants to inquire as to the health of the Tsaritsa and, later, might himself attend her in the vestibule and accompany her to matins in one of the chapels of the palace. Boyards and others awaited his return for instructions in matters of state, and at nine o’clock the Tsar attended high mass either in one of the churches or cathedrals of the Kremlin, or upon fête days wherever the ceremony was necessarily performed. Mass






lasted about two hours, and afterwards the sovereign gave private audience to ministers until midday, when he took his first repast, ordinarily frugal to scantiness and eaten alone. During Lent the Tsar Alexis made but three meals each week, and ate fish but twice, on fast days taking only a morsel of black bread and a pickled mushroom; he drank either kvas or small beer: his devotions occupied five hours of each day, and often he prostrated himself more than a thousand times daily.

“Fast day or not the Tsar’s table was always well supplied, but of the seventy or more dishes usually served the greater part were presented to his courtiers and officers. After the midday repast, the sovereign invariably retired for a short sleep, arising for vespers at about three o’clock, when he was always attended by the court. Occasionally state business was transacted after evening service, but generally the remainder of the day was spent in recreations; theatricals, music and chess were chief among these. Court pilgrims were the Muscovite equivalent of the wandering minstrels of the British courts. The Tsar Alexis particularly was interested in the recitals of ‘experienced’ men who had travelled in distant parts of his kingdom and liked to hear often the recollections of the grey-beards who had known the Moscow of the ‘troublous times.’ If their stories failed, resource was had to a reading of the chronicles, ecclesiastical and profane. The pensioners were housed in the Kremlin near the royal palace, and were under the immediate protection of the Tsar, who himself not frequently followed some centenarian to the specially appointed burial place in the Bogo-yavlenni Monastyr.

“The Tsaritsas for the most part occupied themselves with their own devotions and the direction of the work rooms of the palace; very occasionally with their children they accompanied the Tsar to the Krasnœ Kriltso to be ‘beholden of the people.’ Sometimes they witnessed state ceremonies from a secluded corner of the throne room, and in the evening witnessed the amusements in the Potieshni Dvorets; were diverted by the tricks of mountebanks and jugglers; listened to songs, or watched the special dancers engaged for their amusement. Their journeys abroad were restricted to visiting the convents and churches, pilgrimages to the Troitsa Monastery, or the season’s change to a suburban palace. Although they attended High Mass in the cathedrals, they were seldom seen by the public, being always surrounded by a guard of chamber-women who carried ecrans and, arranging themselves before the Tsaritsa, screened her from the eyes of{138} the curious. Doubtless the strict etiquette was departed from in the semi-state of the summer palaces at Kolomenskœ and Preobrajenskœ, and certainly the Tsaritsa Natalia failed in various ways to observe the strict seclusion of the Terem. A state procession in the days of Alexis was a wonderful pageant: on his visit to the Novo Devichi Convent he was preceded by 600 horsemen, three abreast, all dressed in cloth of gold. Grooms led the twenty-five white stallions harnessed to a coach draped with scarlet and gold: a guard of honour surrounded it; the Tsar followed in a smaller coach drawn by six white horses; boyards in state robes were his escort. Petitioners thronged the procession and their written requests were deposited in a special box carried behind the Tsar. The Tsarevich, with a long cortege, followed. The Tsaritsa was preceded by forty grooms with magnificent steeds, and her own coach drawn by ten white horses, and behind her the Tsarevna in a similar carriage drawn by eight horses. The waiting-women, to the number of twenty or more, rode astride white horses; they wore scarlet robes, white hats with yellow ribbons and long feathers; white veils hid part of their faces; top boots of bright yellow completed their costume. The guard consisted of 300 of the Streltsi with their showiest weapons, and behind them came pensioners, boyards and officers of the court.”—Zabielin.

The young Prince Peter had a small state coach to himself; it was drawn by small white ponies, and he had as a special retinue a number of dwarfs. In the golden age of the three Romanofs Moscow thrived as never before and became beautiful beyond other cities. Alexis busied himself in erecting new and better buildings where fire destroyed the old, and his example was followed by the boyards, who commenced of their own accord to build churches or to enrich those existing, and were even so western and modern as to present bells. It was under Theodore that Moscow attained its zenith and became known as the city of churches—“Forty-forties” their number, the Russian equivalent of “seventy times seven,” derived from “sorokov,” an ecclesiastical division, and also a “great gross”; the number actually in existence{139} within the town limit is said to have been 1071. There were twenty-seven “Halls” within the Kremlin palaces; some twelve new courts of justice in the town; and eight royal residences in the suburbs. The boyard Dmitri Kaloshinim built a great church on the Devichi Pol-ye, and in addition to the academy in the Za-ikono-spasski Monastyr other schools were founded. The handicrafts of the west were generally practised, and many new trades learned and mastered, some 4300 foreigners being employed in Moscow in the manufacturing industries and the instruction of the citizens. It was at this period that most of the beautiful glass, faience and metal work that enriches the sacristies was produced, and then that the finest ecclesiastical buildings were erected. Some of the choicest antiquities of the Treasury (Orujen-ia Palata) date from this period. The boyards during the siege of the Poles and themselves in the Kremlin turned much of the old plate stored there into money; the specimens of earlier date had been hidden away, or were in the treasures of churches outside the Kremlin. Among the most interesting antiquities here are:—

In the entrance Hall.—The old bell of the Guardians of Novgorod, recast in 1683; the alarm bell of the city of Moscow, recast in 1714 from the old bell of the town; two plates recording the execution of the Streltsi. The staircase has old German suits of mail, some trophies and two pictures, one representing the battle of Dmitri Donskoi against the Tartars at Kulikovo, and the other the baptism of Vladimir the Great.

Room 1: Armoury.—Russian armour of the seventeenth century, notably a mounted model of the Voievode of the period; on the left of the entrance a Russian soldier of the same, also the helmet of the hero Mstislavski, and the helmet of the Tsar Mikhail Theodorovich.

Room 2: Weapons.—Chiefly fire-arms used in Russia from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century arranged chronologically, of which those in cases XVIII and XIX are the most interesting;{140} in the cases XVI and XVIII will be found the weapons of foreign manufacture, among them the sporting gun presented to the Tsar Mikhail in 1619 by Fabian Smith; against the wall are the guns the monks of St Sergius used to defend the monastery at Troitsa against the Poles in 1609; below these the saddle of Prince Pojarski. Among the standards around the pillars are the sacred colours carried by Dmitri at Kulikovo, of Ivan the Terrible against Kazan (No 59), of Alexis Mikhailovich against the Poles (No 24), of the Streltsi, of Peter the Great’s first regiment of marines (No 1), and the lion and unicorn with which Yermak conquered Siberia. The helmets of Kosma Minin, Prince Pojarski, of Nikita Romanof, Yaroslaf II., and Alexander Nevski.

Room 3: Trophies.—Modern.

Room 4: Regalia.—The twelfth century crown of Vladimir Monomachus; the sixteenth century crown of the Tsars of Kazan; that of Ivan Alexievich (1680) and of Mikhail Theodorovich, the Imperial crown, that of Georgia, globes, sceptres—note particularly the beautiful workmanship from the conquered kingdom of Georgia—and the orb reputed to have been presented by Basil and Constantine in 988, together with the golden chain collar and piece of the “true cross.” Among these insignia, most curious are the Barmi, metal collars worn at the coronation, of which one of the earliest has the eagle, lion, griffin, and unicorn—Byzantine symbols—and excellent coloured enamel, but said to have been remade by a Moscow goldsmith in the sixteenth century. The thrones include that of ivory brought to Russia in 1472 by Sophia Paleologus; Persian throne sent to Boris Godunov, in 1605, it is studded with more than 2000 gems; the double throne of the Tsars Ivan and Peter was made at Hamburg and is so constructed that the curtain at the back might screen the Tsarevna Sophia who used to station herself there either to watch or prompt her young brothers. In a casket is the code of the Tsar Alexis on sheets of parchment.

Room 5: Plate.—To the left on entering are the enamel ware, metal, wood, ivory, and glass, household plate of Russian manufacture in the seventeenth century of which the best are those of coloured enamel and niello. The loving cup presented by the patriarch Nikon to the Tsar Alexis; a ring of the unfortunate Eudoxia (wife of Peter I.) and a number of more or less uninteresting objects of that monarch’s period; and a fine numismatic collection that will attract the enthusiast.

Ground Floor: Carriages and Harness.—The state chariot sent to Boris Godunov by Queen Elizabeth, carriages with mica{141} windows, closed carriages of the Tsaritsas, the miniature conveyance of the young prince Peter, some relics of Napoleon; portraits of the sovereigns of Russia, and the model of the palace with which Catherine II. intended to cover the Kremlin; of the old palace at Kolomenskœ. There also is the only portrait of Maria Mniszek, and a picture representing her marriage with the false Dmitri.

Golden Moscow extended far beyond the Kremlin; one of its most characteristic corners is the Vosskresenski Vorot, where stands the little chapel sacred to the Iberian Mother of God, the exact copy of a most venerable ikon, brought in 1648 from Mount Athos, for which this chapel was erected by the Tsar Alexis. The picture shows a scratch on the right cheek, the work of an infidel, who was converted by seeing the blood that instantly exuded from the wound. The adornments are a brilliant crown, with a veil of pearls, a large gem on the brow, another on the shoulder; gold brocade with enamelled plaques representing angels’ heads, and the usual lavish decoration of the vestments, complete this unusual ikon, which is probably the most venerated of any in Moscow. The chapel is exceedingly rich and always surrounded by worshippers; thirteen silver chandeliers with tapers are always burning before the ikonostas, and to this day the Tsar on visiting Moscow dismounts at this chapel before entering the Kremlin. The architecture of the wall and gate is a modification of the Russian style of the 16th century as influenced by the purely utilitarian or military style of Podolia and north-east Germany, but the spires that crown the old square towers are of a later date and are probably due to the love of the Tsar Alexis for the Gothic which he tried in vain to blend with the heavy low wooden models of early Russia. The buildings of this period are mostly characterised by the quaint mixture of Lombard and Gothic, but there is one fragment, the ruins of the archiepiscopal palace at{142} the Krutitski, which exhibits the more ornate style then considerably followed for “Halls,” in which the influence of Byzantium predominates. The Krutitski monastery was first established within the Kremlin, but many centuries ago was transferred to the suburbs near the Krasnœ Kholmski Bridge, where the remains of the seventeenth century “dwelling” of the metropolitan may now be seen serving as the gateway to the entrance of a barracks. It is fronted with glazed tiles of many colours, yellow and green are the most conspicuous, and of many shapes. The window casements are purely Byzantine, but the vaulted archways and the roof are as markedly Russian. Only its outer side has been left in its original state, with the quaint designs, particularly that of the “Busy Bee,” glaring from the gaudy tiles; the other side, that within the courtyard, is now covered with the usual distemper (v. p. 122).

Doubtless much of the fine work on other buildings that have survived the fires of the past two centuries is similarly hidden beneath plaster and many coatings of thick body colour, but it is unlikely that it will be discovered until the old buildings themselves are in course of demolition, so this one perfect example, which is but little known and seldom visited, may be regarded as the sole existing memorial of that school of Greeks and Byzantines which so powerfully influenced Muscovite construction during the reigns of Alexis and Theodore II.

The literary culture was derived from Poland, and is not remarkable for strength or beauty: Slavinietski confined himself to dogma; the many-sided Polotsi, artist, administrator, pedagogue and poet, wrote several volumes, and helped in the adaptation of old-world stories for dramatic representation. In addition to several plays such as “The Prodigal Son,” “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego” and “Esther,” which{143}





were performed within the walls of the Uspenski Cathedral, profane history afforded such themes as the “Siege of Troy” and “Alexander the Great” for the amusement of the court in the private hall. Native themes were not so general: “The Judgment of Chemiaki” was one; such plays as the “Good Genius,” “The Mirror of Justice,” appear to have been derived from the Arabs, and it is said that many themes from the Hindu “Panchatantra” were also utilised. Prince Galitzin spoke Latin as fluently as a German Professor; the tsarevna Sophia was his equal in that tongue; and the princess, so far from being satisfied with the routine of the terem, amused herself in writing a tragedy and a comedy in verse, both of which were performed in Moscow. There seems to be no doubt that great liberty was accorded her; but she, unfortunate in the choice of her advisers, became ambitious, and herself was the principal figure in one of the greatest of the real dramas Moscow has furnished. The “Tranquil” Tsar, as Alexis became to be called, amassed great wealth and amused himself in building a fleet for the Caspian Sea, which the water-brigand, Stenki Razin, the pirate of the Volga, promptly destroyed; and then Alexis, like Peter, played with toy boats on the ornamental lake he had made in the Kremlin. To him, much more truly than to Peter, do Karamzin’s lines apply:—

“Russia had a noble Tsar,
Sovereign honoured wide and far:
He a father’s love enjoyed,
He a father’s power employed,
And sought his children’s bliss
And their happiness was his.”

He constructed much of the old Moscow still visible; not a church or a monastery of earlier date but he rebuilt, extended, or improved. Outside the{146} Kremlin, throughout the different zones of the town, beyond the last ramparts far away into the forests that skirted the suburbs, the marks of his work, churches, palaces and halls, testify to the immensity and riches of this Moscow of the Tsars; wherever one may go in or about the Moscow of to-day, that of the seventeenth century cannot be wholly escaped.{147}


The Kremlin

“The Kremlin is our Sanctuary and our Fortress; the source of our strength and the treasury of our Holy Faith.”


RUSSIANS very rightly regard the Kremlin as their Holy of Holies. All that Moscow is to Russia, the Kremlin is to Moscow. Nowhere else are so many and diverse relics grouped in so small a space; no place of its size is so rich in historical associations. It contains what is best worth seeing in Russia, it is what is best worth knowing. The people know this; know that—as their poet Medich tersely expresses its value—“Here it is that the great Russian eagle raised its eyrie and spread its immense protecting wings over an enormous empire.” To the antiquary, of beauty, to the tourist in search of distraction, the Kremlin is equally attractive. To see it to best advantage, all who visit Moscow for the first time should make the tour outside the walls before entering by any one of its five practicable gates; or, if the complete circuit—some two miles—cannot conveniently be made then, instead of entering by the nearest gate from the Kitai Gorod, let the hurried visitor at least drive across the Moskvoretski Bridge, along the quay on the south side of the river, and, returning by the Kammeny Most, make an entrance by either the Borovitski or the Troitski Gate.{148}

The exact position of the wall of white stone, built in the reign of Dmitri Donskoi (1367), is unknown; in all probability it was within the space at present enclosed. The wall of burnt tiles, erected during the reign of Ivan III., was the work of Aleviso Fioraventi, an Italian architect; but a few years later, between 1485 and 1492, the present wall was raised on the foundations of the old one, in part by Italian workmen, in part by native artisans. This wall, repaired from time to time, has escaped all the fires and disasters which wrought such havoc elsewhere in the Kremlin; but in its original state consisted of three distinct parapets, set back and rising above each other over the ditch, much as the tiers of the old towers still remaining. The wall, the inmost of the three, is of an exaggerated Italian style, the battlements unnecessarily deep. The towers and gates are various: some as the Spasski and Troitski, Gothic; some as the Borovitski and the Gun Towers, Russian; others bastard and nondescript. The Borovitski, Tainitski, and the similar smaller square pyramidal towers, are clearly copies of the older wooden erections on the earlier walls. The design is that of carpenters, not of masons. The green tiles are the original covering; the secret of making them has been lost. For centuries the wall was painted white, the present brick colour is an innovation.



An early writer states that “the wall is two miles about, and it hath sixteen gates and as many bulwarks.”{149} It is better to be precise. The length of the wall is 1 mile 700 yards, and it follows exactly the contour and windings of the hill, forming an irregular triangle; the thickness varies from 14 to 20 feet, the height from 30 to 70 feet. Throughout the entire length there is a rampart 9 feet wide and a low parapet on the inner side. This walk is paved with stone flags, and is reached from any of the towers and by special stairways within the wall.

The Borovitski Gate, surmounted by a tower 200 feet high (see page 299), preserves the name of the forest (Bor), with which the hill was long ago covered, its official name is the Prechistenka Gate; here all that remains of the old church of the Nativity of St John the Baptist is conserved in the chapel on the right of the gate in entering. In the second storey is the Royal Chapel of St John, one of the ten churches of the palace; in it a service is held once a year, to which worshippers are summoned by ringing the bells on the third storey of the tower. By this gate the Tsars left the Kremlin on other than state occasions, by it Napoleon’s troops entered.

Turning towards the river, the round tower at the corner of the wall was used at one time as a water reservoir for the palace gardens. Peter the Great had need of all the lead he possessed when building his new capital on the Neva, and the tower was then dismantled. It suffered from the mines exploded by the French in 1812; in 1856 it was used to store certain valuables removed from St Petersburg.

The first tower eastward from the “Chateau d’Eau” is the old granary, “Jitny Dvor,” now used by the priest of the adjoining church of the Annunciation. According to the legend on the wall at this point a vision of the Annunciation was seen; to commemorate which this church was built.{150}

The next tower is over the Tainitski or “Secret” Gate, a postern leading to the river, now practicable for pedestrians only. On this spot there has been a gate ever since the Kremlin was first enclosed; it was at one time used for the procession of January 6, on its way to the river, but “The Blessing of the Water” is now performed from the New Cathedral of our Saviour.

The wall then runs eastward as far as the round tower near the Moskvoretski Bridge, then turns north as far as the Spasski Gate. The corner comprised within this length of the wall and a straight line from the Tainitski to the Spasski Gate is full of story. The first two towers have now no name; the next is that of the Metropolitan Peter; after the corner tower, the first is that of Constantine and Helen, the next the Tsarina’s tower, then comes the small open tower in the wall itself and quite close to the Spasski Tower. It was at this corner, at first within the Kremlin itself, later outside on the Grand Place that the public executions took place. The wall here has prison cells within its vaulted arches, dungeons are beneath the towers, the corner tower once an oubliette, is still supposed to have the remains of the iron blades and spikes, upon which the prisoners fell, projecting from its walls; in the tower of Constantine and Helen were the instruments of torture used to extort confessions, and the church of the same name is that to which the accused were taken to make their oath before being led to the rack or cast into some secret dungeon. The Tsarina’s Tower, now a dwelling and storehouse, has no pleasant history; the small tower in which once hung the great bell brought from Novgorod is popularly believed to have been constructed by Ivan Groznoi to afford him a better view of the executions, but, if authorities may be believed, on such occasions he more{151} often figured as an actor than an onlooker. However this may be, it is undoubtedly the truth that of this portion of the Kremlin much that is interesting will some day be written. Sneguirev and other writers are content to describe it in very general terms; Fabricius, who for eight years was employed in the Kremlin and knows it more thoroughly than most men, in his monumental work on the Kremlin, scamps this section, although giving minute details respecting other towers and portions of the wall. It is not accessible to the public, and special permission from the commandant of the fortress is now required before admission is given to the rampart walk.

The Spasski (Redeemer) Gate, constructed in the reign of Ivan III. (1491), by Peter Antonio Solarius of Milan, was at first known as the Florovski gate from a church dedicated to St Florus in its vicinity. It bears the following inscription:—

“Johannes Vassilii Dei gratia magnus Dux Volodomiræ, Moscoviæ. Novoguardiæ, Iferiæ, Plescoviæ, Veticiæ, Ougariæ, Permiæ, Volgariæ et aliarum totiusque Roxiæ dominus: anno 30 imperii sui has turres condere jussit, et statuit Petrus Solarius Mediolanensis, anno nativitatis Domini 1491.”

When the church of the Holy Trinity was built this gate took the name of the “Jerusalem Gate,” because the Palm Sunday procession passed beneath it. In 1626 during the reign of the Tsar Mikhail Theodorovich, Christopher Galloway, an English clockmaker, constructed the spire and placed therein a striking clock, which, however, was subsequently removed. After various changes, in 1737 the Tsarina Elizabeth Petrovna caused the one now in use to be placed there. The building itself is formed of thick double walls, between which are passages and staircases of wood and stone; brick buttresses connect the walls and support the upper storeys. The second is{152} the clock tower; the third of octagonal form, has eight arches on which the spire is carried. Over the entrance is the miraculous ikon of the Redeemer, brought back from Smolensk by the Tsar Alexis in 1647. It is to this picture that the orthodox attribute the raising of the siege of Moscow by the Tartars under Makhmet-Ghiree in 1526; it is still held in great veneration, and it is customary for all to uncover whilst passing through the gate. Formerly an omission to do so was punished with two score and half compulsory prostrations. The Redeemer Gate is the state entrance to the Kremlin; by it the Tsars entered and left on all important occasions. Ivan III. passed through after quelling the revolt at Nijni Novgorod; Ivan “Groznoi” after taking Kazan; Vasili Shooiski after the delivery of Moscow from the Poles; here the people went to meet the young Tsar Michael Romanof after his election. The remains of Shooiski were brought through this gate, and by it passed the funeral processions of the Tsars Peter II., Alexander I. and Alexander II. Since the eighteenth century the Tsars have made their state entry to the Kremlin for the coronation by the Redeemer Gate. Criminals executed near the Lobnœ Mesto addressed their last prayers to the ikon above its portal; near it the “hundreds” of Streltsi were executed by order of Peter the Great, and in his reign the heterodox who refused to shave their heads paid a fine on passing it. The French tried to blow up the gate with gunpowder, but it was saved by the timely intervention of the Cossacks.

The Nikolski Gate on the north-east was also built by Peter Solarius, but has been several times restored, having suffered by fire and from other disasters. Tokhtamysh entered the Kremlin by this gate; so did the troops of Sigismund III., and it was here that{153} Edigei most strongly assaulted the Kremlin, here that the Krim-Tartars ineffectually tried to gain an entrance in 1551, and here that the battle raged between the Poles and Russians for the possession of Moscow. Like the Spasski Gate it also has its miraculous ikon. It is a mosaic of St Nicholas of Mojaisk. “The dread of perjurers and the comfort of those in pain,” before it litigants made their solemn oaths preliminary to the hearing of the cause. The inscription upon it records how, when the French attempted to blow it up, the ikon escaped destruction.

“In the year 1812, during the time of the invasion by the enemy almost the whole of this strong tower was demolished by the explosion of a mine; but, by the wonderful power of God, the holy image of the greatly favoured by God, here designed, and, not only the image, but the pane of glass covering it, as also the lantern with the candle, remained uninjured.

“Who is greater than God, our God? Thou art the God, the marvellous God, who doest miracles by Thy saints.”

This gate is the most generally used entrance to the Kremlin, and in the tower above the law archives of the town are now stored.

Northward from the Nikolski gate there is an abrupt descent to the corner tower—which is polygonal, not round like the others—for here is the old bed of the river Neglinnaia. Formerly the stream was dammed up near its junction with the Moskva so as to constitute an impassable moat, and thus protect the western side of the Kremlin. Nevertheless the wall is continued at the same height for its whole length. The arsenal, a commonplace building, extends from the corner tower to the Troitski gate, the monotony of its dreary line broken by two characteristic gun-towers on the wall. In the Alexander Gardens, outside the Kremlin, arches and rough masonry may be seen, and possibly mistaken for a part of the foundations of the Kremlin{154} wall; they are only decorations dating from the Exhibition held there in 1872.

The Troitski (Trinity) Gate was constructed to give access to the palaces in the Kremlin from the suburb on the other side of the Neglinnaia, in the seventeenth century occupied almost entirely by Court servants and artisans. Towards the close of the eighteenth century this quarter was a slum, the chief haunt of the robbers and desperadoes of Moscow; thence came the men who fired the city during the French occupation. The tower over the gate, in the Gothic style, was added by Galloway early in the seventeenth century and has been twice restored; the rooms in it are now used by the staff in charge of the old archives stored in the various towers of the Kremlin. The bridge is protected by a barbican, the Kutaïfa, a large white tower of original design, the work of Italians, about 1500, battlemented and once furnished with gates and portcullis. The French entered and left the Kremlin by this route. It is the only gate in the Kremlin without a chapel, the church of the Trinity once adjoining having been demolished.



About midway along the wall between the Troitski and Borovitski gates appear the bright-coloured roofs and gables of an old Russian house, the Potieshni Dvorets, whose striking architecture, together with that of the characteristic smaller towers on the walls, relieves the ugliness of the service buildings on the{155} left and the heavy façade of the Treasury building on the right. This side of the Kremlin should be seen from the far side of the gardens, or from the street beyond.

The best view of the Kremlin is that seen from the south end of the Moskvoretski bridge (see page 13.) The balconies of the Hotel Kokoref command the same view, one which reveals at a glance more that is characteristic of Moscow than even the bird’s-eye view from the dome of Ivan Veliki. In the foreground the river and quays; beyond, the walls of the Kremlin with towers in all styles; the fantastic pinnacles of Vasili Blajenni; the blunted spires of the Vossnesenski convent, behind which rise the gilded domes of the Chudov church and the great cupola of the hall of St Catherine in the Senate. Beyond the striking Alexander memorial rises the belfry of Ivan Veliki, and around it cluster the gilded and gay-coloured domes of the cathedrals, then, further to the left, the long façade of the Palace, the pyramidal tower of the Borovitski gate, and, apparently near by, the huge golden dome of the new Cathedral. (See page 299.)

Entering the Kremlin by the Nikolski gate, to the right is the arsenal, to the left the Senate (Law Courts), reaching the transverse route from the Troitski gate, the barracks are in front, the buildings of the service corps to the right, the Chudov monastery to the left; continuing straight on, a large open space is reached; then on the left is the smaller palace, on the far side of the square is the Alexander memorial; close by, on the right, the Synod, then, railed off, the Sobornia Ploshchad with the cathedrals and beyond them the Grand Palace. In the centre rises Ivan Veliki tower which serves as belfry for all the cathedrals.

The cathedrals are, for the most part, described in detail in “Moscow of the Ecclesiastics”; the palaces{156} in the chapter on “Moscow of the Tsars,” and the Chudov and Vossnesenski monasteries in chapter xii.; here the other buildings and sights of the Kremlin may be mentioned.

First and foremost to treat of Ivan Veliki; of Moscow and its bells.

According to tradition the tall bell tower has a very ancient origin but as a matter of fact it was constructed at the close of the sixteenth century to find employment for a starving population. Its foundations are on a level with the river bed, 120 feet below the surface; its height above is 320 feet, built in five storeys, the first four octagonal, the topmost cylindrical. In the eighteenth century it was considered one of the wonders of the world, and to this day the orthodox invariably cross themselves when passing it. Dedicated to St John and containing in the basement a chapel to the same saint, it is supposed to owe its name to this, but tradition states that it was constructed by one John (Ivan) Viliers whose patronymic has been corrupted into Veliki—that is, “great” or “big.”

There are 450 steps to the gallery under the cupola, whereon is an inscription of which the following is a translation:—

“Under the protection of the Holy Trinity and by order of the Tsar and Grand Duke Boris Theodorovich autocrat of all the Russias, and of his son the Tsarevich and Grand Duke Theodore Borisovich, this church has been completed and gold-crowned the second year of their reign. A.M. 7180.”[A]

[A] Date erroneous: built 1590-1600 A.D.

Adjoining Ivan Veliki is another tower, that of the Assumption, in which are hung the larger bells, and still further to the north a third belfry with a pyramidal spire, known as the Tower of Philaret.

The chapel of St John is on, or near, the spot occupied by a small wood church first erected in 1320;{157} it contains several ikons of interest. On the first storey under the dome of the Assumption Tower is a chapel dedicated to St Nicholas, replacing a fourteenth-century church in the Kremlin. It is specially visited by the orthodox about to marry, and contains some ikons removed from the church of St Nicholas of Galstun, demolished during the reign of Alexander I. (1816). A deacon of the old church, Ivan Theodorof, introduced printing into Russia, and in 1567 produced a book of hours on Moscow. Hence, the book depôt lodged in the tower. Very characteristic of Moscow are these three towers, of different styles of architecture, massed to form one building; that the three should all be white is a pleasing convention which has long endured. It is needless to state that there is an excellent view from the upper storeys, one well worth the toilsome ascent. Moreover the bells are interesting; though some visitors are content with an examination of the great Bell of Moscow which, broken and flawed, stands upon a pedestal at the foot of the Ivan Veliki tower.

The art of bell-founding first practised at Nola in Campania in the ninth century, has been known in Russia since the fourteenth; in 1553 a bell of about 15 tons was cast in Moscow and hung in a wooden tower. Since that date many large bells have been cast and recast. The largest, the Tsar Kolokol, the “Great Bell of Moscow,” is supposed to have been first cast in the sixteenth century, probably during the reign of Boris Godunov; in 1611 a traveller states that in Moscow is a bell whose clapper is rung by two dozen men; in 1636, a fire in the Kremlin caused the bell to fall and it was broken. In 1654 it was recast and then weighed some 130 tons; it was 2 feet thick and its circumference over 50 feet. It was suspended at the foot of the tower, and the wooden beam supporting it being burned by the fire of 1706 it once more{158} fell to the ground and broke. It was recast by order of the Empress Anne in 1733, but it is doubtful whether it was hung. From 1737 to 1836 it lay beneath the surface. By the order of the Tsar Nicholas, De Ferrand raised it from the pit and mounted it on the pedestal it now occupies. It is 2 feet thick, 21 feet high (26 feet, 4 inches with ball and cross) 68 feet in girth, and weighs 185 tons. The fragment is 7 feet high and weighs 11 tons. The figures represent the Tsar Alexis and the Empress Anne. It bears a long inscription:—

“Alexis Michaelovich of happy memory, Autocrat of Great and Small Russia and of White Russia, gave the order that for the Cathedral of the pure and glorious Assumption of the Holy Virgin, a bell should be cast with 8000 poods of copper, in the year of the world 7162 and of the birth of Jesus Christ our Saviour, 1645. This bell was used in the year 7176 (A.D. 1668), and served until the year of the creation 7208 and of Jesus Christ 1701; in which last year on the 19 June it was broken in a great fire that destroyed the Kremlin: it was mute until the year of the creation ... and of our Lord.... By the command of the majestic Empress-Autocrat Anna Ivanovna, for the glory of God, of the Holy Trinity, and in honour of the Holy Virgin, in the Cathedral of her glorious Assumption, they melted the metal of the old bell of 8000 poods, damaged by the fire and added thereto 2000 poods of new metal, the year of the world 7241 and of the birth of our Saviour 1734, and the fourth of the glorious reign of Her Majesty.”

“Thirty-four bells hang in these three towers; the largest is the “big bell” of the Uspenski Sobor, which is in the middle tower and on the lowest tier. It was cast in 1817 by Bogdanof, to replace the bell broken when the tower was wrecked by the mine exploded beneath it in 1812. A bell of 7 tons is the largest in the tower of Ivan, which, originally founded in 1501 by Afanasief, has been subsequently recast; the next storey has three old bells and amongst those of the{159} highest storey are two “silver” bells. The oldest here dates from 1550; other old bells, Russian, Dutch, and others, are hung in the belfry of Spass na Boru, in that of St Michael in the courtyard of the Chudov Monastery, and in the belfry of the Vossnesenski Convent. Russian bells are not swung, but are sounded by moving the clapper, to the tongue of which the bell rope is attached; the clapper of the “Kolokol” is 14 feet in length and 6 feet in circumference. The famous bells of Moscow are:—

“The Tsar Kolokol, 185 tons; Assumption or ‘Big Bell’—in use—64 tons; The Thunderer (Reut), 30 tons, cast by Chokov in 1689, it also fell in 1812 but was not broken; The Every Day (Vsednievni), 15 tons, cast in 1782; The Seven-hundredth (Semisotni), 10 tons; Bear (Medvied), 7 tons; Swan (Lebeda), 7 tons; Novgorodsk, 6 tons; The ‘Wide’ Bell (Shirokoi), 4½ tons; Slobodski, 4½ tons; Rostovski, 3 tons.”

The casting of the great bells was made a state function as well as a church ceremony; as late as the nineteenth century, the old form of blessing the bell was followed in the case of the Big Bell, which is described at length by Dr Lyall who was present:—

“On the 17th March 1817, the Archbishop Augustine went into the cavity in which the metal was to be run, and sprinkled the place with holy water, as also the metals to be used in founding the bell; gave his benediction to the masters of the foundry, and called the workmen to receive his blessing and kiss the cross. The molten metal ran by a gutter into the mould; and, the casting finished, the Archbishop again gave thanks to God. The leading inhabitants were present at the casting, and freely threw in gold and silver trinkets. On the 23rd February 1819 this bell was removed from the foundry. It was placed on an oak sledge, and after the Te Deum had been sung, a willing crowd seized the many ropes attached and drew the sledge down the Srietenka and Lubianka to the Kusnetski Most, Mokhovaya, and the whole length of the Kremlin wall to the Borovitski Gate by which it made its entrance, and reached the Belfry of Ivan Veliki, where the Te Deum was sung again. It was hung in the summer of 1819.”


Closely allied to the art of the bell-maker was that of cannon-founder, and the Kremlin contains some curious and excellent specimens of old weapons. The most striking is the huge gun known as the Tsar Pushka, “King of Guns,” familiarly as the “drobovnik” (fowling piece), which was cast in the reign of Theodore Ivanovich (1586), by one Chokof. It weighs 36 tons, and is of too large calibre and too weak metal ever to have been used as a weapon. When Peter I. after the battle of Narva, ordered old cannon and church bells to be cast into new ordnance, this was spared. So was the mortar by its side, for it was cast by the false Dmitri, who not only took a great interest in the manufacture of fire arms, but tested them himself. Among the cannon arranged along the barrack terrace is “The Unicorn” cast in 1670; the carriage of this, of the Tsar Pushka, and of others are new, made by Baird, of St Petersburg. Along the front of the arsenal are arranged the 875 cannon, 365 French, taken from “the twenty nations” who invaded Russia with Napoleon.

It has already been stated that the Kremlin was at one time a complete city; to a certain extent it is so still. Again and again buildings have been destroyed and restored; streets made, and swept away. In sinking the foundations for the Alexander memorial the debris of three distinct ruins superimposed showed how one town has succeeded another, and as at that point, so at many others. The exercising ground was long covered with dwellings; there were the hostelries of the Krutitski monastery, the houses of the priests, seminaries, private dwellings—at one time as many as twenty streets were to be found within the Kremlin walls. Under the barracks and the Chudov monastery are immense vaults of ancient brick; below the Synod are known to be two large chambers which have not{161}





been examined, and, in the very centre of the Kremlin, between the Tsar Pushka and the Chudov Monastery, but three feet beneath the pavement, is the basement of an old edifice, vaults of white stone, probably the remains of the palace of the Tsar Boris Godunov. The smaller palace is built upon the side of an early cemetery; at one time in the open space near Ivan Veliki criminals were publicly executed and the ukases of the Tsar proclaimed. In the same way that the Kremlin is honeycombed with vaults for the storage of great quantities of food and munitions of war, it is penetrated by different conduits for the water drawn from the bed of the neighbouring stream; a supply so plentiful and constant that the Tsar Alexis used it to flow through great lead bottomed tanks and ornamental lakes, whereon, like later Tsars, he amused himself with a toy fleet.

The railed in Sobornia Ploshchad has been from time immemorial the Grand enclosure. Here the religious processions formed, and form; here Dmitri Ivanovich unfurled the black standard before going out to give battle to Mamai; here most Tsars have passed to their coronation, or have walked with their brides to the altar for the wedding sacrament; across it the princes and Tsars of Moscow have been carried to their last resting place. Outside that door crouched the excommunicated Ivan Groznoi, from this the frenzied people dragged their priest, towards that the threatened metropolitan bravely made his way to officiate at a forbidden mass. Before the Grand entrance (Krasnœ Kriltso) foreign ambassadors drew up in pomp to make their calls of state, on that same terrace Ivan with his staff transfixed the foot of the brave messenger of the not less bold Kourbski, there, too, he gazed at the comet supposed to foretell his death. To this place the basket for the petitions of{164} the people was daily lowered from the Tsar’s palace window; on this spot fell the body of the murdered false Dmitri. Here at different times have gathered Tartar envoys, merchant venturers, turbulent Streltsi; the famished, the terrified and the pestilent stricken; Polish soldiers, French grenadiers, foreign fightingmen as a bodyguard, the dreaded “opritchniki”; bountiful boyards, Napoleon’s riff-raff; humble Russians to petition, pious ones to pray, grateful ones to return thanks.

The imaginative visitor may conjure up amidst the buildings whatever scene he will from the history of Moscow and find adequate setting. May picture state pageantry; church ceremonial; military display; the expression of perfervid piety; the ruin following fearful disaster—whether wrought by the hand of man or the act of God. Such scenes that the walls will seem to echo in turn the laughter of homely merry-making, the huzzahs of victory, the wails of the afflicted, the uproar of the turbulent, the sighs of the worshipper—for here every emotion has been many times expressed by the varying multitudes that have thronged these courts.

Entering by the tower of Philaret, the Church of the Twelve Apostles is on the extreme right, the Cathedral of the Assumption immediately in front, that of the Archangels on the left, opposite it is the Cathedral of the Annunciation communicating with the royal palaces by a terrace from which descends the wide flight of steps which as their name, Krasnœ Kriltso, indicates is the grand or state entrance to the palace. It was on this terrace that the Tsars of old allowed the people to see “the light of their eyes,” and there that those of noble race stood to be “beholden of the people.” At one time this flight had the usual porch at the foot, and a red roof above, just as the approaches to the old{165} churches and the modern house, Dom Chukina off the Tverskaia. Fires have destroyed the roofs and now an awning only is used upon state occasions. These steps flank the old Granovitaia Palace and on its other side, in an obscure corner, almost behind the Cathedral of the Assumption, is the Holy Spot of the Kremlin, being to the church what the Krasnœ Kriltso was to the state.

It is the old entrance to the private apartments of the Patriarchs, and the chapel of the metropolitans, that known as the Pecherski Bogeimateri, raised on the site of the earliest stone edifice built in the Kremlin. Founded by Jonas it suffered the fate of most buildings in Moscow, but was always rebuilt in much the same style, and still conserves many characteristics of the most ancient of Moscow churches. The present building is composed of the fragments left from the fires of 1626, 1637, 1644 and 1682. The roof is vaulted, supported by four columns; the walls have pictures of the virgin and saints, and above the altar is that of the Madonna. The ikonostas has four stages and is adorned with most venerable ikons, notably those of “The Reception of the sacred vestments of the Virgin” of the Virgin of Vladimir (an early copy), and of the Holy Trinity, before which are ancient candelabra with the remains of tapers made like the old rushlights and gaily coloured. The inscription is to the effect that they were placed there by the Patriarch Joseph in 1643 and 1645. The old chandelier in the centre is by Sviechkov, a master craftsman of the Tsarian workshops in 1624. The Virgin of Pechersk, brought from Kiev, is hung upon the wall and surrounded with portraits of Peter, Alexis, Jonas, Philip, and other of the patron saints of Moscow: before this ikon all must bow or suffer eternal punishment. The church is never closed; day and night it{166} is visited by pious pilgrims and the sacred lamp is ever burning before the ikon. It communicates with the corridor of the Terem, and behind it rise the domes of the churches within the palace, notably those of the Saviour behind the Golden Gates and St Catherine’s: near them the roof of the Terem and the walls of the Granovitaia Palace complete a picture wholly Muscovite; but, if tradition may be trusted, the work upon the most picturesque portion, St Catherine’s, is due to an Englishman, one John Taylor, in the service of the Tsars.

On Palm Sundays there used to form in the little square before the porch the head of that procession in which the Tsar led the Patriarch, seated upon an ass, by the Redeemer Gate to the Lobnœ Mesto. Peter the Great turned the procession to mere burlesque, mounting the Patriarch upon an ox and himself playing the buffoon. Here, too, were the miracle plays and church mysteries performed in the seventeenth century, and here the church processions still form for the more stately pageants of to-day.

The only old private dwelling remaining within the Kremlin is that now known as the Potieshni Dvorets, or “palace of amusements,” which was originally the house of the boyards Miloslavski and was acquired by the crown after the marriage of the Tsar Alexis with Maria Miloslavski. The interior has now nothing of particular interest, but the exterior is an excellent example of Russian architecture as modified by mid-European influence in the late seventeenth century. Part of the third and fourth storeys instead of retreating, in the Russian style, is made to project, but the “belvedere,” with a balcony all round, is retained for the top storey; retained, too, are the bulbous pillars which serve as, or decorate the side posts of doors and windows, and the long pendant keystones to form the{167} double-arch instead of a lintel; all of which are peculiar to Russian architecture.



Several explanations for the common use of the {168}ogival arch, the bulbous dome, and the double arch with hanging keystones, have been advanced by antiquaries, but none are altogether satisfactory. The errors have possibly resulted from studying masonry to the exclusion of carpentry, and the early Slavs were users of wood—not of stone or brick. It may be that these forms were due to the execution in light elastic wood of arches and vaults copied from foreign work composed of voussoirs, but such is unlikely. Assuming that round wood poles, the stems of the plentiful young birch trees, and wattles were the materials of which the frames of the early dwellings were constructed, then such forms naturally result.

If the ends of poles are stuck into the earth, and the opposite extremities brought to a common centre and weight—as that of the roof—added, the timbers will sag and a concave section result. That this was one Russian form of roof, the illustration of the Belvedere of the Terem exemplifies (see page 117), where the curve is purposely exaggerated for the purpose of decorative effect. If, instead of being placed loosely in the earth to allow of this set, the poles are thrust down deep into the soil or otherwise made immovable and the upper extremities forcibly brought in towards the centre and fastened there, then when the weight of the roof bends the poles, they will bulge outward in the middle, and when the weight of the roof has been so adjusted as to correct the curve in order to give to the structure the desired greatest possible interior space for domestic accommodation, then the bulbous dome naturally results if the poles be arranged in a circle. The ogival arch is only a section of that.

Granted that if the poles cross each other near the tops a more or less concave cone will result—as exemplified in the tepoes of the American Indians—yet if instead of two or three poles, many more have to be brought to the common apex it will be{169} easier not to cross them but bind all firmly to each other—or a central post—then the ogival section must result. If a single pole is bent to form the support of a roof and both its extremities are thrust into the ground, the horseshoe arch is obtained as soon as the weight of the roof acts upon such supports. If, instead of the single pole, two shorter ones are taken and instead of being lashed together to form the pointed arch the upper extremities are brought towards each other and downwards and then lashed, a more rigid bow is obtained, and this is the crude form of the double arch with pendant keystone so common in Moscow; and its use generally is over doorways, etc., where a wide span with great stability is required, and with poles as the only available material this form gives rigidity not obtainable by bending to any other so simple form.

The form of arched vault that had served as the lowly dwelling of a primitive people was retained in its entirety for the roof of later and larger buildings; the walls, whether of logs or shaped timber, served as imposts, just as the soil had done, and so the bulbous domes, the square and oblong attic roofs with their characteristic gonflements have been retained. It is merely an example of the persistence as decoration of forms which were originally wholly utilitarian. This is particularly the case with the double arch where the pendant keystone descends to the level of the imposts and is of course supported from the lintel when executed in masonry. Another characteristic Russian form is the circular arch of masonry, which has the voussoirs of the intrados of the usual regular form but of the extrados slightly elevated at the corner to indicate the “ogival arch,” which was the common form of the wooden arch in Moscow. As already stated (ch. ii.) the early forms of Russian dwellings may{170} be studied from the models in the Historical Museum; one peculiarity is that each successive storey is set back from that immediately below instead of projecting as in the half-timbered houses, of mediæval England. In addition to the belvederes of the Terem and Potieshni Dvorets, it is noticeable in the towers of the Kremlin wall. They were originally of timber and the earlier form is retained—even to the double walls and tiers—so necessary to a wooden bulwark, but quite foreign to the method of the Italian masons who erected these buildings. The steep roofs of the towers is also common and convenient in constructing with timber, but needless and difficult when working with tiles and bricks. So long as these remain the wooden original Moscow cannot be wholly forgotten.

The attempt to retain the pyramidal or retreating form when building with bricks has resulted in a distinctly Muscovite style for towers and spires. Instead of a parapet on the walls of the tower, a tier of small circular arches is imposed, and form the crowns of these, also set back, spring the voussoirs of a second tier, and in like manner other tiers until the desired height is reached for the spire, or the cylindrical shaft that is to support the dome, or whatever other ornament is used to crown the structure. One of the best examples of this form is the church of the Nativity on the Mala Dmitrovka, which was built in the “golden” period of Moscow—1625-1680—when for all buildings of first importance masonry had supplanted the use of wood (see p. 181). The earlier form may be seen in the roof of the Blagovieshchenski Sobor; and the varieties of pattern are reproduced in the attic roofs of the Historical Museum building.

The absurdity of the pendant keystone in the double{171} arch is demonstrated by the arch over the doorway to the courtyard of the synod, and the lintels of doors and windows of the Potieshni Dvorets.

The magnificent monument to the Great Tsar Liberator, Alexander II., is the latest addition to the Kremlin, that heart of Moscow which echoes the glorious past of the Russian empire and is its true Pantheon. None have graced it more than those early Romanofs whose work is evident in every ancient building, but still more imperishable was the noble labour of him to whom this generation has expressed its gratitude in an imposing and characteristic memorial to the most loved Tsar.{172}


Moscow of the Ecclesiastics

“Come, brothers! your heads you may bow,
Before grand and most holy Moscow;
Where the old altars of our land,
Where shrines of saints, and ikons stand,
Our inmost sanctuary.”—Borozdna.

HOLY Moscow, so reverently and affectionately regarded by the orthodox as the Mother of the Church, is to them more than a mere agglomeration of sacred shrines and ecclesiastical edifices. Neither the churches—though they are numerous and important enough to warrant the familiar appellation—nor yet the wonder-working, incorruptible remains and the miraculous ikons most endear Moscow to the true-believer—for there are such elsewhere which receive like humble homage. Holy Moscow comprises all that has served to nurse and sustain the faith amidst infidel aggression; the white-walled and golden-crowned city is symbolic of the lasting reward of heroic endeavour in the upward struggle of the race towards supremacy. Not indestructible itself, but its spirit undying; razed time after time only to appear again greater and more glorious than before, Moscow seems to the Russian not so much a part of the national entity personified in empire, as the very soul of his race; possessed, even as each individual, with strength to endure adversity and unfailing vigour to accomplish a predestined purpose. Traditions{173} of divine intervention; the finding and promulgation of Law; much that is miraculous and legendary as well as all that is credible in early national history the Russian associates with Moscow, and feels what the stranger cannot be made to perceive, may even fail to comprehend, for the outward and visible sign of the living spirit that actuates the Church is but faint and imperfect, even as performance is so often but an inadequate rendering of intention. Although the sanctity of Moscow may not be apparent to the unorthodox, the observer will expect some characteristics of motive to stand revealed in externals. But to the uninitiated the ritual of the Russian Church is bewildering, and the true significance of such symbols as are exhibited in ecclesiastical architecture and ornament is likely to be missed by over accentuating the importance of whatever may be unusual. For many, who are quite ignorant of its tenets and practice, the Eastern Church has an irresistible fascination; the danger is that these, on a first acquaintance will over-praise such details as they may appreciate and too hastily condemn others they may not rightly comprehend, and fail to arrive at a just conclusion by means of further study when no longer attracted by the novelty of the subject. To confine oneself to the consideration of externals is insufficient, being tantamount to the act of one who, absolutely ignorant of card games, endeavours to obtain an idea of the amusement derived from their play by careful examination of the accurate printing and careful finish of certain cards in the pack. On the other hand an attempt to convey by words alone an accurate idea of the full teaching of the Eastern Church is foredoomed to failure, and the most that can be done is to indicate the broad lines of the policy that has actuated it, and risk such errors as must accrue from possible mistranslations of meaning.{174}

All Christian races treasure some legend as to the conversion of their forefathers by one of the Apostles. The Russians are no exception, and, in any event, the introduction of Christianity into their country took place in the heroic age.

“Novgorod, a city of great antiquity, having been founded by Rha, a grandson of Noah and son of Japhet, was visited by the Apostle St Andrew who wished to preach the gospel. The people would not listen to him, and having disrobed the saint threw him bound into a scalding bath. The saint distressed, and almost suffocated by the vapour, called out ‘ιδρωσα’ (I sweat), whence the name Russia. Other histories state that the conversion of the race took place some thousand years later, when, strange as it may appear, the Polyans were first called Russ, as some think from ‘ros,’ the old German name for ‘horse.’ There is a tradition that Vladimir the Great, having conquered fresh territory, became tired of his pagan gods and expressed a desire to embrace a newer faith. With the Christianity of Rome he would have nothing to do, for, he said, his relations in the west had embraced that, and yet were always at war and without good fortune. The Karaïm Jews of South Russia wished to convert him, but when he learned that they were exiled from the land of their fathers and had no country of their own, he refused, saying they were receiving the harvest of their sins and that he had no wish to cause his people to share their punishment. Then hearing that at Constantinople another religion was professed he sent delegates thither to observe and judge whether or not it would suit him. These Russians were astonished at the many lights in the temple; were moved by the singing and the stately procession of deacons, sub-deacons and others to and from the sacristy, and, particularly, at the humble manner in which the people prostrated themselves when the priests appeared. The ritual they did not understand and asked their guides what it all meant. ‘All that we have seen,’ they said, ‘is awful and majestic, but what seems to us supernatural is the young men who have white wings and dazzling robes, and cry “Holy! Holy! Holy!” in mid-air—this truly surprises us.’ ‘What?’ answered the guides, ‘do you not know that angels come down from heaven to our services?’ ‘You are right,’ said the Russians; ‘it is enough—more we do not wish to see; let us return to our country and tell of that which we have already seen.”


If the early chronicles may be trusted, the Bible was first translated into Slavic by Cyril and Methodius, two Greek monks of Byzantium, about the year 863, and so prior to the advent of the Norseman Rurik. In all probability, the faith was spread by proselytising clergy, in part helped by the devotion of the noble women of Byzantium who wedded with the savage Ros, and from the first was wholly independent of the civil power.

Of persecution there was little; Kiev furnished one Vœrœger martyr, and, as elsewhere among heathen, the Christian religion appears to have been readily embraced. Before the Kremlin was raised, before Moscow was, the church was represented on the banks of the Moskva by the little wooden chapel “spass na Boru.” Ivan Kalita was one of the first to recognise the usefulness of the church as an adjunct to civil and military power; he made priests not only welcome in Moscow but all important there. How the reigning princes caused the church in Moscow to rival in authority that of Kiev and, later, to attain supremacy throughout Russia, has already been stated. Of equal importance to the work initiated by any Tsar were the services of St Sergius, founder of the great monastery at Troitsa, which at one time possessed immense tracts of land and owned more than 100,000 serfs. Sergius was born at Great Rostov, and in his youth passed some time near Moscow, and later, having a dozen disciples and the aid of the Patriarch of Constantinople, helped greatly the colonisation of Russia by sending out monks trained at Troitsa. He lived the life of a hermit, and even when abbot did his full share of the menial labour. A commonly seen picture represents him as an old man seated on a rough bench sharing his piece of bread with a bear. Then came St Peter, an apostle sent from Macedonia, who, as a sign “passed through the fire” uninjured; after converting many he settled at Kiev and{176} was of great assistance to George Danielovich in raising the clerical status of Moscow, and to his “incorruptible remains” many miracles are attributed. A large number of relics assigned to him are still preserved in the Uspenski Sobor and the sacristy of the Patriarchs. Next in importance to Moscow was Alexis, the Metropolitan, afterwards canonised. From the earliest times, the clergy, living the life of the people and not that of the military caste, had great influence with citizens and peasants: many times the church has raised the spirit of the nation when oppressed by foreign invaders. It spurred on Ivan III. to overthrow the Mongol rule, and stirred up the people to repulse the Poles and secure national independence. One source of its power has been the use of the vernacular in all services; the church most certainly during the centuries of Tartar dominion also preserved the Slavic tongue from foreign dialects. The clergy have always held it their chief duty to pass on to their successors their faith as they received it. Schism is not tolerated; the slightest modification of ritual is forbidden. The Metropolitans of Moscow were long able to preserve the independence of the church against the encroachments of the reigning princes; Ivan the Terrible’s chief plaint against the clergy was that they exercised their privilege of forbidding the execution of those whom he had condemned to death. Boris Godunov gave Moscow a Patriarch, and added to the power of the church by appointing seven of the clergy to seats in the States Council. When, in 1615, the Tsar Michael met his father, the Patriarch Philaret, on the banks of the Pressenaia (near the Drogomilov Bridge) both bowed low and remained long recumbent, unwilling that either should consider the head of the church superior or inferior to the head of the state. From that time until Philaret’s death in 1639 father and son{177} practically ruled conjointly. Nikon was scarce content to be the equal of his sovereign, and ranked the church above the state: he fell. Peter the Great scornfully suppressed the Patriarchate, but did not arrogate to himself the powers of the head of the church, substituting a synod to be elected from the hierarchy he himself appointed. So it remains to the present day, the reigning monarch having no right, from his position, to interfere in spiritual affairs, yet still controlling the administration of church law.

In matters of belief the Eastern church nearly approaches the Anglican, the main divergence is that whereas the Anglican and Roman churches agree that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, the Eastern Church holds that it proceeds from the Father only. The bible may be read; the church may interpret its teaching, “for the traditions of the church have been maintained uncorrupted through the influence of the Holy Spirit.” God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, “perfectly equal in nature and dignity,” may alone be worshipped; but homage may be paid to the Virgin Mary, and reverence shown to the saints, to ikons and to relics. That this may not be abused, bishops at their consecration are requested to promise that “honour shall be shown to God only, not to the sacred ikons, and that no false miracle shall be ascribed to them.... The moshi or incorruptible remains which are so greatly venerated, are the corpses of those long dead, whose burial-place has been forgotten and is made known by a supernatural manifestation. These remains must not be subject to the ordinary process of decay, and may possess such virtue as to miraculously cure the sick—which is the quality usually attributed to them.”

The ecclesiastical architecture of Moscow, or of Russia, is not so complex as it appears to be at first sight; originally the place for Christian worship was but a square log-hut; add an apse at the east end, cover the building with a dome roof supporting a cross to indicate its sacred character, and the external structure of the primitive church is complete. Instead of a dome roof it was found easier, as larger buildings became{178} necessary, to cover with the dome only the centre of the church, which was still further elevated to make more prominent the dome and cross denoting the purpose of the building. Three apses, symbolic of the Trinity, took the place of one; five and seven are sometimes found. When the idea of the original whole dome roof was expressed by four small domes arranged around the higher central one, the model became the permanent type from which all other forms have been elaborated. The primitive type is best exemplified in the church of St Michael within the Chudov monastery, but the cathedrals of the Assumption and of the Archangels, on the Sobornia Ploshchad of the Kremlin, will serve equally well to illustrate the permanent form. The origin and development of the bulbous dome, as well as the size, position and number of secondary domes, may be traced by comparing the various old churches in South Russia, and those of wood, formerly or at present existing in “wooden” Russia. For this purpose a convenient series of framed drawings is to be found on stands in Room β of the Historical Museum. They confirm what has already been stated in the preceding chapter, concerning the origin of Russian architecture, and show that the number of domes—some churches have seventeen, if not more—is immaterial, since all should be so arranged as to increase the importance of the central one. Those in which all are equal in size and height—as the roof over the chapels of the Terem—are quite exceptional. The chief modification arose from the necessity of preserving the structure and its valued contents from the great cold of the winter and the excessive moisture of the summer. To overcome the first difficulty the church was surrounded with a gallery; to obviate the second the floor of the church raised to a higher storey; when the two were combined as in{179} many churches of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, some elaboration of proaulion and Kriltso was natural. The best specimens of this class are the churches of St Nicholas of the Great Cross on the Ilyinka, and of the Assumption on the Pokrovka; the ordinary design is that of the porches and approach to Vasili Blajenni, and of the Blagovieshchenski Sobor before the ground was raised to its present level.

The belfry, a somewhat late comer to the Russian church, was usually a separate building adjacent to, but not a component part of, the church itself. When masonry superseded wood, the old designs were for the most part retained: so possibly the only other important point of general application is the subsequent employment of the tapering spire—and its modifications of superposed arches, etc.—to support the dome and cross, instead of the cylindrical shaft peculiar to Russian architecture, which last was evidently derived from round towers of very remote origin. The windows are small and unimportant—often mere oblong slits in the wall—and, though the accepted form admits of little modification towards the elaboration of elegance and grace in the design, and the decoration is limited by the ecclesiastical objection to carved figures—and climatic conditions which preclude the employment of projecting mouldings and all fine work in high relief—the brilliant colouring and mural decorations of plane surfaces convey an impression of richness, which, combined with the absence of the usual and conspicuousness of strange decorations, magnify the whole, in many instances, into the resemblance of whatever the imagination may picture as most ornate and brilliant.

In essentials the interior arrangements of all the churches are similar: east of the pillars that support the central dome, the church is divided by the ikonostas—a development of the rood-screen—which{180} separates the officiating priests from the worshippers. In old churches seats were placed round the walls and stalls provided for persons of high rank, but for long it has been customary for the congregation to stand during the services. Behind the ikonostas is the sanctuary; there females may not enter, nor any male if physically imperfect; it is disclosed to the worshippers during the celebration of Mass by opening the “Royal Doors” in the centre of the ikonostas. There are in all churches sacred ikons, having the place of honour on the ikonostas; decorative and illustrative pictures are placed there also, and the same—as frescoes, or otherwise—around the central columns and along the walls of the church. Usually the north wall is appointed for those pertaining to the saint to whom the church is dedicated; the south wall to the seven councils, the west to other sacred subjects. Although the ikonostas is the equivalent of the rood-screen in the old English churches, it is not only always a fixture, but sometimes a solid partition of masonry, being really that barrier which shuts off the Holy of Holies, that may be entered by the consecrated priests alone, from the rest of the temple. It is always decorated, but the high ikonostas, having five, or even seven, tiers of pictures is a development later than the fifteenth century. The “Royal Doors” must have representations of the Annunciation and the four Evangelists, since through this entrance came the glad tidings of the Eucharist; right and left of the doors the Saviour and the Madonna; also, usually, Adam, as the first fallen, and the Penitent Thief as the first redeemed; above, the Trinity; Abraham entertaining the three angels and John the Baptist most frequently figure on the screen, and, on the pillars facing the entrance, the Publican and Pharisee as symbolic of an all inclusive congregation of worshippers.{181}

In the Sanctuary is a tabernacle or Sinai, upon the altar, and over it a baldachino on which the cross is laid horizontally—or nearly so. In the apse behind



the altar is the thronos or seat of the head of the church, with other seats for priests on both sides; the choir is a raised dais before the ikonostas.

The Russian cross has eight points. To the Latin cross are added the titulus, and a lower diagonal crosspiece which is assumed to be a rest for the feet. Post hoc, propter hoc, and that this rest slants is said to be due to the fact that Christ was lame; others think that{182} its purpose is merely to give the idea of perspective of the hill Golgotha on which the cross was placed, and others as indicating the earthquake, whilst those versed in mystic symbolism will recognise a totally distinct signification.[B] To these last too, the accepted explanations of the crescent from which the cross rises will be insufficient. It was common in Russia prior to the Mongol occupation, so is not the result of placing crosses upon mosques, or intended to denote the subjugation of Mahommedanism to Christianity. More probable is the explanation, that in ancient pictures the Virgin is shown standing upon the crescent, and the cross was later placed by the Russian ecclesiastics to denote that the cross issues from the Mother of God. Maxim, the Greek, in the sixteenth century, declared that the crescent represented Upsilon, the initial of ὑφος, and so is emblematical of the uplifting of the cross; but if its application as a sign of Christian dogma is open to various constructions, all will at once recognise the sign as one of the most ancient and general of mystic symbols.

[B] The Russian cross is derived from the old eastern form of the Greek letter xi.

The ecclesiastical art of Russia is of a different nature to that of any school of the west. The ikons, or sacred pictures, must be exact copies of the originals, thus the practice supports Gibbon’s contention that the religious value of a sacred image depends for its efficacy upon its resemblance to the original.[C] In Moscow there are several pictures of the Saviour “not made with hands,” being in that respect, and that only, similar to the Veronica and the miraculous image of Edessa. They are not alike, and their origin is not{183} known, but it is conjectured that the initials Ο τ Η, on the nimbus, have been wrongly interpreted as the initials of ot, otsa, Nebesnavo, which means “From Our Father on High” instead of On, Otets, Nash—“He is Our Father.” The Greek characters were little known in Russia, and one of the pictures has this legend in Greek Ο.Ω.Ν. In the same connection it is worth noting that our I.H.S. is a misreading into Latin of ΙΗΕ, the Greek contraction of ΙΗΕΣοὑς, where the long e was mistaken for a capital H, and the dash above it developed into a cross. The ordinary ikons are restricted to fixed types; the artist therefore has never needed to create, only to reproduce. There are no Russian Madonnas, all are replicas of pictures brought from Greece or Byzantium; “the ikon painter knows but one costume, for all places and all times it changeth not; tradition fixes the form of the head, the pose, the proportion, the attitudes and the attributes.” Most are produced by monks and probationers who follow the instructions given in a tenth century MS. by Dionysius of Mount Athos. Rigorously it is only the features of the saint that must be exactly reproduced; in practice it is customary to cover all but the face and hands with thin metal—gold, silver, or gilt, and to ornament the setting lavishly. In the seventeenth century, the golden age of Muscovite ecclesiasticism, there were several branches of ikon painting, not differing sufficiently to warrant the appellation of “schools.” These were known as the Imperial or Court style; the Village, the Strogonov, and the Monastic. Novgorod would have the faces yellow; the Strogonov insisted upon dark green—an introduction from Byzantium, and sometimes known as Khorsunski. Black virgins are not unknown—the result of time upon impure pigments; those with three small scratches on the face are copies of the Iberian Mother of God, a twelfth century ikon{184} of the Virgin. Graven images are not allowed in the Russian Church, being held to be a violation of the second commandment. The only exception is that of St Nicholas. Holy Statues were abolished by order of the Patriarch Philaret, and when these were removed from the churches all went well until hands were laid upon one of the representatives of the patron Saint; no force could stir that; where, by extraordinary means, the statue was broken from the pedestal, the image of the saint reappeared. This is the only figure seen in high relief, and is usually made with the model of a church in his hand. The popularity of the saint may be estimated from the fact, that at one time there were as many as 118 churches in Moscow dedicated to St Nicholas.

[C] “By a slow though inevitable progression the honours of the original were transferred to the image; the merit and effect of a copy depends upon its resemblance with the original.”—Gibbon,—Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chapter xlix.

The rites of the Russian Church are complex, and to the unorthodox, perplexing. The celebrant by the minute observance of minor details gives to every act a symbolic meaning, and to even the least significant of them some dogma of the church is attached. The service is in Slavonic, of which the ordinary people do not understand the letter, but can follow the general meaning; it is impressive apart from its significance, and is intended so to be. It commences with a call to worship—the vozglass—singing of psalms; a series of prayers—ektenia—for the welfare of the church, intoned; the evangels or epistles also intoned; “choral and part-singing of unequalled harmony and richness; prayers; consecration of the elements; administration of the sacrament, which the priest takes every service, and the congregation at will, but at least once yearly; thanksgiving, and the parting benediction; chanting and incense-burning are frequent throughout, and asperging is practised at the commencement and termination. For the greater part of the time the “Royal doors” are closed: the deacons remain before the{185} ikonostas, but now and again some enter the Sanctuary for a short time. From time to time priests and acolytes pass to and fro among the congregation, incensing all the sacred ikons in turn. The voice of the officiating priest is raised within, and is answered in deep tones by the deacons without. Now from some unnoticed corner comes a clear ringing chant from many voices, from another a deep single voice is heard intoning the epistle, or evangel, of the day; then suddenly the Royal doors fly open and a glimpse is obtained of the celebrant through thick rolling clouds of incense; the people prostrate themselves and the doors close.” Later the priest emerges and the service has concluded—to the unorthodox stranger of any creed it has been almost meaningless.

The history of Moscow is so intermingled with that of the Russian Church, and the cathedrals of the Kremlin and private chapels of the palace the scene of so many notable events, that the reader will not need a recountal of the stories concerning the historical characters who have made them famous. Here it will suffice if the minor details to be examined are enumerated, and the tale of the struggle between orthodoxy and dissent succinctly related.

Uspenski Sobor

The Cathedral of the Assumption, formerly known as that of the Patriarchs, originated with the Metropolitan Peter, who said to Ivan “Kalita,” “If thou wishest that my old age be graced with peace, content, and fulness, thou wilt raise on this site a grand temple to our Holy Mother of God, then shalt thou likewise be happy, become the most illustrious of the princes of our age, and thy race powerful throughout the earth.” So in 1326 Ivan erected a fine wooden church, which, in 1472, when the wood buildings were being replaced{186}



by those of stone, was taken down and an attempt made by Russian artisans to build its equal in brick. Before this work was complete the walls fell, and Aristotle of Bologna, who had been entrusted with the removal of the Campanile there, and the repair of the leaning tower of Cento, was ordered to construct the cathedral anew. Aristotle taught the Muscovites how to make larger{187} and harder bricks than the pantiles to which they were accustomed; how to turn an arch and make vaulted roofs. He took as his model for this cathedral the church of the Virgin in Vladimir and used the white stone of Kolomna hewn into rectangular blocks which he fastened together with iron cramps.

Structure.—The foundations are 15 feet below the surface, but the floor of the cathedral was originally seven or more feet lower than at present: height to cupola 128 feet. The walls were strengthened in 1626 after the injury done by the Poles; in 1684 the domes were covered with gilded copper, and the mural decorations restored after the fire of All Saint’s day, 1737, and the French occupation, but otherwise the edifice, is practically as completed in 1497.

The South Porch is closed by the Golden Gates of Korsoun, which were carried from that town to Suzdal, and thence to Moscow—they are actually of coppered iron gilt, divided into twenty compartments exhibiting scenes from biblical history, and below Apollo, Plato, and mythological figures. Before them the Grand Princes of Muscovy were invested with the authority of the Khan by his bashkak during the centuries of the Mongol supremacy. The Royal entrance is by the western doors; the public entrance by those on the north side.

The interior is remarkable for its ikonostas and ikons. The screen is of masonry and descends 10 feet below the surface; it is adorned with frescoes, which may be inspected only when the sacred ikons are removed for that special purpose. The upper range has been recently restored to its condition prior to the French invasion, when the old one was stripped of all its precious metal; the great silver chandelier of 2940 lbs., made in England in 1630, was put in the casting-pot and scales suspended from its place; horses were stabled in the chapel, and tethered to the coffins of the metropolitans. Not content with robbing the sanctuary of its precious metals the French deliberately placed the mannikins from the old suits of armour in the Orujenni Palata as idols in conspicuous positions about the church. The chandeliers are of silver—some 900 lbs. of which in the one from the central cupola is that recovered by the Cossacks from the retreating French: some five tons of precious metal are in the present ikonostas.

The ikons include the most prized Mary of Vladimir attributed to St Luke, which was brought from Tsar Grad—Constantinople{188}—to Kief, taken by Andrew Bogoloobski to Vladimir and brought to Moscow on the Tartar invasion. It is regarded as miraculous, having saved the city from Tamerlane, and on subsequent occasions. Tsars and people alike in past generations have regarded this picture as their Palladium. Of its artistic merits it would be idle to write; black with age and discoloured by the accidents incidental to preservation in an oft burned city, it is as represented in the frontispiece. Completely enveloped, but hands and face, in precious metal and handsome garniture, it exhibits a richness of decoration few articles of vertu can equal; the gems alone being valued at upwards of £100,000, and the great emerald itself at £10,000. The next ikon of importance is that of the Holy Virgin of Jerusalem, which, according to tradition, was the work of the apostles. Taken to Constantinople in the fifth century and to Kherson in the tenth, it came thence to Moscow—but others say, it is but a copy, the original having disappeared during the French occupation. On the right of the royal doors is the image of our Saviour in the golden chasuble, painted by the Greek emperor Manuel, and brought from Novgorod the Great in 1478. By its side is an ikon with most brilliant colouring representing the Assumption, which is said to be the work of the metropolitan Peter, the founder of the church; but if it be not his handicraft is still a remarkable specimen of the ikon painter’s art in Russia of the fourteenth century. These, with others, are all on the lower tier. On the tiers above are usually placed: highest, the Madonna and the Infant Jesus, the fathers of the church in pre-mosaic days, portraits of persons mentioned in Genesis; on the second stage, the prophets from Moses to Jesus Christ; on the third, incidents in the life of the Saviour illustrative of church feasts; on the fourth, portraits of the saints of the orthodox church; on the fifth, the sacred ikons.

Other pictures in the cathedral include portraits of the patriarchs and saints; many frescoes on a gold ground are ranged around the four pillars that support the central cupola; and, on the walls, the martyrdoms of orthodox saints are depicted. A bas-relief, supposed to represent St George slaying the dragon, has been identified by Sneguirev as once part of a triumphal arch the Christians erected in Rome to Constantine the Great.

The Sanctuary has a tabernacle of precious metal (17 lbs. gold and 17 lbs. silver) on the grand altar, which contains the Host and formerly also held a number of important state{189} papers which were transferred to St Petersburg in 1880. Also a large Bible of Natalia Naryshkin set with gems worth several thousand pounds.

The Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul is before the most northern apse, with the tomb of St Peter immediately on the right when entering; just beyond it is that of the metropolitan St Theognitus; on the left are sacred relics: (a) the “Holy Coat” or a portion of the “tunic” worn by the Saviour; (b) a nail of the true cross; (c) the right hand of St Andrew the Apostle; (d) the head of St Gregory the theologian; and (e) the head of St John Chrysostom. The shrines were profaned by Tokhtamysh, and ransacked by the French. Here in olden times the rulers of the principalities in vassalage to Moscow embraced the cross and swore fealty, and here the metropolitans were appointed to their office.

The Chapel of St Dmitri of Thessalonica, called “The Peaceable.” is on the south side of the sanctuary. It contains the oldest tomb in Moscow, that of Yuri, brother of Ivan “Kalita,” and it was in this Chapel that Yuri Glinski, brother of Ivan the Terrible’s mother, was slain.

The Chapel of the Virgin Mary is reached by a flight of steps near the south apse, for it is situated under the southern cupola. There the patriarchs were elected. In its sanctuary are: (a) Copy of the gospels, printed in Moscow and presented to the boy-Tsars, Ivan and Peter, with beautiful initials and rich binding, the work of foreign artisans in the palace; (b) an illuminated psalter of the fifteenth century; (c) an illuminated MS. of the gospels by Russian scribes, 1664; (d) a cross of cypress wood, enclosing a piece of the true cross; (e) cross of the Emperor Constantine; (f) Jasper vases which were ornamented with the Latin cross—they were brought from Novgorod, having belonged to the old monastery there, by Ivan. IV.; (g) a sacramental chalice, which was presented to Monomachus by Alexis Cominus, and is used to the present day for the Holy Oil with which the Tsars are anointed at their coronation.

The Tombs of the Patriarchs are ranged along the western wall; that of Jonas is on the north-west, and near the ikonostas is the shrine of St Philip, murdered in Tver by Maluta Skutarov to please Ivan IV.

The Thrones or stalls of the Tsar and Tsaritsa are situated, the first between the south column and the south wall, the second just before the north column; the large stall in front of the south column is for the Patriarch, and dates from the days of Philaret only. The canopy in the south-western corner is{190} for the “Holy Coat” sent by the Shah Abbas, but this is usually kept in the altar of the north chapel.

It is pretty generally known that the Uspenski Sobor is the State Cathedral; that in it the Tsars of Russia must be crowned; there, too, several have been married, foreign princes have renounced their faith and accepted the orthodox religion prior to marriage with the Royal princesses, and there Peter the Great caused his son Alexis to repudiate his right to succeed to the throne: actually it is the mausoleum of the Patriarchs and heads of the Orthodox Church.

There is nothing in its architecture that demands comment, the external mural pictures are common place, and from the artistic standpoint the work that merits closest attention and highest praise is the open scroll, bent and hammered metal on the lattices of the different shrines, and almost equally good is much of the chiselled, moulded and other decorative metal work on the ikonostas. It is a typical church, richer in precious metal, sacred ikons and holy relics than other churches in Moscow; it is the pious wish of the guardians of the other churches to make theirs even as is this.

Archangelski Sobor

The Cathedral of the Archangel Michael is of even plainer appearance than the Uspenski; its south wall has been propped by a common buttress which, pierced for the lancet windows, gives that side much the appearance of a fortress. Its history is similar to that of the other cathedrals; the first wooden church on the site was erected in the twelfth century. Ivan “Kalita” built it anew as the place of sepulture for himself and his descendants. Ivan III. demolished that church and employed the Italian Aleviso to construct the present edifice, consecrated in 1500. It has suffered severely at different times, especially during the French occupation, when an attempt was made to destroy it by exploding a large quantity of spirit the French brought{191} within for the purpose, but this served only to scatter the tombs, wreck the interior and spring the south wall. The church contains the remains of the princes and all the Tsars of Moscow. The petitions of the people laid upon the tombs of the Tsars were taken and read by Peter I. himself. Most of the religious ceremonies peculiar to this church relate to masses for the dead, and homage paid to the memory of ancestors. It has the usual rectangular form, the four central columns, the five cupolas, which the people think always dedicated to the Saviour and the four evangelists. The chapel on the west side is a later addition—the sole remaining one of four, which existed in the seventeenth century. On the south side is a small chamber which was the izba, or Palace of Justice, and below it are vaulted arches which extend almost the whole length of the Kremlin; the original paving is now some 12 feet below the level of the squares adjoining. Here the Tsar’s gift of money was scattered at his coronation. The most noteworthy objects in the church are: the ikonostas, high, brilliant and sparkling with gems; the excellent metal-work of the shrines; the mural paintings—portraits of the Tsars whose tombs are below, and the richly worked palls over the tombs.

The ikonostas is of five stages; the sacred ikons are: (a) The Virgin “Beneficent,” brought to Moscow by the Tsaritsa Sophia Vitovtovna; (b) the Virgin of Tikhvin, the ikon of the Tsaritsa Maria Nagoi, mother of the murdered Tsarevich, Dmitri; (c) St Basil the Great, near the south wall; (d) St Simeon Stylite.

The tombs of forty-seven princes of the line of Rurik lie upon the floor: though not arranged in chronological order, no difficulty will be found in recognising any one of them. Only one Emperor, Peter II., grandson of Peter the Great, is buried here; those of the Tsars Michael and Alexis Romanof are on the right hand near the first pillar, surrounded by those of their sons and grandsons. Near is the tomb of the murdered Dmitri, whose portrait in gold is hung on the pillar over the coffin.{192} The silver candelabra before it was presented by the inhabitants of Uglitch where he was murdered when but six years old. Vasili, the blind, is buried near the ikonostas; and by his side lies Ivan III., the maker of middle Moscow and uniter of the Russian-lands. Near the first pillar on the left is the tomb of Alexander, Tsar of Kazan: near the second pillar, the Tsarevich Peter, son of Ibrahim, and grandson of Mamotiakov, once Tsar of Kazan. The remains of Ivan the Terrible are near the high altar, a testimony of the forgiving temperament of prelates of the orthodox church. The tomb is covered with a black pall, indicating that he had been received into the church as a monk before his death. Horsey states that persons passing his tomb uttered a prayer that he might never rise again: to this day, twice yearly, a special mass is celebrated invoking forgiveness for that “burden of sins voluntary or involuntary known to themselves or to themselves unknown” committed on earth by those whose bodies are buried within the church. In a side chapel, dedicated to the martyred Tsar, are the remains of Michael Skopin Shooiski, the popular military hero of the “Times of Trouble,” and a bronze shrine covers the remains of Chernigof and his boyard Theodore, martyred by the Tartars.

The decorations are mural pictures, dry frescoes of portraits of the Tsars, the best that of Vasili II. habited as a monk: also illustrations of the Last Judgment, the “Symbol of Faith,” and miracles of the Archangel Michael, which represent Russian pictorial art of the seventeenth century.

The sacristy contains some very beautiful sacerdotal robes presented to officiating priests on state occasions; the gems on the richer sakkos being exceptionally beautiful. There is also an ornate copy of the gospels brought from Novgorod in 1125; it has picturesque portraits of the evangelists, and characteristic illuminated initials; the golden filigree work on the cover is excellent. A psalter of 1594 has elegant marginal decorations. There were also rich crosses of gold and silver—the one that belonged to Ivan IV. with large pearls, best worth examination—reliquaries, and a curious gold chalice some 7 lbs. weight. Many will be more interested in the fine needle and jewelry work on the elaborated palls of which the church has a great many exquisite specimens.

The relics are not numerous: those which formally belonged to the Tsar Alexis are within a reliquary of the cross above mentioned: and a drop of the blood of John the Baptist is shown under a crystal in one of the ikons.


Blagovieshchenski Sobor



The Cathedral of the Annunciation is of a more elaborate and picturesque style than either the Uspenski or the Archangelski, which, in part, may be attributed to the fact that it is more intimately connected with the Royal Palaces than they are. Reached directly by the palace terrace, it is the complement of the Krasnœ Kriltso, and was used for the baptism of the royal children, the confessions of the Tsars, and religious ceremonies of a semi-state character. Its earlier designations{194} were, among others, the “Church of the Grand-Ducal Court,” “Church of the Tsarian Vestibule,” and “Church of the Tsarian Treasury,” which clearly indicate the court uses for which it has been employed. It has nine cupolas; the roof of pointed vaults rising tier above tier is most characteristic of Muscovite architecture, and the entrance is by a flight of steps communicating with a covered gallery which surrounds the church, see page 178. Its early history is that of the others; first, a wooden church erected by Andrew in 1291, rebuilt in 1397; in 1409 the walls decorated with pictures by Rublev; in part demolished by Ivan III., who built again from the first floor up, and, completed in 1482, painted during the reign of Vasili Ivanovich; damaged by the fire of 1547 Ivan IV. restored it, and furnished cupolas covered with the gold he seized at Novgorod. The Poles in 1610 and the French in 1812 both spoiled it, but the last only partially, the fact that most of its treasures had been taken away to Vologda probably misleading them so that they did not make a thorough search for the valuables left within. During its recent restoration the architect found that earlier decorations existed beneath the outer coverings of plaster and paint; they were carefully uncovered and remain exposed.

The entrance is by the northern porch within the railed-off Sobornia Ploshchad; among the first mural paintings on the right are portraits of the ancient philosophers, Aristotle, Plato, Ptolemy, Socrates, Thucydides, Zeno, and others, with lengthy quotations from their writings on tablets they support; beyond, representations of the Saviour and the apostles, these pictures dating from 1771, the year of the great plague. The side posts of the doorways, richly carved, are of early sixteenth century native work—and some of the best specimens now extant. The interior{195} of the church is small, and looks even smaller than it really is owing to an elevated tribune, or gallery, against the west wall, which served for members of the Tsar’s family to participate in the services without being exposed to public view, the Tsar himself being on the ground floor, opposite the ikonostas. The parquet is of Jasper mosaic, a present from the Shah to Alexis. Concerning it, an enthusiastic, travelled native author remarks: “It is a facsimile of a mosaic in St Mark’s, Venice; the only difference being that whereas the floor of St Mark’s is uneven, to represent the ripples of the sea and symbolise that Venice rules on the foaming waves, this is quite regular and uniform, emblematic of the vast steppes of which Moscow is the sovereign.”[D]

[D] This church has the further distinction of being the first supplied with a public clock, which was placed there by Lazarus Serbin, in the seventeenth century. About the south porch the last public discussions were held with dissenters led by the able Pafnuty.

Even more interesting are the old mural paintings, pre-Raphælite in point of time and in the argot of the studio “more than pre-Raphælite” in style. The subjects are biblical: the adventures of Jonah; the mysterious visions recorded in the Apocalypse; the punishment of the damned; the glories of Paradise, with much else that is curious. They are already the joy of a “school” and the admiration of Russian antiquaries. Though crude, unreal, and not a little absurd now, in the long ago, among the uncultured people to whom they were first presented, they cannot have failed to impress beholders powerfully, notwithstanding that their influence upon the art of the time was infinitesimal.

The columns are square, from them hang the chains and jewelled crosses worn by former princes. The ikonostas is of five stages, separated by rails of brass and bronze columns—{196}the precious metals with which it was formerly covered were looted by the French. The more remarkable ikons are (a) one of the Saviour’s agony—a typical specimen of Byzantine work in the fourteenth century; (b) the richly decorated Holy Mother of God, known as the Donski Virgin, because carried by Dmitri at Kulikovo; the ikon only was saved, in 1812, the frame was mistaken by the French for copper and has been repaired; the ornaments are modern, except the eighteen portraits of saints on the margin, which are foreign.

Near the altar are the two crosses of Korsun. There are four chapels on the higher storey; they are quite independent of the church with separate entrances from the gallery. That dedicated to St George is quite modern, but that of the Virgin has one of the most primitive rood-screens to be found in Moscow; on it the ikons are set round with great flat bands of silver; like that of the Saviour, and that of the archangel Gabriel, it quite escaped pillage in 1812. The sacristy—in a small building on the south side—is peculiarly rich in relics, a complete collection of sacred remains brought from Constantinople in 1328. It includes bones of different saints—contained in thirty-two silver and gilt caskets; a reliquary with the sponge used at the Crucifixion of Christ; a portion of the rod with which He was beaten; some drops of His blood; spikes from the crown of thorns; an eight pointed cross, of the wood of the “true cross,” and a fragment of the stone that was rolled away from before the Saviour’s tomb. To them must be added a great number of Russian Tsarian and ecclesiastical antiquities collected in Russia.

Spass na Boru

The church of the Transfiguration, known colloquially as Spass na Boru, St Saviour’s in the Forest, is supposed to be on the site of the first building ever raised on the Kremlin hill—that of the skeet of the hermit who inhabited it prior to the tenth century. The first stone church there dates from 1330; restored in 1380, and rebuilt in 1527, and again restored in 1529, 1554, 1737, and 1856. Still much of its architectural primitiveness has been preserved, but it is typical of a church with monastery attached, as once the case (see page 29). There are now no external{197} mural paintings, but those inside are curious; the small, low belfry is very quaint and the bells now hung there are old foreign bells—among the first brought to Moscow. The central chapel, that of the Transfiguration, is the oldest, the “Royal Doors” are of primitive type. Its sacristy is poor: the relics are those of St Stephen the apostle to the Permians, and some fragments of bones and vestments found during the alterations in the present century. It is best seen in the early morning, a service is held daily, and the church is much visited by those about to marry, for, according to tradition, Sts Yuri, Samon and Aviva, to whom its side chapels are dedicated, are patrons of those whose love affairs do not run smooth. On the higher storey is the chapel of St Stephen the Permian.

Patriarshia Riznitsa

The Church of the Twelve Apostles and Sacristy of the Patriarchs is on the site of a fifteenth century church on the north side of the Uspenski Sobor. It was built by Nikon and is still used in connection with the synod. It is on the second storey, and above it is the Chapel of St Philip—the private chapel of the Patriarchs after Nikon. In the rooms adjoining are kept the Holy vessels, most valuable church plate, and relics of the patriarchs and the Church. Many are contained in the cases arranged round the walls, the others may be inspected on application to one of the attendants—who will expect adin rubl na chaiu—or to those much interested will be shown by the Sacristan, who will explain their use and relate their history. A complete catalogue may be had, but the best account is that of the learned antiquarian, Sabas, Bishop of Mojaisk, whose book is known to all interested in the lore of the Eastern Church; a French translation of it has been{198} published in which the author’s name is spelled “Savva.” Among the more interesting articles of art workmanship are the panagies or jewelled crosses worn by the Patriarchs and others after consecration to their high office.

“Among the objects of greatest antiquity are the sacerdotal robes of the high clergy. They are in the case near the altar; the ‘Omophorium of the sixth Œcumenical Council’ of the catalogue, is said to have belonged to St Nicholas the wonder-worker, Archbishop of Mirliki, and worn by that saint at the Council at Nice: Sabas thinks that it was presented to Alexis by Gregory of Nicea who visited Moscow in 1655, with letters from the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople testifying to its genuineness. It belonged to the Patriarch of Alexandria, who was present at the Assembly of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers of the Church, and, latterly, opinion inclines to its having originated with him. Equally ancient is a mitre, easily recognised from other ‘crowns’ in the case by its pointed shape, similar to those of ancient Byzantium. It was presented to the Tsar Theodore; the donor, Miletius Piga, of Alexandria, wrote that, apart from the gems with which it is adorned and the rich material, its age and reputation, it is to be esteemed above its intrinsic value because taken to the Council at Ephesus by Cyril, in 431. The mitre of the Patriarch Job, 1595, differs from those of later date by reason of its very flat top—the shape of a klobook, hat, or ancient crown—rather than a mitre. The mitres ranged with it were constructed by the directions of Nikon, and equal in richness and other details the royal crowns.

“Of croziers and their equivalents there are many specimens, the most venerated, however, is that of St Peter, by the altar on the Uspenski Sobor,—the staff that passed from pontiff to pontiff through the centuries. There are three of the five in the sacristy of tau shape and beautiful, they belonged to Philaret; the others to Nikon. The processional cross of Nikon has but four points. Of copes there are forty-one; the oldest is that of Peter, the Metropolitan (1322), used afterwards at the consecration of the Patriarchs. The panagia or pyx worn by a bishop, or higher prelate, is often an exquisite piece of jewelry. That catalogued as No. 4 is of onyx, with a superposed layer having the crucifixion in relievo; on the reverse, a Greek cross, the Emperor Constantine and Helena, his mother. It belonged to the Patriarch Job and has a most beautiful setting{199} of Russian enamel and niello work of the sixteenth century. No. 11 is also of onyx, with ruby and pearl decoration, it appertained to Peter. No. 3. is a sardonyx of elaborate workmanship and unusual size; it has a reliquary containing a fragment of the robe of royal purple with which the Saviour was mockingly invested, and is believed to have been produced to the order of Ivan IV. to commemorate the birth of Dmitri. No. 25 contains an emerald of purest water, three-fifths of an inch in diameter. In another is also a fine emerald which weighs 38 carats. There are in addition jewels, rings, seals, cups, goblets, crosses, and other trinkets of the fathers of the Russian Church, and amongst them an object known as the ‘Antik,’ which has puzzled the learned. It is a shell of mother-of-pearl, shaped like a woman’s breast, and on this in fine gold, beautifully enamelled, the Gorgon’s head, the fanged heads of the serpent-locks intertwined and biting each other. It is on a base of rock-crystal, gold encrusted, and the medallions enamelled with representations of different buildings—it has figured in the inventory since 1648, when it had a double case of dark green velvet. The fine collection of church plate is principally of the seventeenth century and later.

“In the adjoining Mirovarennaya Palata, the Holy Chrism is prepared every other year, in strict conformance with the original instruction. It is, when prepared, taken in sixteen silver phials to the Uspenski Sobor and then at a special service during Lent (usually Holy Thursday) consecrated by the Metropolitan, and further hallowed by the addition of a few drops of the oil from the vessel of ‘Alabaster’ in which the Holy Chrism was first brought into Russia from Constantinople, the vessel having never been emptied, since the quantity taken for this purpose is immediately replaced by the addition of that newly made. The ‘Alabaster’ is a long-necked flask of copper, wholly covered with scales of mother-of-pearl, and is supposed to be of the same size and form as that box of ointment Mary Magdalene offered Jesus.

“The library of the Synod contains about one thousand Slavic MSS. on Church rites and copies of the scriptures, many between the seventh and twelfth centuries, and five hundred Greek MSS. of even earlier date. They were got together by the patriarch Nikon for the purpose of comparison, and restoring the ritual of the Russian Church to its original, or at least earlier, rule. The printed books have mostly been removed to other collections, and the MSS. are of interest only to those well acquainted with the rites of the early Christian Church, and such students are readily granted access to them.”


Such a brief account does scant justice to one of the finest and most complete collections of ecclesiastical furniture the world has produced; but, interesting as some of the objects are to all beholders, it is to the student of ecclesiasticism that they will appeal with greatest force. To him also, the technique of ritual; the customs appertaining to the dispersion of relics among newly-built churches and restoration of those injured by time and accident; together with many other matters of Church rule and procedure which find illustration in this collection, should prove both attractive and instructive. Of greater general interest is the story of the struggle between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, the rise of heresy and states of different forms of dissent; that dramatic movement of ecclesiasticism which is world wide, continuous, and of perennial concern to all.

Whatever heresies may have existed in early Russia, with the ascendancy of Moscow these perished, and the prelates had only to guard against the wiles of Rome and to stay its power on the confines of the kingdom. During the reign of Vasili the Blind the unsuccessful attempt of the Metropolitan Isidor to introduce Romish practices intensified the conservatism of the prelates. In 1582, Anthony Possevin, a Jesuit emissary of the Pope, Gregory XIII., had long discussions with Ivan the Terrible in the Granovitaia Palata respecting the union of the Churches. Ivan was outspoken: the emissary returned unsatisfied.

The false Dmitri’s view has already been given: he was overthrown and the supremacy of the orthodox prelates increased by Boris Godunov’s initiation of the Patriarchate. The Tsar Michael and his father Philaret appear to have been always in accord, and then the temporal power of the prelates was equal to that of the sovereign. Alexis, a boy of seventeen, was unfortunate in having as collaborator the sturdy Nikon. After his{201} absence in the war against the Poles he found Nikon, as Veliki Gossudar, a title reserved for the Tsars, absolutely autocratic. The Tsar objected to the use of the title by the Patriarch; Nikon resigned his office, and retired to the Vosskresenki Monastery on the Varvarka, expecting Alexis would seek him, but the Tsar did not visit him nor did he appoint another patriarch. Nikon had already given great offence to the clergy for, attracted by some text on one of the ecclesiastical vestments that had been received from Greece, he recognised a considerable difference between the Greek rendering and that current in Slavonic; prosecuting his investigations further he found many discrepancies and tried in all things to revert to the older practice. His action was construed as the introduction of new procedure—and consequently vigorously opposed—and orthodoxy split into two camps; those who agreed with the head of the Church that the ancient practice was correct and should be introduced and the more conservative who would not depart from that to which they had been accustomed, and it is they who are known as the “Old Believers,” for the alterations proposed by Nikon ultimately became general. Although the Patriarch had resigned he continued to receive the clergy and concern himself with the direction of ecclesiastical affairs. In 1654 he angered the people by going into private chapels and houses and removing all copies of the ikon Nerukotvorenni, “not made with hands,” because unlike the ikons of Mount Athos. The priest visited Moscow, and the people paraded the empty ikon cases and the defaced ikons, attributing to this outrage the plague from which so many suffered, and the clergy then left Moscow in large numbers fearing assault. In 1659 the Tsar’s emissaries informed him that he ought no longer to interfere. He thereupon withdrew from Moscow. In Advent 1664 he suddenly reappeared with{202} many monks at early matins in the Uspenski Cathedral, peremptorily ordered the officiating clergy to perform certain offices. The clergy at once apprised the Tsar, who in turn ordered his boyards to command Nikon to leave the Cathedral. Nikon pleaded that he had been instructed by Jonas in a vision to act as he had done, but the Tsar only repeated the command; he stated then that he had power to heal the sick, but the Tsar was inflexible and Nikon retired. At a council in 1666 he was formally deposed, and withdrew to a distant monastery where he continued his researches; he was pardoned by the Tsar Theodore in 1681 but died whilst on his journey to meet his sovereign.

Joachim, the succeeding Patriarch, opposed Nikon’s innovations, and held tenaciously to the customary practice and attempted to stifle schism by persecuting relentlessly. He forbade Catholics to worship, banished Jesuits, barely tolerated Calvinists and Lutherans, and burned to death Kullman the German mystic for proclaiming false doctrines. When he died in 1690 he besought Peter to drive all heretics and unbelievers from Russia—it is to him that Peter erected the chapel on the Srietenka. As in 1682 and earlier, the “old believers” had been cruelly tortured for not conforming to the innovations of Nikon, more especially the unfortunate and obstinate Boyarina Morozov and her sister Princess Urusov, so with the change of the head of the Church the people were condemned for such acts as they had previously been commended for performing, and now knew not whom to believe. With the accession of Peter to sole power, and the enforcement by him of practices foreign to former habit, the people associated all his innovations with those purely clerical ones which had recently met with opposition and caused persecution and suffering. It was impossible to stamp out opposition, exile but spread the discontent.{203} When Peter quarrelled with the Church, the clergy were unable to cope with the popular reaction against the innovations of Nikon and his disciples. Peter was at last induced to persecute the noncontents, but these, disgusted with his secular innovations, fled into distant parts of the country and even abroad, where for long they were politically an element of grave danger to the state, but, the rule of Nikon was established and the old believers regarded as Raskolniki, or dissenters.

These, under persecution, and lacking adequate direction again split into two sections; one, the popovtsi, or those who acknowledge the priesthood and depend for their clergy upon schismatics from among the orthodox, who after ordination, find their practice preferable.

They are quite insignificant in comparison with the Bezpopovtsi, or those who do not have ordained priests, but are more powerful because united, whereas the bezpopovtsi number as many different brotherhoods as there are distinct dissenting sects in England. The best known among these are the Dukhobortsi, who deny the divinity of the Holy Ghost, strongly oppose civil authority, refuse to pray for their sovereign or the head of the orthodox church, and consider death by starvation or fire, so long as it is self-wrought, to be the highest duty. Nearly akin to them are the terrible Skoptsi or mutilators, and the fanatic Khlysti, or Flagellants, and many others. To the orthodox church all who are not slavopravni are alike. The civil government has always discriminated between the harmless and those whose tenets are opposed to the welfare of the individual and to the commonwealth.

The orthodox regard the discussion as terminated: the Tsaritsa Sophia herself was present in the Granovitaia Palace, at the discussions of the Patriarch with the chief of the Ras Kolniks, a fanatic Nikita. There were stormy scenes; at the close each sect claimed{204} to have the right, and for long afterwards there were frequent discussions between the supporters of both parties, around the porch of the Blagovieshchenski Sobor.



Of the churches of the orthodox, the number in Moscow is indeed great; add to these the cathedrals, the new Xram, chapels, monasteries and convents, and the claim of Moscow to its title of City of Churches will not be questioned. It is quite impossible even to enumerate those worth seeing. Instead take a typical street, say the Nikolskaya in the busiest part of the{205} commercial Kitai-Gorod. It contains the Monastery of the Images, Za-ikono-spassky Monastyr—once, 1679, an academy; Church of the Virgin of Kazan, interesting as founded in 1630 by Prince Pojarski; the Nikolævski Monastyr, Greek, founded in 1556, and in 1669, with two churches; opposite it the old Monastery of the Epiphany, Bogoyavlenni, founded in 1396, with a church to Boris and Gleb and several others of lesser note—a large establishment with an extensive cemetery but the buildings of course modern. The Synodalia Typografiia; the printing house of the Synod, founded in 1645, the façade always painted a light blue, with the lion and unicorn, and other Byzantine decorations, in white. Then near the Vladimirski Vorot, the church to the Virgin, dating from the time of the boy-Tsars, Ivan and Peter, and opposite the second largest monastery, and most often used church in the Kitai gorod, that of the Trinity. In all eleven churches or chapels within less than 200 yards—and that is characteristic of Moscow. Among other tserkvi well worth seeing are:—

Kitai-Gorod. In the Varvarka: St Barb, St George the Martyr, St Maxim the Confessor, and the Monastery of the Resurrection. In the Ilyinka: St Nicholas of the Great Cross, St Elias. Also the Holy Trinity in the Cherkassky, St Anne in the Zariadi, and of the Virgin of Georgia, but St Ipatius is in the Ipatievski, and St Nicholas near the Moskvretski Bridge.

Bielo-Gorod. The Srietenka, built by John Taylor; All Saints, the Transfiguration, and the Manifestation.



Moscow of the Citizens

“Fair Moscow crowned: now towering high
And, seated on her throne of hills,
A glorious pile from days gone by.”

PETER “THE GREAT” who is credited with having created the history of Russia did little for Moscow, a town he, after his travels abroad, always despised and constantly distrusted. He evicted the last private owners from the Kremlin, and spoiled its palaces and treasures, but took no measures to enhance its beauty or increase its wealth. It is customary to date progress and civilisation from his reign; an anonymous Russian poet has even written:

“Russia and Russia’s strength lay hid in dreary night;
God said ‘Let Peter be’—straightway they burst to light,”

but, so far as Moscow is concerned, his coming would be more truthfully regarded as of the nature of an eclipse than as the harbinger of light. Probably his reputation is due to the prominence of his person in western Europe—where it is customary to mistake renown for greatness—rather than his achievements.

Peter forsook Moscow, left her to the Church, which he served badly—and to her citizens, whom he treated even worse. Benevolence was foreign to his character; he could not mould Moscow to his ideal—if a passing whim can be so termed—but before he realised his{207} impotence in this, he became brutal and fierce. He quarrelled with the Church, cruelly ill used his wife—whom he forsook eventually, shamefully treated his blood-relations—even torturing his half-sisters himself, and was to his subjects such a father as he proved to his own unfortunate son Alexis, who was done to death at his hands; in all these things behaving so savagely that even the strongest were awed into hypocrisy. The citizens of Moscow considered themselves the children of the Father of the people—the Tsar who lived in the Kremlin—who cared for them and never ceased to be anxious for their welfare. He alone was responsible for their direction, with him was the Church, they knew not how to act independently. The streltsi, the fighting men, the armed citizens, were first of the Moscow townsmen to act of their own initiative, but they were disciplined men who trusted their leaders—even when betrayed.

Peter exterminated the streltsi, the men who first of all his subjects had supported his claims and protected his rights; it is in connection with the streltsi that Peter is most enduringly associated with Moscow. The scenes of that long struggle were, for the most part, enacted outside the Kremlin; in the Kitai-Gorod of the merchants, in the Bielo-Gorod of the freemen, in the sloboda of the foreign settlers, and the Preobrajenski quarter where Peter was reared. It is this Moscow that has suffered most from the invader and from fire; its memorials of antiquity are few, those appertaining to Peter the Great and his time may be counted on the fingers of one mutilated hand. The most conspicuous marks are those of the Church. Continuing by that route indicated in the last chapter, on issuing by the Valdimirski Gate from the Kitai-Gorod, the road north is the Big Lubianka, running along the crest of the hill towards the old village of{208}



Kuchko, long since incorporated with the town; on the right hand is the palace of that Count Rostopchin who ordered the destruction of Moscow in 1812; on the left at the corner of the Kuznetski Most is the old church, set apart from time immemorial for the benediction of fruit. As an old writer states, “the Mahommedans would as soon eat pork as a Russian unconsecrated apples.” Further on, also on the left is the old monastery of the Srietenka (Meeting), founded by Vasili Dmitrivich in gratitude of the deliverance of Moscow threatened by the Tartars under Tamerlane in 1397; rebuilt by Theodore II.{209} and containing a chapel to the Patriarch Joachim, constructed by Peter I. in 1706. It has two other old churches, one dedicated to St Nicholas, and the other to the Egyptian Virgin Mary, neither of particular interest. This is a part of Moscow longest inhabited by the peasant class, and continuing on past the boulevard, which marks the old wall of the Bielo-Gorod, the Srietenka traverses the Zemliaa Gorod, or earthen town, until the Sadovia is reached, where was once the by no means formidable rampart of the outer wall; beyond this the Miaschanska continues the road to the Kammer College earth rampart at the Krestovski-Zastava. Beyond that is the highway to Ostankina, the Marina Roshcha, and the village of Mordva. The eighteenth church passed after leaving the Grand Square is dedicated to the Trinity and is remarkable for a number of small shops within its walls, the windows but a couple of feet high and the ceiling so near the pavement that buyers have to stoop or kneel to bargain. An old order forbids that shops be within a church, and a more recent one, any without it. These being neither within nor without continue unmolested. In this district the Streltsi were living at the close of the seventeenth century, and a little further on is the Sukharev Bashnia, Peter’s memorial to the fidelity of a regiment of the force he exterminated. It is a curious pile: an octagonal tower rises 200 feet above the roadway over high archways and a large two-storeyed gallery above them. The beholder who is told that this is like a ship will possess the credulity of Polonius if he assent; but actually Peter modelled it as a ship to serve for the elementary instructions of his future sailors. As all know, Peter derived his idea of ships from the Dutch, but even that explains little and leaves much to the imagination. As remote is the connection of Sukharev with ships{210} and the sea, so if not exactly a suitable monument for an officer of Moscow’s soldiery it was what Peter thought would serve his purpose better than any other design. Its closest connection with ships is at present; as a water tower it is not wholly useless still. Its architecture is not remarkable, a mixture of Lombard with Gothic that might have resulted from copying the Vosskresenski Gate and substituting a tall straight tower for the ornate Gothic spires then the fashion in Moscow. Considered a ship—the tower is the mast, the rooms below are supposed to resemble the poop-deck and quarter-galleries of an old man-of-war. The entrance is by a flight of steps from the Srietenka; in the large room a number of Moscow youths were instructed in arithmetic by a Scotch schoolmaster named Farquharson, and two Christ Church scholars, Gwynne and Graves, whom Peter held practically as prisoners there. Sometimes these pupils were taken to St Petersburgh to drive piles for foundations of the new town, at others they were exercised in elocution and deportment that they might the better represent comedies for the diversion of the Court.

The teachers of the school knew nothing of Russian and the scholars only their native tongue—such was Peter’s way. Unhappy the scholars

Зане разумъ весь собралъ и чинъ
Природный русскій, не нѣмчинъ.[E]
[E] “Stolid, forlorn, mum and glum,
Being Russian born—not deaf and dumb.”

It is said a lodge of Freemasons used once to meet in a room of the tower, and there not only were “black arts” practised but Peter convened secret meetings of the State Council, a sort of Star Chamber. The society of “Neptune” really consisted of Lefort{211} the Swiss General, Archbishop Theofan, Admiral Apraxin, Farquharson, Bruce, and Princes Cherkassky, Galitzin, Menshikov, and Sheremetiev. Those in fact who were for westernising Russia.

The story of the Streltsi and the part they played in the history of Moscow is worth telling. They originated with the oprichniks of Ivan the Terrible: transformed into a sort of hereditary militia, they fought for Moscow when called upon, and in return were allowed to reside tax free, to trade, to keep shops, mills and ply various handicrafts. Their commandants tried to make serfs of them. When some complained that the colonel of one regiment was keeping back half the pay, Yazikov, the chief of the commanders, ordered these petitioners to be flogged so as to teach them not to complain of those in authority over them. Three days before Theodore II. died, they accused Griboiedov of extortion, cruelty and withholding pay and forcing them to work for him housebuilding, even during Easter week. This complaint reached Dolgoruki: he ordered the messenger to be flogged, but as the man was led away he called to his fellows, “Brothers, I was but obeying your orders,” thereupon they attacked the guard and released him. Complaints became general: it was practically a revolt of the armed citizens the government had to fear. For the moment it yielded. Griboiedov was ordered to Siberia, but after only a day’s imprisonment reinstated. The Streltsi became alarmed. On the death of Theodore they, among themselves, took the oath of fealty to Peter. Sophia and her advisers intrigued and split the Streltsi. One regiment under Sukharev remained faithful to the secret oath, to Peter, the Naryshkins and Matvievs: the others demanded and received their colonels whom they flogged—Griboiedov with the knout, the others with rods—their property was confiscated, and the claims of the Streltsi paid. The Sukharev regiment took Peter and his mother to the Troitsa Monastery for safety, and it is in commemoration of this action that the Tower was built.

The real cause of the later conflict arose from a deeper trouble, the struggle for the throne between the children of Alexis by his first wife, and Peter the eldest of those by his second. Ivan was weak, but his sister Sophia, with her lover Galitzin and a court following opposed to the innovations to be expected of{212} Naryshkins’ friends, supported him most loyally. The Streltsi insisted that Peter should reign conjointly with Ivan and carried their point, but Sophia, as regent, was entrusted with certain powers. Both princes were crowned in 1682, but, owing to intrigues, the court was divided into two factions—the supporters of Ivan and Sophia, of Peter and the Matvievs. The Khovanskis were accused of compassing the death of Theodore, and beheaded. Doubts as to Peter’s parentage were expressed; the trouble made previous to the marriage of Natalia was remembered; others declared that Peter was a changeling, really the son of Dr Van Gaden. Peter himself, according to the picture of his patron saint painted on a board his exact size on the day of birth, was then some twenty inches long by five and a half broad. Moreover, there was a doggerel song of the period:

“What luck, oh, what joy! To the Tsar has been given
A heir, aye, a boy! sent us from heaven!
’Tis wondrous! ’tis rich! With laughter and mirth,
Great Peter Alexevich, first lord of the earth!”

Peter is said once to have met his reputed father, a rough haunter of taverns in the foreign suburb. Throwing him roughly to the ground Peter determined to learn whether or not he was his father. “Batuch ka! How should I know—I was not the only one,” the fellow is reported to have answered; but it was only a stale and salacious witticism of the sort Peter loved—certainly not evidence. The struggle was further complicated by camps of orthodox and dissenters. It was fought to the bitter end by Sophia on behalf of her mother’s children, against Peter who was only her father’s son; on behalf of herself too, for she had a lover, and no liking for the seclusion of the cloisters to which the daughters of the orthodox Tsars were{213} relegated because they were of too high birth to wed with their father’s subjects, and their faith—which they were not allowed to relinquish—an effectual barrier to matrimony with a foreign prince. At first the revolt of the Streltsi had little political significance beyond the fact that it was the forcible demand of a part of the citizens for common justice.

For seven years Sophia directed the affairs of state with more or less success; Ivan was simply her tool, with Peter she had greater trouble, and in 1689, after a quarrel with her, he withdrew from Moscow and went to Troitsa. A large party followed him. Sophia feared revolt and appealed to the people in an eloquent address of three hours’ duration.

“Wicked people have sown the seeds of discord; have made my brother Peter believe his life is in danger. Do not credit such rumours. Do not allow these to lead astray those faithful to the throne: they will torture such until they can no longer endure, and nine persons will denounce nine hundred. You know how I have directed the affairs of this state for seven years; have made a glorious peace with Poland, and worsted in battle the Turks and infidels; how I have always thought of your needs and striven for your welfare. As I have already done so shall I continue.”

Sophia thought she had won over the crowd; instead this speech lost her the support of influential leaders. When Galitzin left Moscow there was a general rush of the people to Peter; then her friends were seized by his order and she tried to escape to Poland, but was captured and imprisoned in the Novo Devichi Convent where she was forced to take the veil as Susannah, and lived in strict confinement until 1704. Ivan was thrust aside; Peter usurped the throne, his weakly half-brother surviving until 1696. Then Peter married Eudoxia Lapukhin, daughter of a boyard. Trouble next arose when Peter, against the advice of nobles and clergy, went abroad and worked like{214} a slave under foreign rulers; it was considered sacrilege of God’s anointed so to do, and of its impolicy there were soon signs, and Peter hurriedly returned to stamp out discontent. He had found a new love, one Anna Mons, a German in Moscow, and would have married her but she slighted him and took one of her own countrymen; his wife he refused to see, accusing her of “certain thwartings and suspicions.” He wished also for proof of Sophia’s connection with the discontent amongst the Streltsi and people; in this, notwithstanding all his energy and cruelty, he was unsuccessful.

“Peter on his return reopened the inquiry, and fourteen torture chambers were conducted under his surveillance in the Preobrajenski suburb. The fires were never allowed to burn down, nor the gridirons on which his victims were charred to become cool either by night or day. A most compromising letter from Sophia to the Streltsi is generally considered to be a forged document, made up of stray, incoherent scraps of information wrung from maddened creatures in the torture chamber. Whereas fifteen blows with the knout were equal to a capital sentence, one of the Streltsi was put to the torture seven times and received in all ninety-nine blows, yet confessed nothing. Korpatkov, unable to bear his tortures, killed himself. Others of the Streltsi having been put to the strappado, flogged, and burnt without getting any accusations; the wives, sisters and female relatives of the Streltsi were tortured; so were the ladies and sewing women in attendance on Sophia. Still no evidence was forthcoming. Then Sophia herself was put to the torture, Peter doing the hangman’s work. She never wavered in denying all connection with the movement. Her younger sister, Marfa, was then strung up in turn and all that could be learned of her was that she had apprised her sister Sophia of the return of the Streltsi to Moscow and of their desire to see her rule re-established. Peter was unwearying in his attendance in the torture chambers, and it is said [F] took a fiendish delight in the agony his own wrought cruelties produced on his relatives, but when he failed to obtain evidence he determined to punish indiscriminately. The executions of the Streltsi, like those of Ivan the Terrible’s victims, were in{215} wholesale fashion. Five were beheaded just outside the torture chamber by the Tsar Peter himself; the courtiers of his bodyguard he commanded to do the same, thinking doubtless they would enjoy the shedding of blood even as he did. Two foreigners alone refused to comply with this order. Some 200 Streltsi were crucified, impaled or hanged before Sophia’s windows in the Novo Devichi Convent: but most were executed in the Grand Square under the wall of the Kremlin, viz.:—

200 onSept.30th, 1698

“On some occasions a tree was used as a block; the victims placed in rows along it, and their heads struck off by men of Peter’s new guard. Others were hanged; as late as 1727 the heads stuck on pike points stood round the Lobnœ Mesto. In January 1699 came more enquiries, more tortures, more executions, and then the extermination of the Streltsi determined upon. There was a break from 1699 to 1704 as Peter required the remaining Streltsi to aid in the wars against Swedes and others, but after the revolt in Astrakhan, the executions were renewed. Stragglers and deserters from the corps, those related to them and who associated with them, were placed under a ban—they might not be employed by anyone; none might give them food, shelter, or assistance. They perished miserably. In such manner did Peter exterminate the old Muscovite militia.”

[F] Kostomarov, vol. ii. p. 516.

Peter’s cruelties, like those of Ivan Groznoi, did not pass unnoticed by the Church. His treatment of the Streltsi called forth a fierce denunciation from the Patriarch Adrian, who “beseeched him in the name of the Mother of God to desist.” “Get thee home!” answered Peter, “I know that I reverence God and his most Holy Mother; more, perhaps, than thou dost thyself. It is the duty of my sovereign office, and a duty I owe to God, to punish with the utmost severity crimes that threaten the general welfare.” Unfortunately{216} the Church had been deprived of its privilege of intercession for the life of one accused, and Peter cared nought for the spiritual power of the Church, as already stated. He even with his own hand killed two priests, but afterwards expressed contrition. The Church regarded him almost as anti-christ; the citizens dreaded him and kept out of his way. “The nearer the Tsar the greater the danger,” a proverb of that time was believed in by all. Peter had his proverb also, “the knout is no angel but teaches men to speak the truth,” and even as Ivan did, he went constantly in fear of conspiracies, chiefly dreading his own relations. Eudoxia, now the nun Helena in a convent at Suzdal, was believed to have corresponded with Dositheus an Archimandrite who had predicted, or prayed for, Peter’s death. Glebov was the intermediary in the matter; he was impaled; the prelate was broken on the wheel; a brother of the ex-tsaritsa was tortured and beheaded; thirty others were executed or exiled, and Eudoxia herself flogged and confined in an isolated convent at New Ladoga. Peter, when there were no more conspirators, or accused, offered a bribe of six roubles to all who made secret accusations, and threatened with severe penalties any who held back information. The better to protect his informers from reprisals by the people, they went through the streets with their faces veiled, in order to search for those whose names they did not know, but whom they had overheard in indiscreet speech. The people hid away when “the tongue,” as the masked informer was called, was abroad in the streets, and for days the city would appear to be quite deserted.

“Peter was hairless and decreed that those who could grow beards should not be allowed to wear them. Ivan Naumov was flogged because he would not shave; 100 roubles was the ordinary fine for wearing a full beard, and many paid the{217} tax repeatedly rather than submit to Peter’s order. These had also to wear a badge with the legend ‘a beard is a useless inconvenience,’ and pay a fine whenever passing the Redeemer Gate. There is a touch of irony in the fact that Peter died of a chill which, may be, the full beard of a Moscow Otets would have prevented. Although Peter was epileptic, he had no mercy for those who suffered similarly. A woman, who in addition to this infirmity was also blind, was put to the torture for disturbing a congregation. A tipsy man had thirty lashes with the knout for committing the like offence. A woman who found strange chalk marks on a barrel of beer in her cellar, knew not what they meant, nor did any one else; but she was put to the torture, and died under it because unable to decipher them. Those whom Peter wished specially to honour he made hangmen. An old boyard who liked not salad, as ‘sour things did not agree with him,’ was made to empty a large bottle of vinegar by Peter; and a Jewess in his company who declined to drink to the extent Peter wished, was there and then beaten by him and made to drink much more.”

It was an unequal struggle: a powerful autocrat attempting to force a proud, stubborn people from the habits they had been taught to revere, from practices that had made their city great and beautiful. The more successful Peter became the greater was the opposition. His courtiers wore wigs at court, as commanded, but even in the throne room removed them immediately Peter was out of sight. After ten years Peter knew that he could not conquer the Muscovites though he might kill them. As late as 1722, when he had ordered all ladies above ten years of age to appear at a reception, only seventy of the hundreds qualified did as commanded. At St Petersburg it was different. There, no feeling of shame, no loss of dignity followed the, to Moscow citizens, most ridiculous behaviour of westerns. Peter’s son Alexis, the Tsarevich, preferred Moscow and Muscovite customs: in him Moscow trusted, and for this Peter hated him. His friends wished him to enter a monastery until his father’s death and then “as{218} they cannot nail the cowl to one’s head,” throw it off and assume the crown. He did not, and his boast to forsake St Petersburg and reinstate Moscow enraged Peter who, from that time, never ceased to search for conspiracies, prompted by, or on behalf of Alexis, and persecuted his son unmercifully. As all knew the young man was lured to St Petersburg by his mistress, who was lavishly rewarded for her perfidy by Peter, and that there he was repeatedly put to the torture, more than once with Peter himself as executioner, and that he died mysteriously one day after being “put to the question,” i.e. tortured, earlier in the day by a party of whom his father was one.



The Matviev’s lived in that part of the city just outside the Kitai-gorod, where Alexis had settled a number of little Russians from the newly-acquired territory, the Ukraine. The Marosseika preserves the name of this settlement, and passing up it from the Lubianski Ploshchad, leaving All Saints’ church on the right, Armianski, a street on the left, will soon be reached. There, a couple of hundred yards along, on the left is the old parish church of St Nicholas, built by{219} Mikhail Theodorovich, contiguous to the house of the Matviev’s and the Tsarista Natalia, where is now the tomb of the old voievode—a mean mausoleum, in the classic style. The church shows but few traces of western influence: it is of two storeys like most of the churches of the seventeenth century and is surrounded with a gallery, formerly open, but now glazed between the pillars. Near by is the Lazarev Institute, for the study of eastern languages, and peeping over the trees will be seen the green domes and pink belfry of the Monastery of St John Chrysostom, with five churches of which the oldest was founded by Ivan Vasilievich in 1479; the entrance is from the Zlato-ustinski pereulok. Opposite the Armianski is the Kosmo-Damianski pereulok, with the Lutheran Church founded in 1582 by the Englishman Horsey for the foreign colony.

Continuing along the Marosseika, past the Church of the Assumption (p. 89), an interesting church will be found on the right, that of the Pokrovka (Protection), and further along the same street, where it changes its name to the Basmannia, the church of Vasili Ivanovich built in 1517 and reconstructed in 1751, to which latter date its architecture belongs. Turning into the Sadovia on the left, in the Furmanni pereulok, the second on the left, will be found the oldest large house in Moscow, the residence of Prince Usupov, quite in the style of the early seventeenth century. The entrance is from the Charitonievski Boulevard, the next turning on the left. The whole of this district suffered much from the fires of past centuries and only such buildings as these isolated churches and houses in their own courtyards escaped the general conflagration. A little further along the Sadovia is the “Krasnœ Vorot” or Red Gate to mark the old tower on the outer wall. It was built as a triumphal arch for the Empress Elizabeth on her coronation, when tables spread with{220} viands for the people reached from there to the Kremlin wall. The French made it a butt for musketry practice, using sacred ikons for a bull’s eye.

Architecture of a different type is to be found in that residential quarter of the city between the Kremlin and the Prechistenka Boulevard. Behind the Riding School is the Mokhovaia, a street to which front both Universities and the Dom Pachkov, an old mansion in which is stored the Rumiantsev art collection and museum of antiquities. The entrance is in the Vogankovski pereulok, near the Znamenka.[G] It contains:—

(a) Foreign ethnological museum.

(b) The Dashkov ethnographical collection of Slavic antiquities; life size figures of the races inhabiting Russia; in another hall of Slavic races inhabiting Austrian and other adjacent lands.

(c) Mineralogical collection.

(d) Zoological collection; includes mammoth and Muscovite and Siberian fossils.

(e) Slav and Christian antiquities, consisting mostly of early specimens of eastern iconography from Mount Athos, and archæological fragments. They are in four rooms on the upper storey, and one ikon of Mosaic is particularly interesting, as are also many of the specimens of Byzantine and Muscovite enamel and niello, including an eleventh century Gold Cross.

(f) Picture Galleries.—Copies of Flemish, Spanish, Italian and other schools, and the Pryanichnikov collection of Russian artists, of which the best are: 1-10 by Ivanov; 42, 43, Chiernakov; 65, by Repin; 157, 158, Aviazovski, and 201-203, Chedrin.

(g) Manuscripts and early printed Slav books, some very beautifully illustrated. This section is closed during July and August.

(h) Library of 200,000 standard works, and old prints and engravings.

[G] Open daily, 11 till 3; free on Sundays; 20 kopecks entrance on other days.

The Russian school is seen to better advantage on the south side of the Moskva river, in the Tretiakov Galleries (Lavrushenski pereulok; open daily, 10 to{221} 4, except Mondays; admission free, catalogue in French, 20 kopeeks), a collection made by the brothers Paul and Sergius Tretiakov, and now the property of the town. Most of the pictures are modern by native artists; views of Moscow and of the historical and interesting buildings in the town are by no means numerous. Apparently Russian artists have not yet discovered that the Kremlin, as seen from across the river, is as good a subject as is the Piazza San Marco at Venice, or any other hackneyed city scene in Europe.

Most noteworthy among the paintings illustrating the history of Moscow are:—The murder of Alexis by Ivan the Terrible, by J. E. Repin (No. 782); a portrait of the same Tsar, by V. N. Vasnetsov (No. 966); The Execution of the Streltsi, by B. J. Surikov (No. 737); St Nikita, the impostor, before the Tsarina Sophia, by B. G. Peroff (No. 733), and the same Tsarina in the Novo devichi Convent during the execution of the Streltsi, by J. E Repin (No. 761). Some of the ancient customs and costumes of Moscow are represented in No. 808, A Boyard Wedding, by C. B. Lebedev, and No. 1367, The Handsel of Innocence, by Polenov—an excellent specimen of this painter’s best work, who does not show to advantage in his views of the Terem (Nos. 1356-1366) and church interiors (Nos. 1349-1355). Instructive also are the sketches Nos. 304-307, made by V. G. Schwartz to illustrate Count A. Tolstoi’s novel “Prince Serebrenni,” and 308-312, those made to Lermontov’s “Bread Seller.”

Notable pictures taken from scenes in Russian history are:—The Battle of Igor Sviatoslaf’s son against the Polovsti (No. 950), by V. M. Vasnetsov; The “Black Council,” held during the rebellion of monks at the Solovetski Monastery in 1666, by S. D. Miloradovich (No. 742); Peter the Great questioning his son Alexis, by N. N. Gay (No. 636); The Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861, by G. G. Myassoiedov (No. 495), and No. 252, by C. D. Flavitski, the imprisonment of Princess Tarakanov in the fortress of Sts. Peter and Paul, during a rise of the Neva—a sensational incident the truth of which was questioned and disproved, when this picture was exhibited at Paris in 1867. The incident represented in No. 394 by N. B. Nevref, the enforced taking of the veil by the Princess Usupov, was of such common occurrence in mediæval Russia, that no question as to its possibility need be raised. Some of{222} the best of the war pictures of Vereshchagin are in this collection, and other painters have contributed works illustrating the French invasion, and more recent events, in a style quite as original and striking as that of the Russian artist best known in western Europe. In all the subject appears to be far more suggestive and interesting than the craftsmanship. This is often weak, or worse, an unsatisfactory imitation of the most impressive methods of the modern French school.

Religious pictures are numerous and good: N N. Gay is represented in forty-six works which include “The Morning of the Resurrection” (641), “The Remorse of Judas” (642), “The Judgment” (643), “Golgotha” (645), “What is Truth?” (640), and “Christ in Gethsemane” (634). Several of his studies of “Christ on the Cross” may be compared with the work of T. A. Bronnikov, “Campus Scleratus” (461). The conventional style of “Ikon” painting is evident in Nos. 727-730 by M. B. Nesterov, more particularly in the pictures illustrating the life of St Sergius. No. 739, by B. J. Surikov, represents the Boyarina Morosov being removed from among the dissenting sect she did so much to establish.

The lighter, merrier, and more general life of the Russian people is shown in a far greater number of pictures. Pryanichnikov has humour as well as style (416-432), in 542, Maximov shows the arrival of the “wizard” at a village wedding; 682 is an every day village scene representing the homage paid to the ikon on its visits; Yarochenko (701) shows the transport van with its exiles committed for life and the free birds of the air mocking them. Repin depicts truthfully the happy life of the peasants; 766, a dance, 781, “The Unexpected Return,” 797, St Cene. In the same vein are also 857, Lebedev “Farings”; 863, Korovin, The Common Council; 775, 776, Answer of the Zaporogians to Mahomet’s ultimatum; 1221-1224, the Second-hand market at Moscow, and 1256, An Evening’s Amusement, are by V. G. Makovski; The Emigrants, No. 1520, by S. B. Ivanof, is depressing, but in 930 Madam A. L. Rievski shows in “A Moment of Gaiety” the true character of the peasant.

In the streets Znamenka and Vozdvigenka are some characteristic Russian mansions of the eighteenth century, for it was then that this quarter, which had formerly been inhabited by palace servants and craftsmen, began to take a more aristocratic character. That of Prince Sheremetiev is the most bizarre; there also is the old{223}



town hall and the Foreign Archives. In various parts of the town, even on the south side in the Kaloujskaya, will be found modern mansions, that is, erected or rebuilt since the great fire, in the style of the Moscow of the golden age. One of the best is the Dom Chukina near the Tverskaya Triumfalnia—a monument no visitor can escape seeing. But there is no long street without one or more buildings which attract the attention of the stranger by some idiosyncracy of form or colour. No matter in which direction one may go—in the bustling Kitai-Gorod, the quiet and aristocratic Ostogenka, or the bourgeois Zamoskvoretski—soon will be seen some interesting fane reaching above the buildings that flank the street, and a portal distinguished by its cross and ikon indicate the entrance to the sacred enclosure of{224} some monastery, where, amidst leafy foliage and bright verdure, is quiet and seclusion like that of the oasis of the Temple amidst the dreary turmoil of London’s vastness. Take that very ordinary street, the Nikitskaya for example; it is wholly common place, wedged in between districts devoted to ordinary commerce, and the chilling respectability of moderate affluence, and leads nowhere in particular. Yet even its name is interesting; did it obtain it from the worthy founder of the Romanof dynasty? or from the religious fanatic who argued points of ritual with Sophia and the Patriarch? or from St Nikita, the saint who shut up Satan in a jar and released him only on stipulated and agreed conditions?

It starts from the Alexander Gardens, the old western bank of the stream Neglinnaia that once strengthened the defences of the Kremlin; passes the entrance to the riding school, one of the great things Moscow has produced since the fire of 1812. The length of this building is 360 feet, breadth 168, and its wooden roof, unsupported by perpendicular stanchions, was considered a wonder of the world, when Alexander first manœuvered 2000 infantry, and 1000 cavalry beneath it. Then come the Universities, the old and the new, one on each hand; beyond, on the left, is the Nikitsky Monastery, enclosing four churches, one dating from the founding of the monastery in 1682, at the end of the “golden age.” On the opposite side is the Academy of Science, on this the Conservatorium, facing it a quaint old church of primitive architecture and diminutive size; above its lowly belfry rears the square brick-built tower of an English Church. The house of a boyard here, of a prince there, bear names of note in Moscow’s history, as Gagarin, Galitzin, Chernichev, designate the owners of the houses on either side, and of the side streets{225} to right and left. The further from the Kremlin, the centre, the more frequent and greater the inducement to turn aside to inspect more closely the glittering and gaudy domes of churches, old and new, which are thickly sprinkled over the whole district. Nor can the stranger easily do amiss whichever way he turns. If towards the left, a curious lofty belfry of open masonry will repay careful scrutiny, and reveal close by other domed and pinnacled temples, lost amidst this multitude of white walls and luxuriant verdure. If to the right, two churches in close proximity, of unique design and, probably, oppressive colouring, will encourage to further explorations in the same direction.

The oldest churches in the neighbourhood of the Arbat are, Boris and Gleb, 1527; Tikhon, the wonder-worker, 1689; but the Church of the Transfiguration is one of the most beautiful. In the Povarskaya, is that of St Simon Stylite, 1676, and near, another interesting church—Rojdestvenka.

Probably Moscow does not charm so strongly by reason of any particular building or style as by the great diversity of its houses and churches, both in design and colouring. More especially in those quarters where the wooden log-houses still linger in their gardens, and where the frame-houses are all made gay with white, cream, blue-gray, yellow and pink body colour, and the roofs of dark green or still darker crimson; there Moscow seems to belong to another world. It is, alas, disappearing fast, and the spacious courtyards, with their trees and the gardens gay with giant lilacs and golden-chain, are being built on, and houses that stand shoulder to shoulder in plain and hideous uniformity level up the largest village to the standard of a modern town made in Germany.

There is another aspect of Moscow which the{226} summer visitor can never know. That comes when the thermometer falls from its summer average of 64.9° F. to its winter average of 14° F. This difference of 50° explains much that appears wanton in the architecture of buildings great and small; accounts for the galleries round the outside of the churches, for the extensive vestibules; for thick walls, still thicker roofs, and great spouts; for the plain surfaces and lack of projecting decorations, gargoyles and angular mouldings; for the distempered walls, which alone successfully stand the biting frosts of winter and the blistering summer sun.

With the change to winter temperature a great quiet comes over the town, wheeled traffic is stopped, sledges glide over the frozen roads, and from the windless sky the great snowflakes can ever be seen idly and slowly floating in their long and leisurely descent to earth. A reddened sun appears for a short time each day in a leaden sky, and Moscow lives, is more active, more itself, than when the light of summer decks its walls and pinnacles in holiday garb. But at whatever season studied, Moscow will reveal traces of the past; will show that she has long smiled under the summer sun of good fortune and been wrinkled by the winter of adversity; scorched, too, by the volcanic fire of her own excesses, but now staid, hoary, strenuous, and of surprising vitality in all—Это матушка Москва.{227}


Ancient Customs and Quaint Survivals

“The customs are so quainte
As if I would describe the whole
I feare my penne would fainte.”
G. Turberville (1568).

STRANGE and unaccountable to the men of the Elizabethan age were the manners and customs of the Muscovites; at this day, some of the things these early visitors minutely described seem scarcely credible.

In many ways the life of the old boyards was not unlike that of their Tsar. They fought and worshipped and maintained state; bought, sold and sought wealth even as he did. There remain at least two old houses of boyards in Moscow. One, the Potieshni Dvorets in the Kremlin, formerly the dwelling of the Miloslavskis, is at the present time chiefly useful as indicating the architecture of a Russian house in mediæval times; and that only so far as the exterior is concerned, for the internal arrangements have been so many times altered as to bear now but little resemblance to a typical dwelling of the seventeenth century. The other house, the Palata Romanovykh, or Dom Romanof, was at one time the dwelling of the Romanof family and has been restored to as nearly as possible resemble the state in which it was when the Tsar Michael was elected to the throne in 1613. It is situated in the{228} Varvarka, contiguous to the spot on which the English factory stood, and in addition to being a museum of minor antiquities serves well to illustrate some of the habits of the nobles of Moscow in the sixteenth century, for the house belonged to Nikita Romanof, grandfather of the Tsar Michael, who himself gave the house in which his own father was born to the adjoining monastery. Incorporated with those buildings, it shared their vicissitudes; was injured by fire repeatedly, altered, added to, then spoiled and sacked by the French.

It is not a large house: the frontage to the Varvarka is scarcely sixty feet and built on sloping ground it presents but one storey to this street. The principal entrance was from its own courtyard, where the south front presents four storeys looking over the Moskva (v. page 108).

The ground floor is of undoubted antiquity; brick built, plastered and painted. On this foundation is reared the wooden house in the true Russian style. The low clock tower over the entrance has for a weather vane, a griffin, the arms of the Romanofs; the windows are small, ogival, and glazed with mica panes.

It is impossible that in so small a house there could have been any accommodation for the multitude of retainers and body servants a boyard had always about his house. These lived in separate dwellings around the courtyard. The ground floor of Russian houses consisted of cellars and storerooms. In these vaults were kept: wine, mead, kvas, ice, frozen and salted meats and fish. The next storey in this house consists of kitchens and domestic offices—in a house not built upon sloping ground, these would be on the ground floor. The first floor, the Bel étage, which, in all old Russian buildings—houses, churches and shops—is reached by steps very similar to those from the{229} courtyard to the Varvarka street level in the Dom Romanof.



Entering the vestibule from the Varvarka, on the right are two small rooms, one for the use of attendants the other now fitted as a nursery, but undoubtedly originally an ante-chamber. The largest room on this floor is called Krestovaia, or Chamber of the Cross. It was the state-room. Here the boyard received the priests who came at Easter-tide, Christmas, and other feasts and on special occasions to offer congratulations or perform sacred offices. The roof is vaulted, and, in addition to the niches seen in the walls, there are secret recesses for the concealment of treasure. In the “sacred corner” is an ancient ikon, and on the table before it, covered with a rich Persian cloth, are two crosses. The stand, or mountain, was the rack on which, upon all solemn or festive occasions, the family plate was{230} displayed. Among the old treasures preserved here are a cocoa-nut shell mounted as a drinking-cup, and various other curious drinking-cups, bowls, and vases; an equestrian statuette, silver-gilt, of Charles I., a gift from that monarch to the Tsar Michael; two ewers presented by Charles II.; a silver salt cellar, and a puisoir presented by Martha Ivanovna, wife of the Patriarch, to her son the Tsar in 1618. No doubt it was in this room that the great banquets given by the boyard took place, but ordinarily the boyard would eat in his own apartment, his wife in hers. From this room a doorway leads to the private room of the boyard. This “study” is heated by a stove of coloured tiles, variously ornamented and bearing quaint inscriptions and designs, as a tortoise, “There is no better house than one’s own”; doves, “Fidelity unites us.” The cases contain some of the personal attire and weapons of the early boyards and their descendants, as: a silk mantle, some swords and daggers, a staff, the sceptre of the Tsar Michael, riding-boots, walking-sticks, and the like. The high narrow-heeled riding-boots are very curious, so too, on the copper inkstands, as antique in appearance as those of Chaucer’s day, will be seen the lion and unicorn, a Byzantine device often found in Russia. There is also a low seat used for writing, for the Russian placed the paper upon his knees, not on a table; his lines were not straight, and much good paper was wasted.

There is an oratory communicating with this four-windowed apartment, also two rooms used as nurseries; one for boys, the other for girls. In these close, small rooms the children were reared, for it was the habit of the Russians not only to hide their children from all strangers, but to keep them from all but their most intimate friends and relatives.

A small doorway leads to a steep narrow staircase{231} communicating with the top storey, the terem or women’s apartments, consisting of a reception room, a bed-chamber and turret; from these rooms the nursery may also be reached by a still narrower staircase. The walls of the reception room are covered with stamped leather, the woodwork is carved in high relief, the stiff benches round the wall have stuffed seats and are covered with brocade. There are a number of old coffers and close wardrobes, also some curious clothing is displayed in cases.

The four-post bedstead cannot be considered a native institution. It is peculiarly Scandinavian. The English adopted it from the Danes; the English reintroduced it into Russia, finding that the Russians themselves slept either on the stove, or on an eastern divan. More than once the early English ambassadors to Russia have complained that bedsteads were lacking, and it was long before their use became general.

The boyards kept their women folk hidden away in the terem in almost eastern seclusion. Jenkinson states that “the women be very obedient to their husbands, and are kept straitly from going abroad but at some seasons.” Other travellers write that the women are hardly used by their husbands, who beat them unmercifully; “and the women, though young and strong, never resent even if the husband be old and weak.” Herberstein relates that a foreigner in Moscow married to a Russian woman was upbraided by his wife because he never beat her as Russian husbands did their wives, and that he then beat her to please her; but as subsequently he cut off her legs, and finally her head also, the story is worth nothing as evidence of a custom.

Sylvester in his “Domostroi” says a wife ought never to take the title of Lady, but always to look on her husband as Lord. She was to concern herself only with household affairs, and might be treated like a{232} slave; only the husband is enjoined “not to use a too thick stick, or a staffe tipped with iron, nor to humiliate unduly by flogging before men.”

Out of doors she was carried in a shuttered litter, and she wore the fata or veil; a special part of the church was assigned women, but the wives and daughters of the boyards usually worshipped in their own private chapels, and went to the Cathedrals but upon special and state occasions. Then it was that suitors caught a glimpse of their future brides, and received glances which bespake love.

As among eastern nations, the bridegroom usually did not see his wife before marriage. When the preliminaries had been arranged and settled by third parties, the bridegroom sent a present of sweetmeats and a whip to his bride elect, who always spent the night before the marriage ceremony at the house of the bridegroom’s parents. On the day of the marriage he put into one of his boots sweetmeats or a trinket, into the other a whip; the newly wedded wife took off the boots, and to remove first that which contained the trinket was considered the omen of a happy life for the woman. “But if she light on the boot with a whip in it, she is reckoned among the unfortunate and gets a bride-lash for her pains, which is but the earnest penny of her future entertainment.” There were also other little passes during the complex ceremony, the winning of any indicating the mastery during wedded life.

Such was the woman’s lot in the seventeenth century, but much was done to better it before Peter the Great introduced western freedom. Collins wrote in 1674:—

“The Russian discipline to their wives is very rigid and severe, more inhuman in times past than at present. Yet three years ago a Moscow merchant beat his wife as long as he was able, with a whip two inches round, and then caused her to put on a smock dript in brandy, to which he set fire, and{233} so the poor creature perished miserably in flames. Yet none prosecuted her death, for there is no law against killing a woman, or slave, if it happens on correction. Some of these beasts will tie up their wives by the hair of the head and whip them stark naked. Now parents make better matches for their daughters, obliging husbands to contract to use them kindly, without whipping, striking or kicking them.”

Even Peter’s code was cruel: it was during his reign that Le Bruyn saw a woman executed in Moscow by being buried alive; covered up to her neck in the dank black soil she lived but two days, whereas, on the same authority, there were others who lingered ten or more. In Russia, as in countries further west, the crime of petty treason, the murder of a husband, was considered almost as heinous as high treason, and punished accordingly.

Kept closely confined to a small apartment, living almost always in heated rooms the Russian ladies had fair complexions; “white cream-and-snow tinged with the faint hue of the inside of a camellia” one poet describes it. Others are not so generous; Turberville writes:

“To buy her painted colours, doth allowe his wife a fee
Wherewith she deckes herselfe, and dyes her tawny skin;
She prankes and paints her smoakie face,
Browe, lippe, cheeke and chinne.”

All writers complain that the women painted without art; many blacked their teeth, and stained their nails with henna, a custom which obtained with the wives of Russian merchants to the present century. So, too, after Peter the Great forced women from the seclusion of the terem, it was the custom of ladies to present to each other in public their paint boxes, even as in the west men offered snuff. It was not until after the French invasion that this custom died out, and Pushkin endeavoured to advance the new order{234} by deriding the practice and ridiculing the English governors who followed it. On the other hand, a lady of the court who, much to the chagrin of others, refused to paint her face, was compelled to do so by order of the Tsar, to whom complaint had been made.

As women were free in the Russia of the Norsemen, the seclusion in the terem was either a custom adopted from Byzantium or, more probably, a precautionary measure to protect them from Tartar invaders. The purpose of these invasions has already been stated, and as on one foray the Tartars are reported to have taken away 400,000 captives from Russia, the hiding of women and children in portions of the dwellings to which men at no time had access was doubtless considered to enhance their chances of escape during the temporary absence of the master in the front of the battle; and from being a temporary retreat it became the ordinary living apartments. But the custom was a town one; not practised by villagers.

The Russians were largely flesh eaters, meat and fish constituted the diet not only of the well to do but of the peasants. In the north Le Bruyn found the natives feeding even their beasts on fish, and Ysbrant noted the same practice among the inhabitants east of the Ural. Jenkinson found that the Muscovites had “many sortes of meates, and delight in eating gross meates and stinking fish.” Brandy was served round before eating commenced, a custom that still obtains and was originally derived from the Norsemen. Collins states that horse-flesh was forbidden; also hare, rabbit, and elk. At some seasons veal was forbidden; any thing sweetened with sugar, or candy, on fast days; and, at all times, dishes flavoured with musk, civet and beaver. The chief dish at a banquet given to Herberstein was of swan, served with sour milk, pickled gherkins and plums. There was abundance{235} of corn, and some of the commoner vegetables; the fruits were insipid; except filberts, Herberstein found none of the sweeter kinds of fruit or nuts. Water melons were grown and then, as now, the Russians fed upon many different kinds of fungus; some thirteen varieties found in the neighbourhood of Moscow are edible, but the Russian regards as scarcely wholesome the only mushroom eaten in England.

Tea was known to the Russians of the middle ages; some quaint samovars are preserved in the Dom Romanof, but the medieval Russ found his greatest pleasure in drinking mead, brandy and strong liquors. Before drinking it was the custom to blow in the cup; to guests and strangers wine was offered by, or on behalf of, each member of the host’s family, in small cups or glasses, then, to conclude, a huge cup filled to the brim from which it was the correct etiquette to take but a sip.

In Sylvester’s “Domostroi” the correct etiquette for masters and servants is set forth. At table the diner may “blow his nose, must spit without noise, take care to turn away from the company, and put his foot over the place.” Instead of advising the lord to sell old slaves and cattle, as Cato told the Romans to do, Sylvester requires that old servants who are no longer good for anything must be “fed and clothed, in consideration of their former services.” Then, for the servant; “when a man sends his servant to honest people, he should on arriving knock softly at the door of the grand entrance; when the slave comes to ask what he wants, he must reply ‘I have nought to do with thee, but with him to whom I am sent.’ He must say only from whom he comes, so that the man may tell his master. On the threshold of the chamber he will wipe his feet on the straw. Before entering he will blow his nose, spit and say a prayer. If no one calls Amen! to him, he will say another prayer; if there{236} is still no answer, a third prayer in a louder voice. If still no answer, he may then knock at the door. On entering he must bow before the sacred ikon; then he will explain his errand: he must not touch his nose, or spit, or cough; look neither to right nor left.”

The Tsars derived much revenue from a cursemay or drinking tavern in each town, which was let out to tenants or bestowed upon some courtier for a year or two, “then, he being grown rich, is taken by the Tsar and sent to the warres again, where he shall spend all that which he hath gotten by ill means, so that the Tsar in his warres is little charged, but all the burden lieth on the poor people.”

Jenkinson writes: “At my being there, I heard of men and women that drunk away their children and all their goods at the Tsar’s tavern, and not being able to pay, having pawned himself, the taverner bringeth him out to the highway, and beates him upon the legs; then they that pass by, knowing the cause and peradventure, having compassion upon him, giveth the money, so he is ransomed.”

During carnival there were many deaths due to excessive drinking and the extreme cold, for it was then that all had licence to drink and make merry. The Tsar Vasili Ivanievich (1505-1533) gave permission to some of his courtiers to drink at any time, but in order that their habits might not corrupt the people they had to live apart in a special suburb, which was appointed them on the south side of the river, where for a time all the dwellers were known by the name of Nali or “Drinkers.”

“Folke fit to be of Bacchus train, so quaffing is their kinde,
Drinke is their sole desire, the pot is all their pride;
The sob’rest head doth once a day stand needful of a guide,
And if he goe into his neighbour as a guest,
He cares for little meat, if so his drinke be of the best.”
Turberville, 1568.


The Muscovites knew not how to dance. At their merrymakings they made Tartars and Poles dance to amuse them; their music was obtained from brass hunting horns, trumpets, cymbals and the bagpipes. Kotoshin states that the boyards were “dull, ignorant men, who sit in silence, stroking their beards and making no reply to anything said to them.” The common people amused themselves on the “sway” or sea-saw; they loved to assemble in crowds and to sing and drink together. Some were drawn up and down in chairs, others went round and round in flying-chairs affixed to wheels pivoted, some perpendicularly, others horizontally; in short, the prototypes of the “merry-go-rounds” and “high-flyers” of pleasure fairs in Britain and elsewhere. In winter they sped down ice hills on their small sledges (tobogganing), and few only took pleasure in field sports, trapping birds and animals being part of the business of the lives of most; coursing and falconry the privilege of the Tsar and his suite.

In winter when the boyard stirred out of doors it was always in his sledge, where he lay upon a carpet in the skin of a polar bear. The sledge was drawn by a single horse “well decked,” a little boy astride its back, and servants of the boyard stood upon the tail of the sledge.

As traders they had an unenviable reputation. “The people of Moscow are more cunning and deceitful than all others, their honour being especially slack in business contracts—of which fact they themselves are by no means ignorant for, whenever they traffic with foreigners, they pretend, in order to attain greater credit, that they are not men of Moscow but strangers.” The market was in the Kitai Gorod. There the foreign merchants had their warehouses, and for centuries a Gostinnoi Dvor, not unlike the bazaar of Stamboul, occupied the site of the recently erected New Rows{238} (Novi Riadi), but even at the present day the picturesque is not extirpated from the wholesale market. The Starai Gostinnoi Dvor has quite a charm of its own, and the adventurous sightseer who, not content with passing through it from the Ilyinka, turns off into the alleys furthest from the Krasnœ Ploshchad towards the wall of the Kitai-gorod, will see curious courtyards having large galleries around them; huge hatch-ways communicating with the vast vaults and stores below. Quaint shops line the wall of the Kitai-gorod from the Varvarka gate right up to the Nikolskaya; with a sort of permanent rag fair at that end, where, too, from the introduction of printing, the stalls and shops of the booksellers have been located. Another surviving market for miscellaneous articles—from old ikons and bludgeons to picked up trinkets and immense samovars—is held from six o’clock till noon on Sunday mornings around the Sukharev Bashnia. From time immemorial a great fair for frozen fish and game has been held outside the Kitai-gorod wall as soon as winter’s frost sets in. In this commercial district are various old churches of interest and, in the Cherkassky pereulok, the place of legal combat for those who justified their cause by an appeal to strength and skill.



In the administration of justice much was lacking,{239} the principle of the paternal rule of the sovereign necessitating direct appeal by means of a petition. Later, a Prikase or office of direction was established, and this was followed by others empowered with the control of affairs relating respectively to carmen, Siberia, criminals, etc. As in all countries, misdemeanours against the property or liberties of individuals was regarded as a matter for personal redress by the party aggrieved; only those against the crown called for the active interference of the sovereign through his body-guard. The use of torture and some western methods of judicial procedure were introduced by Sophia Palealogus and the Italians who followed her, and were grafted upon native customs.

In the reign of Ivan the Terrible, legal procedure was as follows:—

“When any dispute arises they appoint, in the first place, the land owners to act as judges, and these if unable to settle the dispute, refer the case to a higher magistrate. The complainant asks the magistrate for leave to summon his adversary to court; the leave granted, he calls an attendant (sergeant), cites the accused and hurries him along to the court. The attendant keeps scourging the man about the shins with the knout, until he can bring forward someone who on his behalf can satisfy the law. If he has no friend to go bail for him, the sergeant, grasping him by the neck, drags him along and subjects him to blows, until before the court to plead his cause. If it be a suit to recover a debt, the defendant is asked by the magistrate whether he is in debt to the plaintiff, and replies that he is not in his debt. Then the judge asks, ‘In what form can you make denial!’ The defendant answers, ‘Upon my oath.’ Thereupon the sergeant is forbidden by the magistrate to administer further blows, until the evidence makes the case clearer.

“The Muscovites are exempt from a great curse to a community, in that they have no pettifogging lawyers. Every man conducts his own case, and the plaint of the pursuer and defence of the accused are submitted to the prince in the form of written petitions, craving for a just sentence at his hands. When each party has supported his case with all the arguments available, the judge asks the accuser whether{240} any arguments remain. He answers that he himself, or his champion for him, will, with a strong hand, make good his accusation on the person of his opponent, and he further demands leave to engage with him in single combat. Liberty to fight is accorded both disputants, who rush simultaneously to the onset. But if one or both be not strong enough to fight, they engage professional pugilists as substitutes. These men enter the lists armed, chiefly with a war-club and a hunting-pole. The fighting is on foot. He whose champion is beaten is cast at once in prison, where he is most shamefully treated, until he ends his dispute with his enemy. If of high rank it is not allowed to get proxies. If a poor man has incurred a debt, and is unable to pay, the creditor carries him off and makes him labour for him, yea he even lets out his services on hire to someone else, until by his labour he fills up the amount of his debt.”

Harry Best, an Englishman, made good his claim against a defaulter in a trial by combat, which resulted in an immediate petition by the Muscovites to the Tsar, to forbid foreigners engaging in the lists with citizens. As for criminals: thieves were imprisoned and knouted but were not hanged for a first offence; for a second offence, a thief lost the nose or an ear and was branded on the forehead; the third offence was punished with crucifixion, which was a customary penalty long after the days of Ivan IV. Impalement in various ways was also practised; heretics were burned; false-coiners boiled in oil; during winter the condemned were thrust under the ice and drowned. The long category of barbarous punishments borrowed from the west, being minutely followed in addition to excisions, amputations, mutilations and cruelties of local origin. One of these may be mentioned, “the death by 10,000 pieces,” when the condemned was cut away bit by bit and the parts seared to prevent death by hæmorrhage before it was necessary to attack a vital part. Another form of it was to insert a hook under a rib and pull the bone out of the side—the Muscovite equivalent of the{241} western method of extorting money from Jews by the extraction of tooth after tooth. Ivan “Groznoi” practised even worse cruelties. The widow of one of his victims he put astride a coarse rope and drew her to and fro upon it until sawn through—in this rivalling the excesses of enthusiastic religious persecutors in the Netherlands. More refined was his fiendish practice of hanging in the doorway of a boyard’s house his wife, child, or some other loved one of the boyard, then compel the man to go to and fro past the corpse that day by day became more repulsive. Worse even than this did Ivan “Groznoi,” the cruel Tsar, but his worst need not be mentioned unless, at some future time, men name him not the “Terrible,” but call him the “Great.”

In the days of Peter the Great men were still impaled or crucified; were burned in small pens filled with straw; were beheaded on a block and “hanged as elsewhere.” Le Bruyn says, one day he saw a man burned alive, and in another part of the town a woman buried, with small tapers burning near her; and “all executions with such silence, that what takes place at one end of the town is unknown at the other.” Afterwards, were such barbarities as the Empress Elizabeth ordered to be inflicted upon the Boyarina Lapunof, and still later such cruelties as the Countess Soltikov exercised on her serfs. In fact the tale of Moscow’s woe was not told until the advent to the throne of that greatest of dead Tsars, Alexander II., the true reformer of Russia.

In the olden days the bearers of too illustrious names were forbidden to marry; others might not marry without permission first obtained; leave was necessary before one could carry arms. In times of peace it was unusual for weapons to be worn, a staff shod with steel took the place of sword or dagger, the voievodes only{242} wore side arms generally. Trade was the privilege of the Tsar, and those to whom he granted the right; pen work was always done by humble secretaries or diaks—in the end they became the masters, rather than the servants of their employers.

In their bearing towards their superiors, ecclesiastic and secular, the Russian was abject in his deference; the customary mode of address being similar to that of the east. In Byzantium the petitioner prostrated himself and called, “May I speak and yet live?” In Moscow the Russ cried, “Bid me not to be chastised, bid me speak, I the humble, etc.,” and in Russian a petition, literally, is a “beating of the forehead” before superiority. Peter the Great did much to discourage the abject prostration of his subjects before the property of the crown, but as late as the reign of the Emperor Nicholas some serfs were compelled to uncover when passing any mansion of their lord, whilst other nobles expressly forbade it. The Church never expressly forbade prostration before sacred objects as Peter did before secular property, so in that, the old custom survives. But it is probably owing to the earlier use, and not particularly to the image of our Saviour over the Spasski Gate, that it is customary still to uncover when passing to or from the Kremlin by the state entrance. For in Russia when a practice has been once enjoined by a person in authority it will be continued until expressly forbidden. It is said that many years ago a distinguished visitor to one of the royal residences inquired why it was thought necessary to station a sentry in the centre of a grassplot in the pleasure grounds. It was then discovered that once upon a time, a Tsaritsa, long deceased, had noticed an early snow-drop budding forth at that spot, and expressed her wish that the flower should be protected. To ensure its safety a sentry mounted guard, and so{243} for many years, day and night, in all seasons, a sentry continued to be posted there; for, although the circumstances had been forgotten, the order was conscientiously obeyed.

The rites of the orthodox church are not subject to change, and the ceremonies of to-day are practically the same as they were centuries ago. One of the most characteristic is connected with the periodical removal of some sacred picture from its ikonostas to a special service in a church dedicated to some other saint, or associated with a particular episode in the life of our Saviour. After a preliminary service, the ikon is taken down and reverently borne away by the priests appointed, attended by prelates, deacons, acolytes, choristers and the bearers of “standards.” These standards—znamia, literally “token”—are akin to the banners of the western Church; they are of diverse form, usually of metal, adorned with gems, and always have either a representation of a saint or some sacred symbol upon them. Some are but a fit setting to a small ikon; many are beautiful specimens of metal work, others are of curious design, all are attractive; and when, sometimes to the number of a hundred or more, they are carried aloft through the streets of the old town, they add greatly to the stateliness of an impressive pageant.

It is on such occasions as these—and they are many—that the attitude of the people towards their church may be studied with advantage, and the beholder will realise how strong is the affection of the orthodox for all that pertains to their religion. The great reverence shown the symbols, the fervour and sincerity of the greeting, are convincing evidence of deeply-rooted belief, simple piety and existing close relations between the Church and people. In short, a procession of this kind does more than suggest the religious phase of mediævalism, it is a revelation of its actual potency.{244}

Easter is of course the great festival; then the Great Bell of Moscow thunders forth that Christ has risen, and the people embrace each other and with pious glee call “Vosskresenni Khristos” much as in the west acquaintance greet each other with good wishes at the new year. Students of comparative ecclesiasticism cannot afford to miss witnessing the celebration of the feast in Moscow any more than they can that in Rome.

On Trinity Sunday not only are the churches strewn with newly cut herbage and decorated with budding branches, but all houses “sport greenery”—it is a combination of the old time customs of May-Day and Yuletide in the west. The sacred ikons figure in all ceremonies, and private individuals in times of distress requisition them. They are conveyed with considerable pomp to the bedside of the dying, or to the homes of the fortunate, pious in their rejoicing. The church is all inclusive and makes no distinction; is as ready to comfort the most notorious sinner as it is the devout communicant of irreproachable rectitude and honour.

The ikon most desired is that known as the Iberian Mother of God, whose chapel stands before the Vosskresenski Gate. Close by a carriage and six remains in attendance, and usually towards evening it starts forth on long journeys across the town, its round often unfinished when morning dawns. Its place on the ikonostas is filled by a copy, but the original is at once restored on its return. Men uncover as the carriage passes by; those near, when it is carried to or from a house, prostrate themselves or attempt to kiss it, some endeavour so to arrange that the picture must be carried over them. Another ikon in request is that kept at the Vladimirski Vorot; all have great homage paid them. Priests, drivers, attendants, are uncovered, even in the depth of winter; and to be appointed to any post in connection with it{245} is counted a great honour. It is said that the offerings of the thankful in return for the privileges conferred by “visiting” have amounted to as much as £10,000 in a single year in respect of one picture alone. This money is part of the church revenue—the servants attending with the ikon receiving presents in addition.



Originally the private ikon was a picture of the patron saint of its owner. As every day in the year is a saint’s day, the saint of the day on which a person happened to be born was considered his patron; often he took that saint’s name, if some other were chosen then the recipient must be christened on the day assigned to that saint, and thus the “name” day is distinct from the birthday and is observed, whilst the anniversary of one’s birth may or may not be celebrated. Often, indeed usually, an ikon of the Virgin now occupies the “sacred corner.” It is so placed that it must be visible on entering the room and receive the obeisance of the orthodox; it is also, as it were, to be a witness of all that takes place before it. To do anything wrong in the presence of an ikon makes the fault the greater; persistent evil-doers screen the ikon before wilfully transgressing. It was even made one of the charges in the indictment of the false Tsar Dmitri that he neglected to veil the ikon the day of his marriage. To western minds such an attitude is as incomprehensible as the action related in one of Tolstoi’s stories, of the pious peasants who, about to{246} murder their offspring, knelt reverently by the hole they had made in the ice and prayed to God that He would protect and bless them. But the Russian understands.

The private ikon, or some other sacred picture, always precedes the corpse at the funerals of the orthodox. The obsequies of the wealthy are still conducted with great pomp; the modern practice of hiding the coffin beneath wreaths and crosses being combined with the more austere solemnities of a statelier age. The church of St Sophia, on the south side of the Moskva, opposite the Kremlin, is much used in connection with military funerals and those of a public character. The peasant’s coffin is simply covered with a pall, and the bier carried through the streets shoulder-high, with no other pomp than the ikon reverently borne some paces ahead of the cortege. The hands of the dead one are closed over a paper on which is printed a prayer for the repose of his soul, the deceased’s baptismal name being written in, and this is the only justification for the assertions of the early writers that “the Russ when he dies hath his passport to Saint Nicholas buried with him.”

If it is the practice to decorate the ikon with presented jewels, it was not only counted a sin but a crime to take any back again. Collins says that the punishment for so doing was the loss of a hand, as befell a woman “who thought she had but lent to the image” she favoured. With the private ikon “they do as they will, decorating the ikon one day and with the same tawdry themselves the next,” an indication that the ignorant peasant may treat his ikon much as the West African negroes treat their fetiches.

A common object in Moscow of to-day is the watch-tower or chastok, where night and day sentinels patrol{247} on the look out for fires, not nowadays so frequent or so disastrous as formerly, since the erection of wooden houses within the town limits has been forbidden. In summer, when the signal is run up on the staff, numerous one horse drays, each with a small barrel of water, hurry to the scene and in somewhat primitive fashion attempt to quench the conflagration. If a wooden house the fire usually subsides when the roof with its thick layer of earth between rafters and plates collapses. Dearly paid for experience has taught the Muscovite how the spread of fires may best be stopped where water is scarce and hydrants far distant. Primitive and mediæval in many things, Moscow reveals how the people of long past ages overcame the difficulties incidental to life in large cities, and a great fire will bring together such an array of water carts as will convince the beholder of the very thorough organisation of a department charged with the duty of safeguarding public safety.

Even the vehicles exhibit a survival from mediævalism since each horse is harnessed beneath a duga or piece of bent wood intended to strengthen the shafts, as it is by them alone the load is hauled, and traces are unknown. The duga, just as it is to-day, was used with the first wheeled vehicles introduced to Russia and will persist for aye. But the observant stranger will not lack entertainment in Moscow, especially if he shows generous toleration of primitive customs. If a house be building, the simple and superstitious working man, his original intention being now directed by the church to a manifestation of piety, will first raise above all the scaffolding a well made, often decorated, cross, so seeking a blessing from the good by the same sign that his early ancestors sought to appease the powers of evil. The carter, whose horse drops with heat sickness, will get the animal on his legs again and cause him three times{248} to cross the duga he purposely places thwartwise. To those versed in symbols an act as easy to understand as the every day remedy of the kitchenmaid who puts the poker across the bars of the grate to prevent the newly lighted fire from being extinguished—a not commendable practice yet effective epithem. Sprite ridden the Moscow peasant is still, but though “it” moves him to do many things of which he knows not the reason, merely obeying the prompting intuitively, he has forgotten what this “it” is that must be appeased. A bridge, a girder cantilever across a wide estuary or a couple of planks across a ditch, is not finished till some trifle has been cast into the water, in this the mujik being not unlike the skipper of a Grimsby trawler who tosses a new coin into the ocean before lowering his net.

The enthusiast may attempt to trace the direct connection between baksheesh, nachai, and the extortion of gratuities generally, with the ancient practice of trifling sacrifices to some mythical demon; both old as the offer of a cock by Socrates to Æsculapius, and world-wide as the application of a door-key to the spine as a cure for nasal hæmorrhage. In such matters may hap Moscow is as other towns, and neither mediæval nor peculiar.

But whosoever of a summer’s night will wander into the suburbs will hear the policeman on his round beating two pieces of wood together with aggravating rhythm. If the listener be country-bred the noise will remind him of the farm boy of old days who, with wooden clapper, scared birds from the corn. If he be so curious as to examine the instrument he will find it to be a piece of board with a handle, and a wooden ball attached to it with a piece of twine. The knocking of the two together to produce an intermittent whirr is accomplished by a curious turn of the wrist. The watchman will explain that the noise is to warn garden-robbers and other depredators of his coming, or to advise{249} his employers that he is about his duty. The most learned ethnologist of the west says that an identical instrument, handled in the same manner, is employed by the minor priests of a wild race in the far far east to drive away evil spirits from the native temple.

Further a-field—a twenty-five kopeck ride on a lineika from the Trubaya—Ostankina is reached. There is a curious and elegant church of red brick built by Moscow artisans in the golden age, at the cost of the boyard Mikhail Cherkassky. Near by is a great wooden palace, stuccoed and prim, the property of the Sheremetievs. Passing through its park where Le Bruyn shot his great crane flying by a single bullet from his musket, and where the upper reaches of the Yauza are still haunted by wild fowl, is a thick wood to the north of the stream, and in the middle of that near the path, a clearing where at midday a drove of mares are coralled and milked by men who speak a strange tongue, and are of quite different appearance to the Muscovites. A mile further on is their village, near a large pool. It is a poor, insignificant, rather dirty and very untidy place. Mordva its name; Mordva its people, whose ancestors, many centuries ago, left their home among the Altai Mountains on the confines of Manchuria and spread westward over Russia, fighting with their later conquerors almost to their own extermination. Various isolated groups of this once powerful race are scattered about Russia, mixing but little with its people. These, who through long centuries have been resident in the heart of Muscovy, seems as incongruous and impossible as would be the present occupation of Hampstead Heath by survivors of ancient Picts in the full glory of their primitive customs. It is nearest to the great towns that primitive methods and beliefs persist most strongly, and just as in the villages about London, antiquated farming implements{250} and old country superstitions are more plentiful than in the rural districts of England, so near Moscow the old customs and manners die hard. In villages within easy walk of the Kremlin, mediæval practices are rife, especially during the celebration of marriages, and the performance of minor domestic pageants. The curious, if persistent and lucky, may see the bowl of Tantalus presented to the mother of the bride of yesterday, and as the liquor escapes the cup by the hole in its bottom from which the profferer has removed his finger, guess at the significance of the custom and speculate as to its origin.




Within the town almost every old building has its legends. Very diverse are those connected with the Lobnœ Mesto on the Grand Square. It derived its name—literally “the place of a skull”—from the Golgotha that was erected there for the Easter Passion play which was performed yearly before the church of the Trinity disappeared. From time immemorial it has been the place of public assembly, being to Moscow what St Paul’s Cross was to old London, and the perron to Liége. Therefore, as all who have studied the migration of symbols will know, not only is it of very early origin, but associated with stories in some form common to all peoples.

Another almost universal superstition is in Moscow attached to the Sukharev Bashnia, which is supposed to be the feminine complement of the Ivan Veliki tower in the Kremlin. The people call the Sukharev the jena (wife) of Ivan, and, according to tradition, Jack and Jenny get nearer to each other every year.

Visitors for whom folk-lore has no attraction will look for the picturesque in Moscow. The most characteristic view, the prospect the tourist expects, is that seen by turning westward along the boulevard from the Lubianka, and keeping along the south footpath, near the wall, watch the old town appear little by little as the brow of the hill is reached. Houses—of all sorts and colours—a façade like that of a classic temple, domes blue, green and golden, the red tower of a Chastok, a medley of roofs and walls, all these will appear framed in the foliage of the trees on the boulevards, and those overhanging the walls of the Rojdestvenka Convent, until the valley of the Neglinnaia is right below and the crosses and domes of the Petrovski Monastery are disclosed to view. Then it is time to cross the road to the centre of the boulevard and see Moscow unfold itself—walls and towers changing like{252} the coloured fragments in a kaleidoscope. Opposite, where the bank rises to the Strastnoi Monastery, was once the old village of Vissotski—older, it is said, than Moscow town, or Kremlin, or even the hall of Kuchkovo and the twelfth century hamlet on the Chisty Prud at the back.

Again, ascend the belfry of St Nikita in the Goncharevskaya; time—the very early morning, and see the rising sun glitter on the domes of the Kremlin, and the churches of the Bielo Gorod; or, when it has long passed the meridian, watch the afterglow reflected from the thousand domes, tinting the white walls from the balcony of Krinkin’s on the Hill of Salutation. Stay on and watch the great white town, silent, reposeful and glorious, fade into the haze of the “white-night”; see it shimmering in the moonlight, or the glare of midday sun; sparkling feebly in the blue star light, or glowing like a new-cast ingot in the blackness of winter’s midnight; see it how, when and where you may, solve the enigma of its vitality if you can—but neither doubt its strength, nor question its beauty.

Исполинскою рукою
Ты, какъ хартія развитъ;
И надъ малою рѣкою
Сталъ великъ и знаменитъ!



The Convents and Monasteries

“These are the haunts of meditation,—these
The scenes where ancient bards th’ inspiring breath
Esctatic felt; and from the world retired,
Conversed with angels and immortal forms,
On gracious errands bent.”—Thomson.

RUSSIAN monks all belong to one order, that based on the rule of St Basil the Great, practically the only order of “black” clergy recognised by the Eastern Church. The first monastery in Russia was founded by St Anthony, a Russian who, after living some time on Mount Athos, returned to Kiev, and there, in 1055, conjunctly with St Theodosius, established the Pecherski Monastery, on the same rule as that of the Studemi—one of the strictest of the clerical institutions in Constantinople. The Pecherski still ranks highest among the monasteries of Russia. The one of greatest importance in Moscow, though not the most ancient, is that of the Miracles (Chudov) founded in the fourteenth century by St Alexis, the Metropolitan. It stands within the Kremlin, between the two Imperial palaces, on a spot which long ago was a part of the enclosure around the dwelling of the Tartar bashkak, or “resident.” At the time when one Chani-Bek was khan, his wife, Taidula, fell ill and was healed by Alexis, to whom out of gratitude she presented her gold signet ring with its effigy of the Great Dragon, and a site for the{254} Monastery of the Miracles. The first building was erected in 1365, and the monastery long served as the residence of the primates of Moscow; it has been many times destroyed and rebuilt; the present building dates from the reign of the first Romanof, and, at the time of writing, is in course of extensive alteration. Passing before the Church, with the curious paper ikon outside, a large gateway will be found in the angle where the Chudov buildings abut against those of the smaller Imperial palace; passing through this, the visitor will find himself in a large Courtyard; the Church of St Michael is on the right, a small railed-in cemetery among the trees on the left. The Monastery, a mean, dilapidated, straggling two-storeyed building, extends almost completely around the quadrangle; the chief rooms, on the bel-étage, communicate with a long outside covered gallery, closely resembling the yard of an old London inn, which is reached by the perron in the western corner. The Church of St Michael, the Archistratigus, was built conjointly with the Monastery in 1365, rebuilt in 1504, and later restored in its primitive style, so has preserved even more than any other church in Moscow the original character of Muscovite ecclesiastic architecture. The interior is well worth seeing, but access is not easy; the best time is after early matins, which are celebrated about thrice weekly at 7 A.M.

The frescoes are very primitive, and for Moscow, original. The old-fashioned low ikonostas is of a type common to “wooden Russia”; the ancient ikons call only for the attention of the student, but on the High Altar is a tabernacle in the form of a church with twelve domes which has wider interest. It is the work of Remizov in the reign of Mikhail Theodorovich. Within the courtyard, traces of Tartar graves have been found; and the cemetery contains the tombs of Edeger—the last “Tsar” of Kazan, 1565—and of many Moscow{255} families, as the Trubetskis, Kovanskis, Sherbatovs, etc. The state rooms are still used by the head of the Church in Moscow; they look out towards Ivan Veliki, immediately above the little window at which the Holy Bread is sold. Although the monastery has been the scene of many important events in connection with the history of the Church and of Moscow—it was here that Maxim, the Greek, studied, and Latin was first taught, 1506—there is nothing either in the refectory or common rooms connected with them, for the monastery was erected during the plague riots of 1771 and spoiled by the French. The church of the Patriarch Alexis is entered from the Tsar’s Square through a portico, of a pseudo-Gothic style, designed by Kasakov in the eighteenth century, but the church itself was constructed in 1686, and the remains of St Alexis the Metropolitan then conveyed there in the presence of the Tsarevna Sophia and the boy-Tsars Ivan V. and Peter I. It occupies the site of an earlier church founded in 1483, and contains the incorruptible remains of the Saint. Alexis, the wonder-worker, was descended from a boyard family named Pleskov. Born in 1292, he passed twenty-two years of his life in Moscow, a student of the Bogo-yavlenski Monastery; after admission he was for twelve years one of the household of the Archbishop, and later became bishop of Vladimir, and Metropolitan of Kief.

His care of the two child princes of Moscow, his direction of Dmitri Donskoi and sturdy championship of Moscow, and his efforts to maintain its supremacy, endeared him to the people. When he died in 1378, at the age of eighty-five, he was buried within the Chudov monastery he had founded; there in 1439 his remains were discovered undecayed, and miraculous qualities attributed to them. In 1519, Balaam the Metropolitan informed Vasili Ivanovich, then the reigning Grand-Duke, that the blind in visiting the{256} tomb of Alexis were restored to sight. Since that date the memory of Alexis has been held in highest reverence by the orthodox, and in the public esteem he ranks with St Peter, first among the Patron Saints of Moscow. Consequently the church is one of the richest; it was spoiled by the French, who cast the silver shrine of the saint into the melting pot, and his moshi were found under a heap of lumber after the flight of Napoleon. Much of the decoration is new, but in the style of the time of Alexis Mikhailovich, of which the pavement is particularly characteristic. The new shrine is of silver, so are the royal doors of the sanctuary; for them some 420 lbs were needed, and the tabernacle, the chandeliers and the elaborate ikonostas are all of sterling metal, and there is a magnificent archiepiscopal mitre presented by Prince Potemkin. The original coffin of the saint, is preserved in a glass case near the silver shrine, and by it are kept the identical pastoral staff he used in Moscow, and other personal relics. Among these are manuscript copies of the New Testament executed by the saint, as also his holograph will. The library has some hundreds of old illuminated and other manuscript books, including a psalter of the thirteenth century, and a collection of old printed books of the seventeenth century. This church, the adjoining chapel of the Annunciation, and the monastery are all closely associated with the introduction of pedagogy to Moscow; it was here that the first scholastic seminary for priests was founded, and later an academy was developed. It became customary for parents to bring their children hither before their entry to any school, in order that the blessing of St Alexis might be asked, and some peasants of the village at one time owned by the saint make a pilgrimage to his shrine on his name day, and pray for their “Lord.” The sacristy has a valuable{257} collection of old plate; the crosses, panagies, mitres, vases, goblets, etc., are remarkable for their beauty and rich decoration, and second only to those of the collection in the sacristy of the Patriarchs.

Naturally the Monastery of the Miracles is closely associated with the more renowned of the wonder-working ikons of Russia. The most celebrated now existing there are: the trimorphic paper ikon of the Holy Trinity, that of St Nicholas the wonder-worker, and that of St Anastasia. In 1771, when Moscow was decimated by the plague, it was believed that the ikon of the Virgin (Bogoloobski) at the Varvarka Vorot wrought miraculous cures. It was so thronged by worshippers and the pestilent stricken that, as a measure of precaution, the Archbishop Ambrose ordered its immediate removal to the Chudov monastery, but the maddened people gathered in the Kremlin and threatened that they would not leave a stone of the monastery standing unless the ikon was at once restored. The Archbishop was forced to give way. The next day he was dragged by the mob from the Donskoi monastery where he was hiding and massacred by the enraged populace. This was on the 17th September: from that date the plague declined and the daily death-rate of 700 returned to the normal average with the advent of winter.

Flanking the eastern wall of the Chudov Monastery are the buildings of the Convent of the Ascension (Vossnesenski), the entrance to which is from the large square of the Kremlin near the Redeemer Gate. There are some indications that this nunnery is of greater antiquity than 1393, the date usually assigned its foundation. Eudoxia, the wife of Dmitri Donskoi, organised the institution, and, after taking the veil there, ordered that it was to be her place of sepulture also. The buildings were destroyed in 1483—ninety years{258} after their erection—again in 1547, 1571, 1612, 1701, and last of all on the great fire of All Saints’ Day, 1737. Its successive rebuildings are due to the great veneration of the orthodox for the tombs of their ancestors, and from 1407 its cemetery ranked first as the place of sepulture for the consorts of the rulers of Muscovy; some thirty-five were interred within its walls between 1407 and 1738.

“It is said that when Eudoxia retired to the convent in 1389, although she observed the appointed fasts rigorously and within the walls wore heavy weights and performed arduous penances, she still took great interest in the affairs of the outer world, and when visiting dressed in rich robes befitting her former state. This gave rise to much scandal, which she refuted by exhibiting to her accusers the effects of her self-imposed penances. When Tokhtamysh destroyed the building in 1393 she not only devoted herself to the task of founding a better community, but did so much work among the sick and indigent that she more than retrieved her character, being worshipped almost as a saint and canonised under her adopted name of Euphrosina, revered through many generations.”

The cells are mean, and the low plain façade not unlike those of English alms-houses of the eighteenth century. It was in this nunnery that Maria Mniszek was housed prior to her marriage with the false Dmitri, and here, too, that Maria Nagoi was forced to recognise the same impostor as her own murdered son. The Cathedral of the Ascension, like that of St Michael in the Chudov, is of a primitive type, preserving many of the characteristics of the original building erected by the Tsar Vasili Ivanovich in 1518; the five domes have not, however, the common bulbous cupolas, these resemble inverted cups—an original type. The interior has the customary four pillars supporting the central dome; there is an ikonostas with four tiers reaching to the arched roof. Of the sacred pictures the most remarkable are that of the Virgin and that of the{259} Ascension; there is also a curious one in the north chapel dedicated to Mary the Mother of the Afflicted.

The tombs of the Grand Duchesses are arranged along the frescoed walls, north, west and south; some are of the white stone used in the earliest buildings in Moscow, others of brick; formerly the portraits of those interred were painted on the walls over their tombs, now many are covered with splendidly worked palls of native design. The remains of Eudoxia (St Euphrosina) are in a modern shrine of silver, replacing that taken by the French; on the right, near the south wall, is the tomb of another Eudoxia (Shtrchnev), the wife of Mikhail Theodorovich; then come the tombs of the Miloslavski and Naryshkin, wives of his son the Tsar Alexis, and the last tomb of all is that of another Eudoxia, the much tortured first wife of Peter the Great. Four of the six, or more, wives of Ivan the Terrible also lie here. In the sacristy among many rich relics are two exquisitely decorated copies of the gospels; the enamel work and enrichment with gems is the most characteristic of the Russian art handicrafts. Not less excellent are the two golden processional crucifixes presented by the Tsar Michael. Such is the summer church of the convent, to which there is a grand ceremonial procession on Palm Sunday, and one on the second Sunday after Trinity to commemorate the great fire of 1737.

The winter church, dedicated to St Michael, is the chapel of Honour of St Theodore of Persia and was built in the eighteenth century only. In addition to a much venerated ikon of the virgin, painted in 1739, there is preserved one of the greatest antiquities of Moscow—a bas relief representing St George the Conqueror (Pobiedonostzev), the head uncovered, which originally was one of the decorations of the Redeemer Gate near by. It was transferred thence to the Church of St{260} George, which was destroyed by the fire of 1737, a conflagration that threatened the convent also, but was stayed by the miraculous ikon of the Virgin of Kazan, now placed in the adjoining new church of St Catherine the Martyr. This is a modern building on the site of a fine old church of the seventeenth century, and of a Russified-Gothic style serves to show, from an artistic point of view, how disastrous is the attempt to combine native designs with those of the west. On the ground floor of the western range of buildings are the ovens, etc., where the Holy Bread is prepared, and the nuns of the convent are celebrated throughout Russia for the excellence of their work with the needle and brush, their copies of the ikons of these churches being in particular request.

The monasteries outside the Kremlin have much the character of small fortified towns, and are the stronger and, architecturally, the more interesting the greater the distance at which they are situated from the town. To visit them, drive out to the Simonov—four miles from the centre of the town—and pass the Krutitski Vorot and the Novo Spasski; the Spasso-Andronievski and the Pokrovski on the return. On the south side of the river to the Danilovski and the Donskoi; to the west the Zachatievski and Novo Devichi. The others, of minor interest are:—Monasteries of St Nicholas, Epiphany, Znamenski, Petrovski, Srietenka, and Alexis; Convents: St Nikita, Rojdestvenka, and Strastnoi.

Simonov Monastery

St Sergius founded the monastery in 1370, but it was not moved to its present site on a hill commanding the Moskva until twenty years later. It educated St Jonah in the fifteenth century, and when he became Metropolitan it increased in importance, but was later{261} surpassed by the Troitsa, and although it owned 12,000 souls—male serfs—in the eighteenth century, it has never attained the leading position, nor even that expected of it. The present walls were built during the reign of Theodore I. but, finished in 1591, they could not keep out the Poles, who completely sacked the monastery in 1612. It is a line, strong looking, dreamy old place, somewhat dilapidated and overgrown with verdure. The wall is half a mile long, commanded by wonderful spire-like towers, some 130 feet high, crowned with two-storeyed domed watch rooms, which look like huge dovecots. There is a covered rampart walk all round, and from the tower near the river, a subterranean passage to the Lizin Prud, a holy well at one time much visited by the sick who had faith in its miraculous healing properties. Some six churches are within its walls, one the Cathedral of the Assumption, a massive building, consecrated in 1405, and having a somewhat bizarre appearance, its façade, in the Byzantine style, being also painted in three colours to represent quadrangular facets. It is a building quite foreign to Muscovite style; reminiscent rather of the old country churches of Portugal. The ikon of greatest celebrity is that of God the Father, richly decorated, and once, it is said, blessed by St Sergius, when it was carried with the troops of Dmitri against the Tartars under Mamai.




A Moscow merchant defrayed the cost of the great belfry, 330 feet high, and under the refectory is buried the renowned Field-Marshall Bruce; the sacristy is rich in vestments and some ornamental work of the Tsar Alexis’s Masterskaya in the Kremlin. The most famous inmate was Simeon Bekbulatov the converted Tsar of Kazan, whom Ivan Groznoi made Tsar of Moscow for twelve months; his tomb will be shown. The charm of the Simonov is derived from its stillness, its out of the world air, its roominess, the matured trees, the ample orchard, the long rampart walk, the excellent views of Moscow, the many quaint nooks near the old stores, the grateful shade of pleasant bosquets and the orderly negligence that suggests contentment—an ideal home for dreamers, for cheery mysticism and the inception of unhurried philosophies.

The Novo Spasski

The new monastery of the Saviour, so called because in the fifteenth century removed from the Kremlin to its present site, is pleasantly situated near the Moskva river not far from the Krasnœ Kholmski bridge. Its walls were of wood until the invasion of Devlet Ghiree, after which an attempt appears to have been made to turn all the outlying monasteries into fortresses for the better protection of Moscow. One peculiarity of the Spasski Monastyr is that the towers which flank the wall are all different, one is pentagonal, one round, one hexagonal, and so others vary—some are squat, others have tapering spires from the towers; the belfry is 220 feet high. Its claim to greatness is not due to the spirited defence it made to the Polish attack, but to the fact that within its Cathedral of the Transfiguration, one of the five churches within the walls, is a picture “Neruko-tvorenni,” not made with{263} hands. “In the year 1645, in the town of Khlinov, in the porch of the Church of the Trinity, before the image of our Saviour not made with hands, Peter Palkin, blind three years, stood and worshipped and miraculously received his sight.” The Tsar Alexis ordered the picture to be brought to Moscow for the Spasski Monastery, and a copy of it to be sent to Khlinov, or Viatka. The church is also adorned with a set of fresco portraits illustrating the genealogy of the Tsars of Moscow, from Olga to Alexis: corresponding therewith, the portraits of the Kings of Israel. Behind the ikonostas are some extraordinary mural paintings of the Tsars Michael and Alexis, founders of the cathedral. The Church of the Protection, to the south of the cathedral, was built in 1673 to the memory of the Patriarch Philaret, and a third church, near the cells of the monks, was built in 1652 by Nicholas Cherkassky, to whose family Moscow owes several fine churches. The monastery was the favourite burying place of such noble Moscow families as the Yaroslavskis, Gagarins, Sherbatevs, Naryshkins and Romanofs, whose ancestors are mostly interred in a crypt here, the last being Vasili Yurivich Zakharin.

The monastery of St Andronievski was founded by St Alexis the metropolitan who made a vow, when in a storm at sea during his voyage to Constantinople. The relics of St Andronie are preserved in a silver shrine. All these monasteries were pillaged and profaned by the French, the Andronievski suffered perhaps more than the others since there some monks were shot.

Donskoi Monastery

This monastery is in no way connected with Dmitri Donskoi but owes its name to a picture of the Virgin Mary, presented by the Don Cossacks (Kazak = soldier) after the great victory over Khazi-Ghiree and his army of 150,000 Mongols advancing against Moscow in 1591: they were repulsed by the army{264} raised by Boris Godunov and the miraculous intervention of the ikon of the Cossacks, and the grateful Theodore built the monastery on the field of their defeat as a fit shrine for the ikon, which had been set up as the standard of the defenders of Moscow. A church pageant on August 19th (old style) commemorates the victory. The white walls and red turrets are copied from those of the Novo Devichi. The principal church was founded in 1684 by Catherine, daughter of the Tsar Alexis, and differs from those of Moscow town in being of red brick. The smaller Church of the Virgin is the older, founded in 1592; the three others are of the eighteenth century.

The Cossacks were the means of enriching the church by recovering the silver looted by the French. The decorations are for the most part quite modern, and the paintings by an Italian. The cemetery has fine monuments, and there the people resort on summer evenings for the shade of the trees and restfulness of this peaceful retreat. Further along the Kalujskaya is the Alexandrina Palace, formerly the property of the Orloffs, with its celebrated pleasaunce “sans souçi,” extending to the wooded bank of the Moskva, with pretty views of Moscow and one excellent one of the Church of the Saviour seen alone at the extremity of a fine avenue of great trees.

Danilovski Monastyr

This has the advantage of being the oldest establishment of its kind in Moscow. Founded in the Kremlin by Daniel in 1272, it was transferred in 1330, and in the reign of Ivan IV. rebuilt on its present site. The walls are less ornate than those of the other fortifications of their time; the machecoules with superposed loop-holes over the gun-ports are also unusual and the polygonal corner towers have greater symmetry than those of Simonov or Novo Spasski. The chief object of interest within the building is the silver shrine of the founder placed in the church by the Tsar Alexis in 1652. The other two churches are commonplace, but in the cemetery is the tomb of Gogol, one of the most original of Muscovite authors.

The Zamoskvoretski quarter, south of the river,{265} was in mediæval times little better than a swamp and long uninhabited. The Mongols settled there later, and Tartar names indicate some streets, as Balchoog, “quagmire,” and Bolotnaia, “swamps;” as late as the reign of the Great Catherine, the Island where is now the Babygorodskaia (little town) was open waste land, and there the rebel impostor Pugatchev, brought to Moscow in an iron cage, was beheaded in 1773. A raised road Krimski-val, above the fen-land leads from the Donskoi Monastyr to the Krimski Most, the tubular bridge over the river near the Ostogenka. It obtained its name from the fact that the Krim Tartars in their attacks on Moscow always crossed the river at that point, and it is still better known as Krimski Brode or “ford.”

Novo Devichi Convent

West of the Krimski Most, where the river makes a wide sweep and on three side bounds a large tract of low lying land, is the Maidens’ Field, which tradition asserts is the locality of the market at which the Tartars in old times purchased Muscovite girls for the Mohammedan harems in Constantinople and Ispahan. Historians contend that the name is derived from the convent established there since 1525. There is no doubt that this was established in the early years of the sixteenth century to commemorate the recapture of Smolensk by Vasili III. It is also indisputable that there were already convents existing within Moscow and that Novo Devichi Monastyr means simply New Monastery for Women. Helen, “the maid,” was the first abbess of this, and may have given it the name, but it was customary in Moscow, before and since, to name the convents after the dedication, as Conception, Nativity, Passion, etc., so some earlier use of the popular appellation “Maidens’ Field” is more probable.{266}

The convent is two miles distant from the Kremlin, but also on the river bank, though a tank serving as a moat actually separates it from the present raised embankment of the Moskva. The walls were built by the same Italians who completed the walls of the Kremlin, and are of the same type, but round and square towers alternate and both have some of the heavy florid decoration so common in Moscow. The single and double dropped-arch is most conspicuous, and the quaintness of the architecture is accentuated by the glaring disparity of the colouring—dead white for the walls and interior of the open turrets, dark Indian red for the tops of the towers and masonry above the corbels of the machecoules. The belfry is of five lofty stages en retraite surmounted with a gilded bulbous dome and immense cross; its colours are pink and white with neutral facings: yellow, green, rose-pink picked out with white or darker tints are used for the other churches; that over the gateway being white with green roof, and both green and blue are used lavishly elsewhere for the roofs of the buildings within the enclosure, which together with the gold on domes and crosses, gives to the convent-fortress a beauty that is wholly eastern.

The two churches Vasili founded have been preserved and others added. They are—

Church of the Assumption, with a chapel dedicated to the Holy Ghost.

Church of St Ambrose, of Milan.

Church of The Transfiguration of the Virgin.

Church of The Protection of the Virgin.

Chapel of SS. Balaam and Jehosaphat, beneath the belfry.

Church of St James the Apostle, founded in gratitude of the preservation of the monastery on St James’s day 1812.

The cathedral church with chapels to the Archangel Michael; to SS. Prokhor and Nikanor; to St Sophia and the sister graces, Vera, Nadejda, and Lubov (Faith, Hope and Charity). Here the daughters of Alexis Mikhailovich are buried, as also Eudoxia (Helena), first wife of Peter I. On the ikonostas is a very early copy of the Iberian Mother of God, before that ikon was taken to Smolensk in 1456.

Its history is unimportant. Julia the wife of its founder was forced to take the veil here in 1563 when Vasili intended to marry Helena Glinski; Boris Godunov and his sister Irene lived within it during the six weeks following upon the death of Theodore I. Notwithstanding its apparent strength, during the times of trouble Vasili Shoviski after various struggles to retain it, was forced to give it up to the invading






Poles. Peter the Great imprisoned his sister Sophia within its walls, and executed many of the streltsi before her windows that their agony might awe her bold spirit. Some years after he made it a foundling hospital, and 250 infants were housed there before the Hospitalrie Dom was built; it was abolished in 1725. Napoleon visited it in 1812 and at first it suffered little; the King of Naples ordering divine service to be celebrated daily as usual, but later Davoust was billeted there, and after the disaster the French before quitting it did their utmost to blow up the belfry, the cathedral and stores. The nuns at considerable risk interrupted the fired train and, by their intrepidity and subsequent perseverance in combating the fire, saved the convent from destruction.

Russian monasteries and convents are not rigorously closed to the public like those of the Roman church. Generally from sunrise to sunset the great gates stand open that all may enter who desire to do so; and the nuns, so far from being secluded from the world, are rather encouraged to go out into it, both on errands of charity and, at need, to supplement by their own handicraft a too scanty income. For the most part the cells are shared in common by three inmates who unite their daily rations of tea, salt, and black-bread, and whilst the infirm sisters busy themselves in copying ikons or producing lace, needle-work and the like, the more active go into the town to dispose of the produce. In convents as elsewhere the Russian rule holds good that one’s room is inviolate: strictly private if the inmates wish, yet open to whomsoever it is their pleasure to entertain.



Moscow of the English

“O, how glad was I that the Tsar took notice of those few Englishmen.”—Horsey.

MOSCOW still bears witness to the thoroughness of English handicraft just as it shows the unmistakable impress of the French heel. When the discovery of the new world by Columbus had awakened England to enterprise and adventure, among the expeditions fitted out to find new markets for English manufactures was one of three ships sent on the advice of Sebastian Cabot, to the Arctic seas in 1553. Sir Hugh Willoughby was in command; Richard Chancellor, a young protégé of Sir Henry Sydney, his able lieutenant, and King Edward VI. himself the patron. The merchant venturers each found £25 for the undertaking; £6000 in all was subscribed; two Tartars in the King’s stable were interrogated as to that land on “the East of the Globe,” but they answered nothing at all that was in point. Three ships sailed from Rudcliff Harbour on the 20th May, but a few days later a storm separated them. Chancellor sailed on, and notwithstanding “the counsel of three friendly Scotchmen” to proceed no further, he reached the White Sea where he awaited the coming of his chief. Sighting a smack he got the men on board; they at once fell prostrate to kiss his feet but he himself raised them, “an act of humanity that won for him much goodwill.” The natives dared{271} not trade without leave of their prince, and in some six weeks an invitation was given Chancellor to proceed from Kholmogori (Archangel) to Moscow. There he was sumptuously entertained. Furnished with a reply to King Edward’s letter and permission to trade, he returned to London. In April 1555, Chancellor was again sent to Moscow; the Tsar in the meanwhile had found the remains of Sir Hugh Willoughby’s other two ships, the crews of which had been starved to death. The result of this second voyage was the establishment of the Russia Company at Kholmogori and Moscow, and the visit of a Russian envoy to the Court of St James’s. Ill-luck attended the return voyage; Chancellor, his son and seven Russians, were drowned when their ship was wrecked, near Kinnaird Head.

The English were not deterred by untoward events, and pressed trade briskly. They had to deal with a sovereign whose methods were detestable and whose aim was a political and matrimonial alliance with the Tudors, not commercial intercourse with the English people; the Tsar was foiled, and the English traders succeeded. No doubt the venturers were misled by the too glowing reports of their servants, who represented Russia as a new Indies. Wondrous were the stories they gave of the country and its inhabitants; of the immense wealth of the Tsar; of the strange animals that roamed in the forests. Of these last one was the “Rossmachia,” which devoured food so ravenously that it had to pass between great growing trees in order to reduce its distended stomach—an animal not identified; another was the Ass-camel, having the attributes of both these beasts, which was so far believed in as to figure in the arms of the Eastland Company and is thought to be the yak. To these early voyagers, earnest and austere in their new-found protestantism, the religion of the Muscovites seemed idolatrous, and{272} to their prejudiced writings, reproduced by generation after generation, many of the still current misconceptions concerning the Eastern Church are due.

The Governors of the Russia Company were hard-headed, bargain-driving tradesmen, with no soul for empire or an attempt had been made by them to conquer and annex Russia for their sovereign and their country. Profitable trade was their one aim and the extravagances of their servants and apprentices their increasing lament. Many were the complaints, piteous the explanations; anger on the part of the employer, indignation and desertion on the part of the unlucky apprentices.

Ivan did not pay for the goods he had, or his chancellor would not; none dared trade but by his leave; his subjects feared to buy the merchants’ goods lest their sovereign might still require them for himself. The governors paid no heed to the customs of the country or the needs of their apprentices—foundlings and charity—reared orphans—no furs were to be worn; the ells of cloth allowed annually were in no case to be exceeded, and the use of horses forbidden; “if it be against the manner of that countrie we will make it the manner rather than forbear our money with losse to clothe them otherwise, or maintain them to ride when we go afoot. Let the horses and mares be sold.”

So ordered the governors their full-powered servant Anthony Jenkinson, who was further commanded to “reduce our stipendiaries to a better order in apparel; forbid them riding, for such excessiveness corrupteth all good natures, bringeth obloquy to our nation and also loss to ourselves.” “Item 34” of this long command is “no dogs, bears, or superfluous burdens to be kept; no bond-men or women to wait upon them.” “Item 39, they shall pay for their apparel not at cost price but at the selling price in Russia.” Among other things the unfortunate ill-clad apprentice bore in{273} the frozen north during arctic winter was punishment for the company’s misdoings, but the governors, “doubt that Alcock’s death proceeded from asking for payment of our debts, as Edwardes writes, but that he either quareled inadvisedly or else constrained the people touching their religion, laws, or manners, being given wisdom wolde to mislike and mock other strangers.” No wonder the English left the factory and tried to make a living for themselves, but withal there were many of the right grit among them, to wit, Anthony Jenkinson who passed through Moscow in 1558 determined upon finding a way to the Indies by the Caspian. This intrepid adventurer reached Ispahan with the goods of the Russia company and returned burdened with rich barter and precious gifts. Later he fitted out a fleet on the Caspian and made war on the Turcomans with some success, an undertaking the difficulties of which can scarcely be estimated seeing that he could communicate with England only by way of Archangel,—a port closed by ice for one half of the year. Jenkinson had not only to contend with pirates on the Volga, but was warned that the Danes might attempt to seize his ships,—Primrose, 240 tons; John Evangelist, 170; Anne, 160; Trinitie, 140;—as they passed the wardhouse (Vardso) “where be enemies that do mislike the newe found trade by seas to Russia.” Sigismund II., King of Poland, tried his utmost to stop the traffic, “sending messengers with pretended letters of thanks to English merchants in order to make the Tsar, Ivan, suspicious of them.

He fitted out ships in Dantzig to capture English ships bound for the Narva, and threatened Elizabeth that loss of liberty, life, wives and children awaited those who should carry wares and weapons to the Muscovite who was not only the enemy of the King of Poland but the hereditary foe of all free nations.” Among{274} other of the company’s servants who distinguished themselves were Southam and Spark who discovered the water-way from the White Sea to Novgorod, and so got goods thither without such risk as was run from Russia’s enemies on the Baltic when sent by Narva. The Flemings and Germans were jealous of the new traders and made many misrepresentations concerning both persons and goods. They themselves furnished an inferior staple, but the simple people were made to prefer it to English cloth which, as it would not shrink as theirs did, could not be new.

Jerom Horsey was an apprentice or underling of the Russia company at Moscow; he attracted the Tsar’s attention by his expert horsemanship and his wit when the Tsar questioned him respecting the Russian ships building at Vologda for the Caspian. Horsey answered that with others he had admired their “strange fashion.” Ivan would know what he meant by this description. “I mean that the figure heads of lions, dragons, eagles, elephants and unicorns were so skilfully, so richly adorned with gold and silver, and painted in bright colours.” “A crafty youth to commend the work of his own countrymen,” remarked Ivan, and then asked about the English Fleet, but was displeased when Horsey described the Queen’s flag as “one before which all nations bow.” These traders were not the only British in Moscow, others were brought as prisoners by Ivan on his return from the devastation of Novgorod.

“At which time, among other nations, there were four score and five poor Scotch soldiers left of 700 sent from Stockholm, and three Englishmen in their company brought many other captives, in most miserable manner, piteous to behold. I laboured and employed my best endeavours and credit—not only to succour them but with my purse, and pains, and means got them to be well placed at Bulvan near the Moskva. And although the Tsar was much inflamed with fury and wrath{275} against them, torturing and putting many of these Swede soldiers to death—most lamentable to behold—I procured the Tsar to be told of the difference between these Scots, now his captives, and the Swedes, Poles and Lithuanins his enemies. That they were of a nation of strangers; remote; a venturous and warlike people, ready to serve any Christian prince for maintenance and pay, as they would appear and prove, if it pleased His Majesty to employ and spare them such maintenance. They were out of heart; no clothes; no arms; but would show themselves of valour even against his mortal enemy the Tartar. It seems some use was made of this advice for shortly the best soldiers were put apart and captains of each nation appointed to govern the rest. Jeamy Lingett for the Scottish men, a valiant, honest man. Money, clothes, and daily allowance for meat and drink was given them; horses, hay and oats; swords, piece and pistols were they armed with—poor snakes before, looke now cheerfully. Twelve hundred of them did better service against the Tartar than twelve thousand Russians with their short bows and arrows. The Krim-Tartars, not knowing then the use of muskets and pistols, struck dead on their horses with shot they saw not, cried:—‘Awaye with those new devils that come with their thundering puffs,’ whereat the Tsar made good sport. Then had they pensions and lands allowed them to live upon; matched and married with the fair women of Livonia; increased into families, and live in favour of the prince and people.”—Horsey.

Unhappily their good treatment was not long continued. Soon Ivan set a thousand of his opritchniks “to rob and spoil them,” and their sufferings were terrible. Some escaped into the English House, and were clad and relieved there, “but,” says Horsey, “we were in danger of great displeasure in so doing.” But Horsey, a man of wide sympathies, did not confine his aid to men of his own country; he was instrumental in saving many other of the captives of Ivan’s wars in the west, who were quartered in a special suburb, the nemetski sloboda, “by my mediation and means, being then familiar and conversant in the Court, well known and respected of the best favourites and officers at that{276} time, I procured liberty to build them a church, and contributed well thereunto; got unto them a learned preaching minister, and divine service and meeting of the congregation every Sabath day, but after their Lutheran profession.” These people “soon grew in good liking” of the Muscovite citizens, “living civilly, but in doleful mourning manner for their evil loss of goods, friends, and country.” Horsey was the man chosen by Ivan to take a private message to Queen Elizabeth in answer to the important communication she had sent him by Anthony Jenkinson. The Tsar provided him with horses, and a guard as far as the confines of his territory, but “forbear to tell you all the secrets entrusted to you, lest you should fall into my enemy’s power and be forced to betray them, but you will give to the Queen, my loving sister, the contents of this bottle,” and the Tsar himself secreted a small wooden spirit-flask among the trappings of the young rider’s horse.

Horsey had engaged upon a daring undertaking, and had an adventurous journey. It was winter; Russia was beset by Ivan’s enemies, who hated the English for the help given the Muscovite ruler. As soon as he crossed the border he feigned to be a refugee, but was taken as a spy and cast into prison. The governor of the castle, hearing that he came from Moscow, would learn some news of his daughter, who had been carried away a captive by Ivan’s troops. She was among those whom Horsey had helped to settle in the Sloboda, and he gave so good an account of her, that the grateful jailer liberated him and helped him forward on his long journey. When he passed through the Netherlands the merchants gave a banquet in his honour and, for favours he had rendered the foreigners in Moscow, presented him with a silver bowl full of ducats. Horsey returned the ducats, as he says, “not without{277} afterwards repenting of this,” but kept the bowl to remind him of their good will. He reached England, and was received by the Queen and indicted by the sordid governors of the Russia company, who made a number of trivial and baseless charges. He returned to Russia more than once, got the extravagant demands of the company conceded, some thousands of roubles were “preened from the shins of Shalkan, the Chancellor,” and after living through the “troublous times” he finally settled in England; was married, knighted, and lived far into the seventeenth century.

Probably his “good friends” at court were Nikita Romanof, grandfather of the first elected Tsar, and Boris Godunov with whom Horsey was always on excellent terms. Ivan sent a couple of hundred of his opritchniks to pillage the house of his father-in-law Nikita Romanof, and the English then sheltered the family in their house close by, and supplied them with food and stuffs “for they had been stripped of all they possessed.” In its turn the English House suffered; it was burned by the Tartars in 1591, and the inmates huddled in the cellar for days, lost Spark, the explorer, Carver, the first apothecary in Moscow, and others, but the survivors rushed out during a lull in the conflagration and made their way through the smoke and flames to the Kremlin, where they were helped over the wall. In 1611 it was again destroyed by fire, in the struggle between Pojarski and the Poles, and finally destroyed during the French invasion. Its site is now occupied by the Siberian Podvor, in the Varvarka. It was not rebuilt, but a plot of land between the Broosovski and Chernichefski Pereuloks—the streets that connect the Tverskaya and Nikitskaya behind the Governor-General’s residence—was granted the colony by Alexander I., and there a new English church, parsonage and library have been erected.{278}

The early settlers were chiefly traders, but they also coined silver money and made weapons; it was usual for the Tsar to honour the house by a ceremonial call early in the new year, and towards the autumn, the Tsar and Court accompanied the merchants the first stage of their homeward journey towards Archangel, and gave them a parting feast and toast at a picnic in the forest—a custom observed by Peter I. until he founded St Petersburgh. Their status was, and is, that of foreign guests, and they were subject to the common law and custom. William Barnsley of Worcester appears to have been the first Englishman exiled to Siberia. Ivan the Terrible thought him too familiar in his behaviour towards the Tsaritsa, so banished him, but he returned after twenty-six years, hale and very wealthy. Giles Fletcher, father of Phineas Fletcher, the poet, obtained an undertaking that Englishmen should not be put to the torture or put on the put-key—whipping block—before condemnation. His own book on Muscovy was promptly suppressed on the petition of the Russia Company, whose members so far from supporting the rights of their countrymen, were not altogether displeased that an escaped apprentice—or other roving Englishman—if not roasted, “yet were scorched.” Peter the Great put to death the beautiful Miss Hamilton, a lady of honour to his wife Eudoxia and nearly related to his own mother’s foster-parents, but he is said to have accompanied her to the scaffold and picked up the head as it dropped from the block and pressed his lips to hers.

There were Englishwomen in Moscow in the sixteenth century, for, apart from the anecdote respecting Ivan’s treatment of them, Jane Richard, the widow of his physician, the notorious Dr Bomel, was sent back to England in 1583, and in 1602 John Frenchman founded the Apteka in Moscow in 1586, and returned{279}



to Moscow with his wife and family in 1602. From the complaints of the Russia Company of their young employees, it would appear that married men were sent out, “as also a Divine to exhort the single to righteous conduct,” quite early in its history. From these people who lived apart from the citizens and enjoyed certain{280} privileges, the Russians derived new ideas as to woman’s place in the household, and many families adopted the foreign customs long before Peter “commanded” that the terems should be thrown open and the example of the Court followed by all.

The visible memorials of the early English settlers in Moscow may be found about the Kremlin in such works as the great central tower, Ivan Veliki, built by John Villiers, the beautiful Church of St Catherine—that behind the Golden Gate (v. p. 161) accredited to John Taylor; and, still more characteristic, those Gothic towers which rise so majestically above the Troitski and Spasski Gates. In them the influence of the east is scarcely to be discovered, even such use as is made of the ogival arch being quite as native to the Gothic of the later period as to the Russian architecture, whilst those forms of decoration common to Moscow prior to, and during, the seventeenth century are as completely ignored as the designs of the Italian builders of the wall these Gothic towers crown. In the view illustrated the belfry tower of the Church of St Catherine also figures, in not unpleasing contrast with the more severe, and beautiful, but commoner architecture adopted by Galloway.

Foreign craftsmen flocked to Moscow during the glorious reign of Alexis, and the Russia Company prospered, but the English settlers received a temporary check when the quarrel rose between King and Parliament. Alexis, in gratitude for favours shown his ancestors by the English, sent Charles grain and furs, and banished those who declared for the Commonwealth. He annulled the charter of the Russia Company when Cromwell succeeded, and would have no intercourse with the Protector. In this, as in most matters, Cromwell ultimately obtained his own way. The difficulty was smoothed away by Cromwell’s{281} roaming ambassador, the able Bradshaw, who did not even need to visit Russia to accomplish so little. Trade was re-opened, and later Alexis corresponded with the great Englishman. During the reign of Peter all foreign residents, not military leaders, were oppressed—their wages were withheld that they might not escape the country and agreements and contracts disregarded, but there was no open enmity between the races save for a short time subsequent to the seizure of Malta, which act greatly embittered the Emperor Paul against the English. The Marquess of Carmarthen obtained a tobacco monopoly from Peter the Great, who on his return to Moscow now punished as severely those of his subjects who would not acquire the habit as he had previously done those who indulged it. But he disregarded the provisions of the contract and the result was that Queen Anne’s representative at Moscow was instructed to send home the workmen and secretly destroy all the material and machines in the factory at Moscow. The envoy and his secretary “spent long hours and nights” in accomplishing this service with their own hands—probably the last actual direct interference of the British Crown with matters commercial and industrial, for it failed of its ultimate purpose, and brought disaster.

Scotch soldiers of fortune found their opportunities in Russia, and made the most of them. One of the best known among them is the sturdy Patrick Gordon, who entered the Swedish service under the grandfather of Charles XII.; was captured by the Poles and served them until taken prisoner by Alexis. The Tsar had heard that Gordon had taken pity upon Russian captives in Warsaw, and at his own cost fed them, so sent for him that he might thank him personally for the “favours shown to the poor captives in Warsaw,” whereupon Gordon offered his sword to{282} Moscow, and served faithfully. One Alexander Gordon, who claimed cousinship, found his way to Moscow, and was made an officer by Peter “for that he, single handed, thrashed seven Russian officers who had insulted him.” He also married a daughter of Patrick Gordon, and wrote the best contemporary biography of Peter I. Crawford helped the Gordons to form a regiment of regular soldiers, and Field-Marshal Bruce with Gordon rendered such valuable services, that Peter instituted the Order of St Andrew, for distinguished military services, and these Scotchmen were the first to be decorated.

After the peace of Tilsit Napoleon wished Alexander to banish or imprison the English in Russia, but the Tsar answered, “Their ancestors have been here during past centuries and I shall not treat my old friends so ill as to consider them enemies; if they choose to remain in Russia none shall molest them.” They suffered during the French occupation of Moscow; their Church was burned, and the residence of their pastor as well as their own warehouses and dwellings. It is said that one Englishman, more astute than most, buried his treasure and a little less deep interred the body of a French soldier. The marauders seeing the newly-turned earth dug until they reached the body of their comrade, but sought no further, and the next year the Englishman removed his treasure intact. During the Crimean war, the only inconvenience the English residents suffered was the loss of trade. The police doubted whether it was lawful for the community to offer up prayers for the defeat of the Russians—the Queen’s enemies—and the matter was referred to the Emperor Nicholas, who answered that the English were “to be allowed to pray for whomsoever and whatsoever they pleased.” From the English settlers have descended men who have distinguished{283} themselves, as amongst poets, Lermontof (Lear-month); amongst diplomats, Count Balmaine (Ramsay of Balmaine) and Prince Menzikov (Menzies); among soldiers, Barclay de Tolly (from a Scotch Protestant refugee) and Skobelev (Scobie); amongst architects, Sherwood, designer of the Historical Museum, and Parland, architect of the Memorial Cathedral, St Petersburg, and in other walks of life, others the equals of these. The colonists have but one policy—to support the Government—and do not fuse freely with the Slavs. Some still cling tenaciously to the nationality of their ancestors, whilst in dress, language, manners and aspirations indistinguishable from those Russians of the class with whom they associate. Pathetic figures some; reluctant to relinquish the passport that alone links them with the land of their fathers, looked at askant by the Britons newly out, a nuisance to diplomatists, and a puzzle to the “orthodox.”{284}


The French Invasion—and after

“Now, Robber! look what thou hast done:
Come, for the strife prepare thee.
This land we fight on is our own—
And God’s revenge is near thee!
Zhukovski “Napoleon.”

NOT unfrequently Russia has been treated by the powers of western Europe with less consideration for justice than they have observed in their dealings with each other, but on no occasion has a civilised country more grossly outraged the sense of right than did France by its memorable campaign of 1812. It is possible that Napoleon still felt piqued because his offer to enter the Russian army had been declined by Zaborovski in 1789—a rejection which the old general had many times keenly regretted long before 1812—and it may be that Napoleon resented his refusal by the Princess Katerina, and was disgusted that the hand of the Princess Anna, which he had subsequently sought in marriage, had been bestowed in preference upon a German princelet. It is idle to suppose that technical breaches of the treaty of Tilsit by Russia—who was unable to stop commercial relations with England—were anything more than a mere pretext for the war. Like the wolf in the fable who had determined to devour the lamb that had disturbed the lower waters of the stream, any excuse served{285} this wickedly ambitious upstart to gratify his lust for further spoils and military glory. Doubtless Napoleon—before whom Latin and Teutonic kings bowed low and their subjects trembled when he but feigned to unsheath his sword—expected that the formidable preparations he made for war would awe Russia into submission, and thus gratify his vanity: but Russia heeded his bluster as little as did England, so, with the eyes of Europe upon him, he had no option but to drink up the liquor he had uncorked. Russia doubted his seriousness, but regarded the inevitable with equanimity. It seemed improbable that France, after centuries of enlightenment and progress, with its professed love of philosophy, art and culture, should raid Russia for pelf—just as Tartars, Kalmucks, and hordes of rough unlettered barbarians out of Asia had done in ages past. If it were so to be, Russia doubted not but she could triumph over the forces of the west even as she had done over those of the east.

On the 10th June 1812 the French army crossed the Niemen unopposed, and five days later occupied Vilna, where Napoleon expected attack, but, unmolested for eighteen days, moved on towards Vitebsk. The Russian army, commanded by Barclay de Tolly, did nothing more than cause the invaders to manœuvre unceasingly, and advance further into the country. On the banks of the Dvina Napoleon thought to end the campaign of 1812; recuperate his army and march against Moscow the following spring; but as yet no action had been fought, so he again hurried on after the Russians, this time towards Smolensk.

It is held that the withdrawal of the Russians disconcerted Napoleon; but he had already met other armies than the English, so to him this retreat of his enemy was not new. He expected to come up with the Russians at Smolensk, but Barclay de Tolly,{286} although assuring the inhabitants of their safety, sent away the treasure and had determined to abandon the town. It was garrisoned by but one regiment when Neverovski fell back upon it after his engagement with the French at Krasnœ. Raevski, sent to his aid, entrenched his troops and determined to hold the town until the two armies under Tolly and Bagrateon, then encamped on the left bank of the Dnieper, should arrive. But they fell further back instead of advancing, and after one day’s fighting, with terrible loss, the Russians evacuated after setting fire to the town. Napoleon remained there four days, then followed the Russians towards Moscow. Notwithstanding his proclamations of amity towards the peasants, his promises of freedom for the serfs, the people began to realise that the march of the Grande Armée was as disastrous as an incursion of the Tartar Horde. The country was devastated; the houses were pillaged; the owners shot; churches deserted; horses stabled in the sacred places; holy ikons burnt; matrons and maidens ravished by these heroes of the “twenty nations” of the west. Resistance there must be and the villagers took up arms; Kutuzov took chief command of the army, but Barclay de Tolly still gave his advice, and General Sir Robert Wilson remained tactical counsellor. On August 24th (old style) the Russians gave battle on the banks of the Moskva, near Borodino. In this “battle of the generals” about 120,000 men were engaged on each side, and 80,000 were killed, among them 18 generals and 15 other officers of high rank in the French army; and 22 commanding officers on the Russian side. Over 50,000 corpses and 30,000 dead horses were found in the field of battle, and though the Russians retreated, the French halted five days, then they moved forward upon Moscow, being nearly starved and quite tired of the war. Kutuzov had then to decide whether{287} or not to risk another battle in an attempt to save Moscow.

At the Council of War, held at Fili. Barclay de Toily said that when it was a matter of the salvation of Russia, Moscow was only a city like any other. Other generals, like Grabbe, declared that although it would be glorious to die before Moscow, the question they had to decide was not what would add to their glory, but to the defeat of the enemy. Prince Eugen of Wurtemburg held that honour ought to be placed before all, and that Moscow ought to become the tomb of every true Russian, all should choose death rather than flight. Wilson, whose object was rather the defeat of Napoleon than the preservation of Russia, said Moscow, to them, must be only a city, “like any other.” Ermolev, Ostermann, Beningsen and others were in favour of a last battle. “Amid such diverse counsel.” said Kutuzov, “my head, be it good or bad, must decide for itself,” and he ordered a retreat through the town, but he himself would not enter it, and wept as he hurriedly passed the suburbs.

During the first decade of the eighteenth century there were joyous days in Moscow; in 1801 Alexander was crowned; in 1803 he revisited the town when there were public rejoicings for the victories over the Turks; when in 1812, after the outbreak of hostilities Alexander came to Moscow, the patriotic citizens promised to raise 80,000 men in that district and equip them. The Tsar returned to St Petersburg and appointed Count Rostopchin governor; a clever man, courtier, wit, cynic, he proved an able administrator, possessed the gift of inciting and controlling the uneducated masses, so his plan to destroy the city escaped opposition from the inhabitants.

Rostopchin studied the peasants’ ways and knew how to throw dust in the eyes of all. “I do everything to gain the goodwill of everybody. My two visits to the Iberian Mother of God, the freedom of access I allow to all, the verification of weights and measures, even the fifty blows with a stick to a sub-officer who made the mujiks wait too long for their salt, have won me the confidence of your devoted and faithful{288} subjects. I resolved at any disagreeable news to question its truth; by this means I weaken the first impression and before there is time to verify it, other news will come which will need to be attended to.” The Government mistrusted the people, most of whom are serfs, and might allow themselves to be tempted by the proclamations of “freedom for all” which were issued by Napoleon. Rostopchin gave the patriot Glinka 300,000 roubles to be used as would best serve the interests of Moscow, but Glinka returned the money, for all were ready enough to resist the invader. Rostopchin invented victories: he caused news of one by Ostermann and another by Wittgenstein to be promulgated, and though sensible people did not believe him, the ignorant were faithful to the end. “Fear nothing,” he said to the citizens; “a storm has come; we will dissipate it; the grist will be ground into meal. Some think Napoleon is coming to stay; others that he thinks only to skin us. He makes the soldiers expect the Field-Marshal’s baton, beggars think to get gold, and while such simpletons await him, he takes them by the neck and hurls them to death.” Again: “I will answer with my head that the scoundrel shall not enter the city; if he attempts this I shall call on all. Forward, comrades of Moscow! Let us out to fight. We shall be 100,000; we shall take with us the ikon of the Virgin, 150 guns and be sure we shall finish the affair one and all.” After Borodino he issued another proclamation: “Brothers, we are many and ready to sacrifice life for the salvation of our land, and prevent the scoundrel entering Moscow; you must help. Moscow is our mother; she has suckled us, nursed us, enriched us. In the name of the Mother of God I call on you to help to defend the Holy Places of Moscow, of Russia! Arm yourselves how you can, on foot or horseback, take only enough food for three days, go with the Holy Cross, preceded by the standards from the Churches, and assemble on the three Hills. I shall be there, and together we will exterminate the invaders. Glory in Heaven for those who go! Eternal peace for those who die! Punishment at the Last Day for all who hold back!”

To the last Rostopchin nursed the illusion of the citizens; he told them men were at work upon some wonderful military engine—a fire balloon—which would destroy the French army instantaneously. Meanwhile the Archbishop Augustine, who had ordered the procession{289} through the town of the ikons of the Iberian Mother of God, the Virgin of Smolensk, was instructed to take the sacred treasures to Vladimir. Rostopchin had but one serious complaint against Kutuzov; he had asked for three days’ notice if the town was to be abandoned, he got but twenty-four hours. Everything of value that could be removed was packed and sent away; there was a general exodus on the night of the 1st September (old style) and Rostopchin left with the Russian army, the rear-guard of which was quitting the city by the Preobrajenski suburb at the same time that the advance-guard of the French army entered it by the Dragomilov Zastava. Before he left Rostopchin opened the prisons, gave the lowest class the entry to the arsenal, and ordered the stores to be fired; also, he put to death one Vereshchagin, accused of publishing Napoleon’s proclamation, a deed that was no less criminal because needless. And here Rostopchin’s work ended; if he had received longer notice of Kutuzov’s decision to abandon the town he would doubtless have saved more of the valuable portable property of state and church, and might have destroyed the town. With reference to all the correspondence that ensued as to the party responsible for the firing of Moscow, it can be said only that Rostopchin and the Russians would like to have had the credit for making a so magnificent sacrifice, but it was of political expedience that the Russians should believe the destruction of the holy places and their revered city directly due to the invader.

The apologists of Napoleon attribute his misconduct of the campaign to ill-health; as likely as not the thwarting of his plans by the enemy, his defeats and doubtful victories caused his illness. Whether his genius failed him or not, there can be no doubt of the magnitude of the conception and the utter ineptitude{290} exhibited in its execution. After Borodino his generals lost faith in him; they remained taciturn and morose, until at two o’clock on the afternoon of September the 2nd, the staff obtained their first view of Moscow from the summit of the Poklonnaya Hill, the “salutation” point of the Sparrow Hills. In the bright sunlight of the early autumn, the city, resplendent with gold domes and glittering crosses, seemed the fitting goal for their long deferred hopes and they of one accord raised a joyful shout, “Moscou! à Moscou!

Even Napoleon expressed his admiration and delight, and received the warm congratulations of his now enthusiastic generals. It was rumoured that an officer had arrived from the town to discuss terms of surrender: Napoleon halted, but grew uneasy when the expected messenger could not be found and there were no signs of an approaching delegate or of that deputation of gorgeously robed boyards he had fondly hoped would attend his coming to surrender the keys of the Kremlin and sue for his clemency towards the citizens. An hour before he had commanded Count Duronelle to hurry on to Moscow and arrange for the ostentatious performance of the customary ceremony. He was now told that the town had been abandoned by the officials, that the citizens had forsaken it, but Moscow, empty it is true, was at his feet. Murat had found a few stragglers, amongst them a French type-setter, and these wretched fugitives were ordered before the staff, and by their spokesman begged for protection. “Imbecile” was the only word Napoleon trusted himself to answer. His chagrin, his wounded self-love, his mortification at the unexpected turn of affairs unnerved him. One of the Russian prisoners describes the effect of the news thus:—

“Napoleon was thoroughly overcome and completely lost his self-control. His calm and regular step was changed into{291} a quick, uneven tread. He kept looking around him, fidgetted, stood still, trembled all over, looked fierce, tweaked his own nose, pulled a glove off and put it on again, tore another glove out of his pocket, rolled it up into a ball, and, as if in deep thought, put it into his other pocket, again took it out, and again put it back, pulled the other glove from his hand, then quickly drew it on again, and kept repeating this process. This went on for an hour, during which the generals standing behind him remained like statues, not even daring to move.”

Various accounts are given respecting the first entry of the troops into Moscow. Some of the inhabitants who remained, having faith in the assurances of Rostopchin, welcomed the invaders believing them to be some of the foreign allies of the Russian army. An official who had not been able to escape states that he saw some serfs carrying arms from the arsenal, one, who was intoxicated had a musket in one hand and in the other a carbine, for remarking upon the folly of such an armament, the man threw first the musket then the carbine at him, and a crowd of rioters rushed from the arsenal all armed, as the advance-guard of the French approached. The captain begged an interpreter to advise the crowd to throw down their arms and not engage in an unequal struggle, but the ignorant people, excited if not intoxicated, fired a few rounds accidentally, or by design, and the French thereupon made use of their artillery, and a wild fight ensued. After some ten or a dozen had been sabred, the others asked for quarter, and received it. Another story is to the effect that some of the armed citizens mistaking a general for Napoleon, fired at him as he approached the Kremlin and were then charged by his guard and put to flight. When later, Napoleon rode up to the Borovitski Gate, a decrepid soldier, a tottering veteran, too stubborn to forsake his post, resolutely blocked the way and was mercilessly struck down by the advance-guard.

The fires commenced the same evening that the{292} French entered the town; there were no engines available and the soldiers, hungry and joyful, disregarded the danger and attended to their more immediate needs. Rostopchin had ordered that the contents of the “cellars” should be burned, but there was no lack of liquor, and the conquerors were not to be denied. As the “Warriors” sing in Zhukovski’s epic:—

“O, yes!—the ruby stream to drain
Is glory’s pride and pleasure—
Wine! Conqueror thou of care and pain,
Thou art the hero’s treasure.”

So whilst rank and file caroused, the small beginnings of the great conflagration were neglected and men were powerless to cope with the later developments, though some worked like Trojans. The stores of oil, of spirits, the inflammable wares in the Gostinnoi Dvor were ignited, and although Marshal Mortier worked well to extinguish the fires near the Kremlin, the lack of engines and the continuous outbursts of fresh fires, made complete success impossible. The looting of the town commenced at once; soon the greedy soldiers left their partly cooked rations to search for valuables, even the sentinels forsook their posts and they fought with the rabble from the prisons for such goods as seemed most easily removed. In time, not content with such as had been abandoned, they commenced to rob from the person; women were spoiled of head-dresses and gowns, the men fought with each other for the temporary possession of pelf. The only lights for this unholy work were the torches all carried and the fires the looters set ablaze in order that they might see. When Napoleon thought the conflagration was the result of a preconcerted scheme he ordered all incendiaries to be shot, and then none durst carry a light by night without risk of being there and then shot by{293} some predatory soldier on his own initiative, or, not less surely executed in due form after a mock court-martial at dawn of day.

Discipline was lax; among the soldiery of the army of occupation, many bold souls did just as they wished, and of their enormities, their cruelties and shameful orgies, nothing need be written. Others had leave of absence—a licence to pilfer. They not only ransacked the occupied houses, but dragged people from their hiding places, harnessed them to carts, with bayonet and worse urged them on, heavily laden, through burning streets, and saving themselves from the crumbling walls and roofs, saw their miserable captives crushed, buried, or struggling among the burning debris, and abandoned to their fate. In the immediate neighbourhood of the Kremlin the pilfering was official; in the Cathedral of the Assumption, great scales and steelyards were set up, and outside two furnaces, one for gold the other for silver, were kept ever burning to melt down the settings torn from the sacred pictures, the church vessels, the gilt ornaments, aye, even the decorations on the priests’ robes. Horses were stabled in the cathedrals and churches; Marshal Davoust slept in the sanctuary with sentinels on both sides of the “royal doors” of the ikonostas. “Destroy that mosque,” was Napoleon’s peremptory order to one of his generals with reference to the Church of the Protection of the Virgin, but he delayed executing the order finding this cathedral convenient as a stable and storehouse. At first the fire was most severe in the warehouses flanking the Grand Square and along the quays. It spread most rapidly amidst the great stores on the south side of the river. The Balchoog was a sea of flame and the whole of the Zamoskvoretski quarter was practically destroyed. On the other side the burning Gostinnoi Dvor ignited neighbouring stores{294} in the Nikolskaya, Ilyinka and elsewhere on the Kitai Gorod. The gleeds carried by a north wind threatened the palaces in the Kremlin—where, under a cloud of sparks, the buildings glowed red and seemed to many to be also burning. The ammunition had already been brought there and caused the French great anxiety. Napoleon, after a peaceful night in the royal palace, was unwilling to believe that the tires were other than accidental, but as the day waned and the fires increased in number as well as size, he grew agitated and exclaimed, “They are true to themselves these Scythians! It is the work of incendiaries; what men then are they, these Scythians!”

He passed the next night in the Kremlin, but not at rest. It was with the greatest difficulty that the soldiers on the roof of the palace disposed of the burning fragments that at times fell upon the metal like a shower of hail. The heat was intense; the stores of spirits exploded, and blue flames hid the yellow and orange of the burning timbers and darted with lightning rapidity in all directions, a snake-like progress through the denser parts of the town, firing even the logs of wood with which the streets were at that time paved. When the fire reached the hospitals, where 20,000 unfortunate wounded lay almost helpless, scenes of unmitigated horror were witnessed by the invaders unable to succour, and chiefly intent on their own safety. The famous Imperial Guard stationed in the Kremlin was divided into two sections; one was occupied in struggling against the fire, the other held all in readiness for instant flight. At last the Church of the Trinity caught fire, and whilst the Guard at once set about its destruction, Napoleon, with the King of Naples, Murat, Beauharnais, Berthier and his staff, left the Kremlin hurriedly for the Petrovski Palace. The Tverskaya was ablaze, passage by that way impossible;{295} the party crossed for the Nikitskaya but in the neighbourhood of the Arbat lost their way, and after many adventures and near escapes found the suburbs, and by a roundabout route reached the Palace at nightfall. In many places the fire had burned out by September the 5th, and that night a heavy rain, luckily continued during the next day, stopped the spread of the fire, and on Sunday the 8th, Napoleon returned over the still smouldering embers to his old quarters in the Kremlin. Amidst or near by the cinders of the capital, Napoleon remained for more than a month. The remaining inhabitants suffered great hardships; some fraternised with the French soldiers and helped in quenching fires, but parties accused of incendiarism were still led out almost daily to execution. The French residents were in a most pitiable condition; Napoleon could not or would not do anything for them; they, and the rest of the citizens, with many of the soldiers were soon threatened with starvation.

This campaign more than any other undertaking of his life, reveals the despicable character of Napoleon as a man; even as a commander he seemed to have lost grip of the serious situation of his troops: he, who at one time could never make a mistake now only happened on the right thing by accident, and that rarely. In an impoverished province, amidst a famished population, he could not possibly winter his army, but acted as though he intended to do so. He made stupid speeches respecting the career of Peter the Great; read up the proclamations of Pugatchev, hoping to find in them something which would enable him to incite the people to rebel; tried even to make allies of the Tartars, and failed; at the same time he sent again and again to Alexander professing warm personal friendship and readiness to conclude peace. Alexander heard his{296} overtures with silent contempt. The Russian generals were mercilessly harassing the divisions of the Great Army in the provinces, and armed bands of peasants sought revenge on those invaders who had violated women and children, and desecrated the churches.

On October the 6th, Napoleon decided to begin his retreat on the morrow, and that same evening drew up a scheme for the visit of a Parisian theatrical company to Moscow and its installation there. Of precious metal from the churches of the Kremlin, nearly five tons of silver and four and a half hundredweights of gold had been melted into ingots. The great wooden cross, thirty feet in length, which surmounted Ivan Veliki, had been regilt at great cost but the year before, and the French, thinking it solid gold, threw it down. Like all the crosses, it was of worthless material, but contained a small cross of pure gold, which these disgusted pillagers failed to find.

When the time came for Napoleon to leave Moscow he was unwilling that any should know his intention. “Perhaps I shall return to Moscow,” he said to one of his company, but as he had already given orders to Lariboisiere, the chief of artillery, to destroy the Kremlin, he doubtless, better than anyone else, knew that this could not be. Napoleon thought to destroy everything of value left standing in the town; walls, towers, palaces, churches, convents, monasteries—all were ruined. “The defeat of Murat at Tarutin forced Napoleon to hurry away earlier than he intended, and to Marshal Mortier was left the task of destruction. He having made the requisite preparations left during the night of the 11-12th October, and, not far from Fili, gave the signal by cannon for the firing of the mines. It was a terrible explosion in the darkness and stillness of night; it killed some and wounded many, and was followed quickly by minor explosions at different points.”{297}

Napoleon failed even in this attempt; the damage done was trifling—the tower over the Nikolski Gate fell, so did one at the corner of the Kremlin wall. There were breaches here and there, but churches and other buildings remained intact. It is said that the heavy rain destroyed the trains of gunpowder to the mines, from which subsequently sixty tons of the explosive were taken. Fesanzac states Mortier intentionally used powder of bad quality, not wishing to destroy the buildings; it is more probable that he used the best he could get and that the director of artillery was unwilling to waste serviceable munitions of war he might require later.

The story of the retreat of the Grande Armée is well known and need not be recapitulated here. If the French and their allies suffered, the peasants also endured terrible hardships. Shot down for defending the honour of their wives and daughters; for protecting their property; for refusing to honour the false hundred rouble notes Napoleon had ordered to be printed in order to reward his soldiers; on any and every other pretence whatever, they yet accomplished a terrible revenge, harassing the invaders to the last. The French slew and destroyed; wrecked old walls, desecrated churches, and in sheer spite threw the spoil they could not carry further into the rivers and lakes. Wilson urged Kutuzov to engage the refugees, whom he termed ghosts roaming too far from their graves, but Kutuzov trusted to the cold and the distance to wear out the remnant of the great army. He underestimated the powers of human endurance, some 70,000 escaped of the half million or more that had invaded Russia. Napoleon, that “incomparable military genius,” does not appear on this occasion to have possessed the astuteness even of the mediæval Tartar Khans, who on their invasions withdrew “without{298} ostensible cause” at the end of the season. More selfish than they, he saved himself by deserting his men. They died like flies on the approach of winter; some were burned during their sleep by outraged peasants; more were slipped through holes in the ice; many reached Vilna only to be entrapped by the Russian soldiers, or, if still more unfortunate, tossed from the upper windows of the Ghetto and kicked to death by old polish Jewesses in the streets. Piteous? Yes, but it is the pity one feels for the burglarious murderer who falls on the spikes of the area railings. The invasion of the twenty nations had even such inglorious ending; its effect upon the Muscovites was similar to that which followed a great Tartar raid; it was unexpected—disastrous, and, as long as remembered, engendered in the Russ that same distrust of the west it had previously entertained of the east.

In Moscow there are now few traces of the French invasion, for its effect was general rather than particular. The palace occupied by Napoleon has been destroyed; in its place the Tsar Nicholas built his new Imperial residence, from the windows of which may still be seen the old Borovitski Gate, by which Napoleon first entered and last left the Kremlin. Beyond that gate there is now an immense and stately pile, the magnificent new Cathedral of Our Saviour, built by the people in gratitude for their deliverance from the invaders. A monument that furnishes conclusive evidence that the spirit of earnestness which actuated the old cathedral builders is not yet extinct in Russia.

One other memorial of the times will attract the attention of visitors to the Kremlin: arranged along the front of the arsenal, opposite the Senate House, are ranged the cannon captured from, or abandoned by, the Grande Armée. The inscriptions, one in French the other in Russian, on the plates to the{299}





right and left of the principal entrance set forth the origin of these trophies. Most of the weapons have the Napoleonic initial boldly engraved upon the breech; actually only 365 are French; there are 189 Austrian, 123 Prussian, 40 Neapolitan, 36 Bavarian, 1 Westphalian, 12 Saxon, 1 Hanoverian, 70 Italian, 3 Wurtemburgian, 8 Spanish, 22 Dutch, 5 Polish—in all 875.

Before the great fire there were over 2500 brick or stone buildings in Moscow, and about 6600 of wood; the fire destroyed over 2000 of the brick buildings and some 4500 of the wooden dwellings. It may seem strange that so many of the old buildings escaped. Of course the old convents, monasteries and churches in the suburbs, like the Novo Devichi, Simonov, Petrovski Palace, etc., were beyond the limit of the fire; the remainder, many of them, stood in their own grounds or were isolated from other buildings, much as the Strastnoi Monastyr is now. At that time, although the town limits were practically the same as at present—the line of the Kammer College rampart—the houses were fewer and, outside the Kitai Gorod, few streets consisted of continuous rows of houses. If the visitor wishes to have a clear comprehension of the sort of town, in detail, the great village of Moscow was at the beginning of this century, a drive along the Sadovia or through the side streets between that thoroughfare and the boundary will help its acquisition. More, it will bring him face to face with the best of the buildings of “Skorodom” that sprang from among the cinders of the great conflagration. A pleasant, bungalow-like, garden-town; spacious houses, with pretentious façades in the pseudo-classic style of the first empire; mostly squat and inconvenient, irregular, bright with native carpentry, stucco, painted metal roofs, and clean washed walls. It is this Moscow that is so picturesque and so{302} rapidly disappearing before the march of industrialism, sanitation, and an increasing population. When Alexander I. visited the town in 1816, great haste was made to present a fair show of dwellings in the vast open spaces; some, painted and distempered, were without windows, roofs, staircases, or even floors; these walls, then little more than the semblances of buildings, just such as now put on the stage, were later utilised by fitting dwellings, of a sort, to them. Some have long served their purpose; others, curious, quaint and singular, still remain—but he who would see them must not long delay.

With reference to the historic and sacred buildings, those answerable for their keeping sought only to restore, enrich, and preserve. At no time has Moscow possessed more or better memorials of the past than she does at present. The risk of destruction by fire has greatly lessened; of further demolition by ruthless invaders there is, happily, no longer a possibility, and the slower but not less certain destruction from the inroad of industrialism may be stayed by the timely awakening of the Moscow citizens to the value of the relics they possess, and the desire not only to preserve them for their own sake, but also as ornaments to the old town of which all are so fond and now anxious to beautify.{303}


Itinerary and Miscellaneous Information

“Some few particulars I have set down fit to be known of your crude traveller.”—Ben Jonson.

TO many Moscow seems so far distant, and Russia so unknown, that a few hints to intending travellers may be welcome. In the first place as to the best season for the journey; notwithstanding all the claims advanced in favour of winter—and they are not inconsiderable—for a first visit, or an only visit, the summer is preferable. Moscow, the brilliant and gorgeous is seen at its best in the bright sunlight; it is more picturesque and more conveniently to be viewed in detail or entirety. The latter part of June is the best period for then is the season of the “white nights” when there is no need of street lamps and the days are more than long enough for sight-seeing.

The shortest and best route is by way of Flushing, Berlin, Warsaw and Smolensk: distance from London 1800 miles; time 65 hours. Return tickets available for six weeks may be purchased at any London terminus: first class £16, 13s. 9d., second class £10, 19s. 7d. Through travellers should start by the night service from London, and change trains in Berlin at the Zoologischer Garten station; leave Moscow by the 5 P.M. train and in Berlin change at the{304} Alexanderplatz station; by these through services the drive across Warsaw is avoided.

Of the many other routes that recommended as the most enjoyable is via Gothenburg, by the canal to Stockholm and thence by the excellent steamers to Abo, Hango, Helsingfors or direct to St Petersburg and on to Moscow by the Nikolai railway. By all routes a Foreign Office passport, visé by the Russian Consul, is indispensable.

Compared with the leading hotels in other great towns, those of Moscow leave much to be desired. Hotel Billo on the Great Lubianka is centrally situated and much frequented by the English visitors, who there find adequate accommodation and the greatest courtesy. Hotel Dresden, on the Tverskaya, is upon even higher ground, opposite the residence of the Governor-General; Hotel Continental facing the Grand Theatre, and the Moskovski Traktir, opposite the Vosskresenski Gate, are also well kept and are near the Kremlin; the Slavianski Bazaar is in the Kitai Gorod. The Russian custom, which it is advisable should be followed if a long stay is made, is to take rooms in a hotel or elsewhere; the rent includes heating in winter, and the use of the samovar twice daily. The Kokoref Hotel, on the south side of the river, is one of the largest establishments on this plan and many of its rooms command superb views of the Kremlin (see p. 13) and are in demand by English visitors on this account. The restaurants are good; in summer the visitor should not fail to lunch in the lofty court of the Slavianski Bazaar which, like the Bolshoi Moskovski Traktir, is much used by business men. For native dishes the Praga, on the Arbat, and Tyestov’s, on the Vosskresenski Place, are the best; the Ermitage, on the Trubaya is more ostentatious, but the cuisine is good; the Saratov (Srietenka{305} Boulevard) is favoured by university students. At all the service is excellent, and the old-fashioned attire of the waiters unconventional and pleasing. The peculiarly local dishes comprise: ikra (fresh caviare), batvennia and okroshka (iced soups), shchee (cabbage soup with sour cream), ukha (fish soup), beluga, osternia, etc. (different varieties of sturgeon), porosianok (cold boiled sucking pig with horse-radish sauce), rasolnik, yazu and barannybok are made dishes; the appropriate beverage is one of the many varieties of kvas, which will be served iced in fine old silver beakers or tankards of native workmanship. Tea with lemon at the Café Philipov, on the Tverskaya.

Many tourists whilst on a yachting cruise in the Baltic avail themselves of the steamer’s stay in the Neva to make a hurried visit to Moscow. To them, and others whose stay is necessarily of short duration, the following itinerary may be useful:—

(1) Drive through the Kitai Gorod, the Grand Square, across the Moskvoretski bridge, along the quay to the Kammeny Most; cross the river and enter the Kremlin by the Troitski Gate and alight at Ivan Veliki. Visit the cathedrals and monasteries of the Kremlin (Chs. viii., ix.); the Great Palace and Terem (Ch. vii.); Potieshni Dvorets (Ch. viii.). Later drive out to the Novo Devichi Convent (Ch. xii.); thence to the ferry before sunset, dine at the Restoran Krinkin, return to the Mala Kammeny Most by steamer—or by tram to the Kaluga Place—see the Kremlin by moonlight from the Kokoref.

(2) Iberian Chapel (Ch. vii.); Historical Museum (Ch. ii.); Treasury (Orujni Palata) in the Kremlin (Ch. vii.); Spass na Boru (Ch. ix.); Ascension Convent (Ch. xii.); through the Redeemer Gate (Ch. xiii.); Vasili Blajenni (Ch. iv.); Old Gostinni Dvor, Dom Romanovykh (Ch. xi.); walk up the{306} Starai Ploshchad, inside wall of the Kitai Gorod, to Church of St Nicholas of the Great Cross. Then up through the market, or outside the wall to the Vladimirski Vorot (Ch. ix.); the churches and monasteries in the Nikolski to St Mary of Kazan behind the Town Hall. Later up the Lubianka to the church and monastery of the Srietenka (Ch. x.); the Sukharev Bashnia, along the boulevard to the Strastnoi Monastery (Ch. xii.); drive past the Triumphalnia to Khodinski Pole, the Petrovski Palace, Park, etc.

Note.—The Dom Romanovykh is usually open from 11 until 2 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; the Treasury on the same days; and the Great Palace, Terem, etc., on alternate days with these.

(3) English Church, Conservatorium, old and new Universities, Manege, Rumiantsev Museum (Ch. x.); New Cathedral (Ch. xiv.). Later to the Tretiakov Gallery (Ch. x.); the Danilovski and Donskoi Monastyrs (Ch. xii.); drive home across the Krimski Bridge, Skorodom and the Sadovia.

(4) Matveiev memorial (Ch. x.); Church of St Nicholas, Church of the Nativity (Ch. viii.); Foundling Hospital, Novo Spasski Monastyr (Ch. xii.); Krutitski Vorot (p. 142); Simonov Monastyr (Ch. xii.) and return. Later to Krasnoe Vorot and Prud, and Sokolniki.

(5) Taininskoe; Church, Palace and Park at Ostankina, Mordva (Ch. xi.); Petrovski-Razoomovski, etc.

Drives from the Town

(a) Over the Dragomilov Bridge to the village of Fili, memorial church, and izba with a museum of memorials of the Council of War held there by Napoleon in 1812 (Ch. xiv.).

(b) By the Krestovski Zastava to the old church{307} of the regency at Taininskoe; the seventeenth century church at Ostankina; near by is the “Palace,” a wooden mansion belonging to the Sheremetiev family; beyond the park and village of Sirlovo is the Mordva hamlet, (Ch. xii.).

(c) By the Preobrajenski Zastava to the suburb of that name (Ch. vii.), and Transfiguration Cemetery, and principal establishment of the Bezpopovtsi sect of Old Believers (Ch. ix.).

(d) By the Rogojski Zastava to the cemetery and church of that name for the religious services of the Old Believers, (Ch. ix.).

Excursions by Railway

Few visitors to Moscow leave Russia without seeing the Troitsa Monastery (67 versts on the Yaroslav Railway), mentioned in Chapter v. and elsewhere, but although closely connected with the history of Moscow not within the scope of this book. Other places of like or different interest are: the New Jerusalem Monastery near Krukova, 36 versts on the Nikolai Railway and about 14 miles thence by road; the battlefield of Borodino, (114 versts on the Smolensk Railway); Nijni-Novgorod, 410 versts, but the pleasure fair has been discontinued and the celebrated yearly market is now exclusively commercial.


Of the English books treating of Old Muscovy the best contemporaneous accounts have been reprinted in the five volumes of the Hakluyt Society’s publications devoted to early travels in Russia. The best contemporary Life of Peter I. in English is that by Alex. Gordon; among the best recently published,{308} the translation of K. Waliszewski’s study, and Eugene Scuyler’s account of the Life and Times of Peter the Great. For matters ecclesiastical Albert F. Heard’s Russian Church and Russian Dissent will be found most informing, and Mr W. J. Birkbeck’s history of the Eastern Church Society’s work of more particular interest to Anglicans. In another field Mr Alfred Maskell’s “Russian Art” may be found useful, and the antiquary will find much that is curious and suggestive in “L’Art Russe: ses origines,” etc., by E. E. Viollet le Duc (Paris, 1877).


Amateur photographers should join the Russian Photographic Society, whose members alone have the right to photograph throughout the empire. Otherwise it will be necessary to obtain permission of the chief of the police in each town or district. The Kremlin is technically a fortress, and the use of the camera within the walls forbidden, but leave is given—on personal application to the Governor—to those who are already furnished with the police permit, or are members of the Photographic Society. Application for membership should be made, prior to visiting Russia, to the Secretary, Russian Photographic Society, Dom Djamgarof, Kusnetski Most, Moscow.{309}

{146kb} {489kb}
Plan of MOSCOW


A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Adashef, 50, 52.
Alarm Tower, 58.
Aleviso, Fioraventi, 44, 148.
Alexander Gardens, 15, 153, 224.
Alexandrina Palace, 264.
Alexis, St, 23, 176, 253 ff.
Alexis, Tsar, 116, 120 ff, 134, 137.
All Saints’ Church, 205.
All Saints’ Day, Fire on, 257.
Ambrose, Archbishop, 257.
Amusements, 237.
Annunciation, Cath. of, 293 ff. and see Blagovieshchenski Sobor, Church of, 149.
Arbat, 49, 82, 225, 295.
Archangelski Sobor, 190 ff.
Architecture, Muscovite, 3, 223, 302;
arches, 168;
Church, 181,
diversity of, 225;
Domestic, 169, 225, 228;
Ecclesiastical, 177;
Origin of Muscovite, 168;
of “Skorodom,” 220, 301.
Arms of Moscow, 36, 125.
—— of Romanofs, 125.
—— of Russia, 36.
Art, Bookbinders’, 192;
Byzantine examples, 122, 142, 261;
church, 192, 194;
decorative, 246;
ecclesiastic, 182;
frescoes, 192;
gems and jewellery, 198;
Gothic influence on Muscovite, 141, 280;
ikon-portraiture, 183;
metal work, 243;
pictorial, 221;
wall-paintings, 188, 195.
Askold and Dyr, 5.
Ascension Convent, 257, and see Vossnesenski.
Assumption, Cath. of, 185 ff;
and see Uspenski Sobor.
—— Church of, 89.

Baati, 16.
Balaam, Metrop., 253.
Barmi, 140.
Basmanovs, 74, 91, 98.
Beards and Fines, 216.
Belskis, 81, 91.
Best, Harry, 240.
Bells, Founding, 159.
—— Moscow, 157 ff.
Belvederes, 41, 117, 154.
Bibliography, 307.
Bielo-Gorod, 40, 82, 207.
Bielo-Ozersk, 52, 92.
Black Clergy, 253.
Blagovieshchenski Sobor, 44, 130, 193 ff.
Blessed Willie,” 67.
Blessing the Water, 150.
Bogoloobski, Andrew, 15, 87.
Bogoyavlenni Monastyr, 27, 255.
Bomel, Dr E., 72, 278.
Borodino, Battle of, 286.
Borovitski Vorot, 41, 291, 299.
Bowes, Jeremy, 43, 62.
Boyards, 63;
customs of, 227;
duma of, 81, 134.
Brides of the Tsars, 118, 120.
Bruce, Field-Marshal, 210;
Tomb of, 261.
Byzantium and Moscow, 32.
—— Style of in, 261.
—— Symbols of, 140.

Cannon, 96, 160, 300.
Carriages and Harness, 140.
Caspian, Jenkinson on the, 273.
Cathedrals, Location of, 164;
see Sobor and Xram.
Chancellor, R., 132, 276.
Chani-Bek, 253.
Chapel of St Dmitri, 189.
—— St Gabriel, 196.
—— St George, 196.
—— Sts. Peter and Paul, 189.
—— St Samon, 197.
see also Church.
Characteristics of boyards, 100, 115, 237.
—— Ivan IV., 78.{310}
Characteristics of Peter I., 206.
—— Moscow, 1, 141, 301.
—— Moscow Citizens, 237.
—— Moscow Princes, 10, 47.
Charm of Moscow, 225, 252.
Chasovia, see Chapels.
Chastok, 245.
Chemiaki, 28, 31, 145.
Chibanov, 53.
Christianity in Russia, 3, 6, 32, 86-95, 174 ff.
Chudov Monastyr, 92, 253 ff.
Church, Russian, 172 ff;
feasts of, 263, and Tsar, 55, 69, 116, 215;
and Western Church, 32, 95;
saves Moscow, 23, 101.
Church of St Ambrose, 266.
—— St Balaam, 266.
—— St Catherine, 259.
—— Sts Constantine and Helen, 174.
—— St George, 259.
—— St James, 266.
—— St Jehosaphat, 266.
—— St John the Baptist, 130, 148.
—— St Lazarus, 41, 45, 127.
—— St Nikanor, 266.
—— St Nikolas, 209.
—— St Prokhor, 266.
—— St Saviour’s, 161.
—— the Apostles, 188.
—— Nativity and Flight, 127.
—— Our Saviour on High, 128, 161.
—— Vasili Blajenni, 47, 65, 179.
Churches of the Bielo-Gorod, 205, 209, 225.
—— Kitai-Gorod, 204.
—— Kremlin, 185.
—— Palace, 127 ff.
—— Suburbs, 246, 249, 307.
—— Zemlianni-Gorod, 181, 209, 225.
Citizens and Tsar, 34, 54.
City of Churches, 138.
Constantinople, see Byzantium.
Convent, Ascension, 257.
—— Conception, 260.
—— Nativity, 251.
—— Nikitski, 224.
—— Novo Devichi, 265.
—— Strastnoi (Passion), 260, 301.
—— Zachatievski, 260.
Convent-Life, 258, 269.
Cossacks, 91, 263.
Crimean War and English in Moscow, 282.
Cross, Pre-Christian, 7;
Russian, 182, 196.
Cruelties, 33, 49 ff, 150, 212, 215, 232, 240, 246, see also Ivan IV. and Peter I.
Customs, of early Slavs, 7;
of Mediæval Moscow, 132;
curious, 248, 265.

Daniel Mikhailovich, 17.
Danilovski Monastyr, 17, 264.
Delagardie, General, 100.
Dissent and Dissenters, 202, 204 ff.
Diversity of Moscow, 225.
Dmitri Donskoi, 23, 139 ff.
—— “first false,” 91 ff.
—— Ivanovich, 51, 85.
—— “second false,” 101, 103, 107.
—— of the “terrible eyes,” 19.
Dogma and Ritual, 177, 200.
Dolgoruki, family, 15, 118.
—— Yuri, 12.
Dom Chukina, 223.
Dom Romanovykh, 108.
—— Usupov, 219.
Domostroi, 50, 235.
Don Cossacks, 91, 105.
Donskoi Monastyr, 82, 263.
Drinking habits, 235-236.
Dukhobortsi, 203.
Duma of the boyards, 134.

Ediger, 27.
English in Moscow, 54, 58, 62, 210, 270 ff.
Epiphany, 255, and see Bogoyavlenni.
Etiquette, Muscovite, 43, 97.
Eudoxia, (Donskoi), 258.
—— Striechnev, 119.
—— Lapunov, 216.
Euphrosina, 258.
Express trains, 303.

Fairs, 38, 238.
Famine, 38, 106.
Fioraventi, Aleviso, 44, 148.{311}
Fire, The great, 290 ff.
Fires in Moscow, 16, 23, 25, 49, 50, 104, 227.
Florence, Council of, 32.
Florovski, v. Spasski Vorot.
Food of Muscovites, 234, 305.
Foreigners in Moscow, 23, 33, 52, 54, 58, 62, 64, 73, 99, 139, 274 ff, 295.
Foundling Hospital, 269.
French cannon captured, 160, 297.
—— Invasion, 284 ff; settlers, 295.

Gaden, Dr, 212.
Galitzin, Kniaz, 145.
Galloway, Chris, 157, 280.
Gates, see Vorot.
George, Prince, 17.
—— St. 125, 259.
Glinski, Helena, 38, 47.
Gluiski, 49, 71.
Godunov, Boris, 73, 80 ff, 85.
—— Theodore, 92.
Golden Gates, 133.
—— Hall, 131.
—— Horde, see Tartars.
—— Palace, 82, 128.
—— —— Lesser, 82, 112, 127.
Good Companions,” 26.
Gordon, Patrick, 281.
—— Alexander, 282.
Gostinnoi Dvok, 293.
Granovitaia Palata, 38, 43, 124, 131.
Greeting, Manner of, 242, 244.
Griffins, Heraldic, 125.

Hamilton, Miss, 278.
Herberstein, 43, 231.
Hermogen, Patriarch, 103.
Historical Museum, 6, 178.
Holy Bread,” 255, 260.
—— Coat, 189.
—— Corridor, 131.
—— Moscow, 205.
—— Vestments, 165.
Horsey, Jerom, 47, 58, 64, 71, 79, 85, 88, 274.
—— Adventures of, 276 ff.
Hotels, 304.
Houses, early dwellings, 7;
in Skorodom, 223;
of Russia Company, 277,
see also Dom.

Iberian Chapel, 143, and see Vosskresenski Vorot.
Igor, 5.
Ikonostas, 129, 187, 191, 254.
Ikons, 129.
—— in relievo, 184.
—— miraculous, 257, 259, 288.
—— “Nerukotvorenni,” 182 ff, 201, 262.
—— “Not made with hands,” 182 ff, 201.
—— private and personal, 245.
—— remarkable, 196.
—— trimorphic, 254, 257.
—— Varieties of, 183.
—— Virgin of Pechersk, 196.
—— Virgin of Vladimir, 187, 257.
—— Wonder-working, 259.
Ilyinka, Vorot, 39.
Irene, Princess, 80-82, 87.
Ivan I., 21 ff.
Ivan II., 23.
Ivan III., 32-36.
Ivan IV., 47 et seq.,
anecdotes of, 53, 61 ff;
atrocities of, 49 ff, 57 ff., 241;
tricks of, 53, 69;
victims of, 76;
wives, 77;
wizards, 77.
Ivan V., 241.
Ivan “Groznoiv. Ivan IV.
Ivan the idiot, 68.
Ivan Kalita v. Ivan I.
Ivan Krestitel v. St John the Baptist.
Ivan “the Terrible” v. Ivan IV.
Ivan Veliki, 88, 155.

Jenkinson, Anthony, 272.
Jerusalem Gate, 151.
Jitny Dvor, 149.
John v. Ivan.
John the Baptist, 22, 128.

Kammer College Rampart, 209, 307.
Karamzin, 145.
Kazak v. Cossack.
Kazan, 32, 38, 51.
—— Virgin of, 259.
Kazi-Ghiree, Khan, 82, 88.
Khingiz, Khan, 16, 25.{312}
Khlysti, 203.
Kholmogori, 271.
Kief, 5, 9, 22, 253.
Kitai-Gorod, 38, 82, 104, 147, 205, 238, 277, 301.
Kontchaka, 19.
Kourbski, Prince, 53.
Krasnœ Kriltso, 126, 164.
—— Ploshchad, 110, 238.
—— Vorot, 219.
—— Ugol, 132.
Kremlin, 13, 22, 40;
derivation of, 22;
dwellings in, 40;
sights of, 147 ff;
view of, 13;
walls, 23, 149.
Krim-Tartars, 82.
Krimski-Brode, 265.
Krimski-val, 265.
Krutitski Vorot, 122, 142.
Kulikovo, 139.
Kutaifa, 154.
Kutchko, Stephen, 12.
Kuznetski Most, 208.

Latin in Moscow, 145.
Lazarus, Church of St, 41, 45, 127.
Le Bruyn, 232.
Legal Procedure, 239.
Libraries, 257.
Life for the Tsar,” 110.
Lithuania, 52, 76, 82.
Lobnœ Mesto, 93, 152, 251.

Mahommedans and Muscovites, 17, 23, 28, 34, 38, 64, 182, 265.
Maiden’s Field, 265, and see Novo Devichi.
Mamai, Khan, 23 ff.
Marina-Roshcha, 209.
Marosseika, 218.
Marriage customs, 232, 241, 250.
Mary of Vladimir, 187, 257.
—— Church of, 204.
Matvievs, 121, 130.
Medich, 147.
Miaschanska, 209.
Michael, Tsar, 109, 111 ff.
Milosavskis, 120, 259.
Minin, Cosma, 106, 114.
Mniszek, Maria, 97, 100, 113, 258.
Monasteries, early, 27;
existing, 253 ff;
see also Convents.
Monks and Monasticism, 253 ff.
Mordva, 249.
Morozof, Boyard, 73.
—— Boyarina, 202, 222.
Moscow, Arms of, 36;
charm of, 2, 226, 251;
derivation of name, 11;
fires in, 16, 23, 25, 49, 104, 227;
the golden, 141;
looted by the French, 293;
sieges of, 25, 27, 91, 105, 152;
unconventionality of, 2;
views in, 1, 251;
winter in, 226.
Moshi, 177, 255.
Moskva river, 100, 150, 153, 264.
Most (Bridge), Kuznetski, 208;
Kammeni, 305;
Krasnœ Kholmski, 262;
Krimski, 265.
Mstislavskis, 82, 91.
Muscovy and Britain, 73, 270.
—— Lithuania, 37.
—— Livonia, 33.
—— Poland, 81 ff, 132.
—— Tartary, 23 ff, 132.
Muscovites of British descent, 283.
—— allied with Tartars, 21.
Museums, 220.
Mystery Plays, 142.

Napoleon, 124, 290 ff.
Naryshkin, Family of, 121.
Natalia, Tsaritsa, 121, 130.
Nativity, see Rojdestva, 181.
—— Church of 181.
—— Convent of, 251.
Neglinnaia, 15, 49, 153.
New Rows, 238.
Nicholas, patron saint, 184.
—— of Galstun, 157.
—— Stylite, 218.
Nijni-Novgorod, 38, 307.
Nikita, Saint, 224.
—— the preacher, 203.
—— Romanof, 277.
Nikolskava, 153.
Nikolski Vorot, 24, 153, 297.
Nikon, 177, 201.
Nobles, Muscovite, 42, 81, 87, 114.
Novgorod the Great, 5, 38, 57.
Novi Riadi, 238.
Novo Devichi Convent, 87, 265.
Novo Spasski Monastyr, 262.{313}

Oddities, 208, 248.
Old Believers,” 203.
Oleg, 5.
Olga, 6.
Opritchniks, 56, 59 ff.
Orthodoxy and Dissent, 95, 202, 204.
Orujenia Palata, 139.
Osliabia, 24.
Osman and Ahmed, 13.
Ostankina, 209.
Otrepief, 92.
Our Saviour on High,” Ch. of, 128, 161, 280.

Pageantry, Church, 243.
—— State, 123, 137, 243.
Palace, Chequered, 38.
—— Golden, 82, 128.
—— Granovitaia, 43, 124, 131.
—— Great, 124.
—— Irene’s, 80-82, 87.
—— Lesser Golden, 127.
Palaces, early, 40;
site of, 124.
Paleologus, Thomas, 32.
—— Sophia, 33, 128, 232.
Panagies, 257.
Passport, 304.
—— “to St Nicholas,” 246.
Patriarchs, Passage of the, 127.
—— Sacristy of, 197.
—— 86, 96, 106, 177 ff, 215.
Patriarshia Riznitsa, 197 ff.
Pecherski, 165, 253.
Peresvet, 24.
Peter I., 111, 121, 206, 209 ff, 215.
Petrovski Monastery, 250.
—— Palace, 301, 306.
—— Razoomovski, 209.
Philaret, Patriarch, 109, 116.
Philip, Metropolitan, 55.
—— Church of, 197.
Plague Riots, 257.
Plate, 140.
Pleasure Palace, 154, 166.
Pojarski, Prince, 107, 114.
Poland and Muscovy, 81, 132.
Poles in Moscow, 101.
Polish Invasion, 99 ff.
Potieshni Dvorets, 154, 166.
Prince and Peasant, 107, 114.
Processions, 126, 243 ff.
Proverbs, Muscovite, 216.
Prud, Chisty, 12, 251.
—— Krasnœ, 306.
—— Lizin, 261.
Public Buildings, 224.
—— Clocks, 195.

Quaint survivals, 244 ff, 249, 276.
Queen Elizabeth, 77, 85.

Ramparts, Kitai-Gorod, 38, 238.
—— Kremlin, 148;
town, 209, 306.
Red,” see Krasnœ.
Redeemer Gate, 181;
and see Spasski Vorot.
Regalia, 140.
Relics, 189, 192, 196, 255; and see Moshi.
Restaurants, 252, 304.
Riding-School, 224.
Rites, Funeral, 246;
Marriage, 38, 77, 250.
Ritual of Russian Church, 184, 199.
Rojdestva, 181, 251.
Roman Church and Orthodoxy, 86, 95.
Romanof, Anastasia, 49, 109.
—— Dynasty, 109 ff;
House, 108, 228.
See also Alexis, Peter, Philaret, etc.
Rostopchin, Count, 287.
Royal Doors,” 180, 197.
Ruffo, Marco, 131.
Rumiantsev Museums, 220.
Rurik, 5.
Russia Company, 271 ff.

Sacristy of the Patriarchs, 197.
Saints, Russian, 184 ff.
St Saviour’s, see Spass Na Boru, Xram, etc.
Sakkos, 256.
Sanctuary, 188.
Scandinavian influence, 8.
Schlitte, John, 64.
Schools in Moscow, 123, 205, 210, 257.{314}
Scots in Moscow, 273, 281.
Scythians, 5, 294.
Semiradski’s Pictures, 7.
Serfdom, 86.
Sergius, Saint, 175.
Servants’ etiquette, 238.
Shalkan, 277.
Shein, Captain, 105.
Shooiski, family, 48, 81;
Vasili, 95 ff;
Michael, 99.
Shrines, 256.
Simeon Bekbulatov, 69, 262.
—— The Proud, 22.
Simonov Monastyr, 260 ff.
Skopin, Shooiski, 99, 192.
Skoptsi, 203.
Skorodom, 301.
Skutarov, Maluta, 56, 72.
Slavery, 265.
Slavs, Early, 5.
Smolensk, 101, 105.
Sneguirev, 151, 188.
Sobornia Ploshchad, 163.
Solarius, P. A., 151.
Soltikovs, 118, 241.
Sophia, Paleologus, 32, 128.
—— Tsarevna, 145, 211 ff, 255.
Sorcery in Moscow, 77, 121, 247.
Sparrow Hills, 1, 38, 42, 50, 251, 305.
Spass na Boru, 15, 22, 26, 29, 124, 196.
Spasski Vorot, 24, 58, 151, 279.
Srietenka (Meeting);
street, 209.
—— Monastyr, 208.
Standards,” Army, 140;
church, 243.
Stenki-Razin, 145.
Streltsi, 152, 207, 211-215.
Striechnev, family of, 120.
Stoves, 95, 128, 230.
Sukharev Bashnia, 208, 251.
Sussanin, 110.
Sweedes, 113.
Sylvester, 50.
Symbols, 35, 36, 140;
Cross, 182;
George and Dragon, 36;
Two Headed Eagle, 35.

Tainitski Gate, 150.
Taking the Veil, 38, 266.
Tamerlane, 25.
Tartars, allied with Muscovites, 21;
cause of the invasions, 16;
defeats of, 23, 32, 35;
insult, Ivan Vasili, 38;
Ivan IV., 64;
invasions, 9, 16, 25, 26, 34, 38, 63, 82.
Taylor, John, 166, 280.
Tea, 235, 305.
Terem, 41, 112, 117, 126;
Life in, 234.
Theodore I., 80 ff.
—— II., 123 ff.
—— Godunov, 92 ff.
—— Romanof, 123, 128.
—— St. 259.
Thrones, State, 140;
church, 189.
Thronos, 181.
Thurifers, 129.
Tokhta, 19.
Tokhtamysh, Khan, 25.
Tomb of Eudoxia, Tsaritsa, 266.
—— of Dmitri, 191.
—— Ivan IV., 192.
—— Simeon, 262.
—— Sophia, Tsarevna, 266.
Tombs of boyards, 263;
of Matvievs, 219;
of Romanofs, 263;
of Tsars, 191;
of Tsaritsas, 238;
of Varægers, 191.
Tongues,” 216.
Torture, 150, 239;
v. Cruelties.
Tower, see also Bashnia.
—— Alarm, 58.
—— Chastok, 245.
—— of Constantine, 150.
—— Ivan Veliki, 88, 155.
—— Kutaifa, 154.
—— Philaret, 156.
—— Sukharev, 208.
—— Traitors’, 150.
—— Tsaritsa’s, 150.
—— Watch, 245.
Traders, Muscovite, 237.
“Tranquil” Tsar, 145.
Treasury, 139; and see Orujenia Palata.
Treasury, Churches, used as, 41.
Tretiakov Art Gallery, 221.
Trial by Combat, 240.
Trinity Church, 154, 294.
Triumfalnia, 223.
Troitsa Monastery, 12, 24, 27, 31, 101.
Troitski Vorot, 154, 291.
Turberville, 232.
Tver and Moscow, 18, 21, 57.
Twenty Nations,” Invasion of, 286 ff.{315}

Uglitch, 21, 85, 97.
Ugol, Krasnœ, 132.
Universities, 224.
Urusov, Princess, 202.
Usbek, Khan, 22.
Uspenski Sobor, 22, 117, 130, 158, 185 ff.
Usupov House, 219.

Val, Krimski, 265.
—— Zemlianni, 289.
Varœgers, 5.
Varvarka, 228.
—— Vorot, 238.
Vasili I., 26.
Vasili II., 28, 31.
Vasili III., 37.
Vasili Blajenni, 67.
—— —— Ch. of, 47, 65, 67, 179.
Vasili the Blind, 26;
“the squint-eyed,” 28.
Vassian, Archbishop, 34, 52.
Vehicles, Primitive, 247.
Vereshchagin, 221.
Vekkhospasski Church, 128, 161, 280.
Vestments, Sacerdotal, 198.
Views of Moscow, 251.
Virgin of Jerusalem, 187.
—— of Kazan, 205.
—— of Pechersk, 165.
—— of Smolensk, 141, 244.
—— of Vladimir, 187 ff.
Vissotski, 251.
Vladimir, the Great, 6, 139;
the Brave, 28;
Town of, 23.
Vladimirski Vorot, 205.
Vladislas, Tsar, 101.
Voievodes, 35, 42, 63.
Vorot, or Gate,
—— Arbatski, 82.
—— Borovitski, 41, 149, 291, 299.
—— Florovski, 24, 151.
—— Ilyinski, 39.
—— Jerusalem, 151.
—— Krasnœ, 219.
—— Krutitski, 122, 142.
—— Nikolski, 24, 153, 297.
—— Prechistenski, 41, 149, 291.
—— “Red,” 219.
Vorot Redeemer, 24, 58, 151.
—— Spasski, 58, 151.
—— Sukharev, 208.
—— Tainitski, 150.
—— Troitski, 154.
—— Varvarka, 238.
—— Vladimirski, 205, 207.
—— Vosskresenski, 141.
Vosskresenski Vorot, 141 ff., 201, 244.
Vossnesenski Monastyr, 44, 257 ff.
Vsevolojskis, 120.
Vsevoloshski, 28.

Walls of Bielo-Gorod, 82.
—— of Kitai-Gorod, 38, 238.
—— of Kremlin, 23, 148.
—— of Zemlianni-Gorod, 209.
Watch Towers, 245.
Weapons, Muscovite, 139.
Winter in Moscow, 226.
Wives of Ivan IV., 77.
—— of Peter I., 213, 216.
Wizards, 77, 121.
Women in Mediæval Moscow, 8, 33, 48, 61, 62, 72, 81, 86, 118, 121, 137, 213, 216, 231 ff, 269, 278.

Xenia, Princess, 94.
Xram, 298, 299.

Yauza, 249.
Yermak, 63, 81.
Yuri Dmitrovich, 28.
—— Dolgoruki, 28, 36.

Zabielin’s private life of Tsars, 134.
Zachatievski, 260.
Za-ikono-spasski Monastyr, 205.
Zamoskvoretski, 264, 293.
Zapieha, 101.
Zaporogians, 91 ff.
Zariadi, 205.
Zarutski, 113.
Zemlianni Gorod, 209.
Zlatoustinski, 219.
Znamia, 243.




Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
the villiage of Palekh=> the village of Palekh {pg 132}
upon fete days=> upon fête days {pg 134}
timbers will sagg=> timbers will sag {pg 168}
as an old man=> as on old man {pg 175}
a raised dias=> a raised dais {pg 181}
orignal=> original {pg 182}
interest to Anglican’s=> interest to Anglicans {pg 308}
Россій=> Россіи {pg viii}
москва=> москва {pg 226}

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