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The bright dark-red temple with white decorations is the church of martyr Clement the Pope; it stands on Klimentovsky side-street.
One of the most beautiful temples of Moscow, the one dedicated to Clement, the Pope of Rome, was built in the mid-18th century. But the wooden church that had stood here before had been known since early 17th century. In 1612, which is an important year in the Russian history, the kazak forces that were guarding a small fortress managed to win a victory over the poles. All the poles that died in the battle were buried next to the Saint Clement’s church.
There are no analogues to the Saint Clement’s church among Moscow’s architectural objects. Its design is normally attributed to Pietro Trezini, an outstanding architect of Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately, it is not possible to verify this by any documents. It is also unknown who commissioned the construction of this splendid temple. One of the most popular – and most feasible – versions suggests it was merchant Kozma Matveev, whose manor is situated next door. It is known for certain that Matveev presented the temple with a large bell. Another version proposes that count Mikhail Bestuzhev-Riumin should receive recognition for it: he fell from grace with the ruling elite because his wife, Anna Yaguzhinskaya, became involved in a conspiracy against empress Elizabeth Petrovna. That would be the count aiming to re-establish himself by marking the empress’s accession to the throne on the day of Saint Clement’s memory.
When the soviet era began, and the temples were shut down one by one, the Saint Clement’s church also fell under the threat. An atheistic miracle was to save the place: the legend has it that the very Clement Voroshilov himself, a prominent soviet military figure, stood up for the temple. Chances are, that’s all due to its name. Either way, the church was not demolished, and the archives of the State library were moved here. Its employees understood very well what working space they had received, so they made sure the shelves were put up in such a manner so as to not damage the unique iconostasis and the paintings on the walls.
In the early 21st century the books finally left the storage spaces of Saint Clement’s church, and it was returned to the faithful and restored. In February, 2009 the consecration of the three-meter crosses took place (there were none on the temple for more than 70 years); the prior was telling its parish: “Touch the cross”. Now many residents of Zamoskvorechie can point to one of the crosses as they pass by and say – “hey, I’ve kissed that cross!”.
Clement the First was one of the five apostolic fathers and was ordained by Saint Peter. Clement was the fourth bishop of Rome. He held the Holy See between the years of 90 to 99 A.D. His selfless lifestyle got emperor Trajan very angry. Clement was sent off to the Crimean rock quarries not far from Hersonessus. The faithful Christians managed to dig and carve an underground temple there, where Clement held services and christened the pagans that had found faith. In 101 Trajan ordered the bishop to be drowned. He was tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.
Saint Clement is widely revered by the orthodox Christians. The reason is that his hallows became the first Christian relic on the territory of Russia (or Rus, as it was called back then). The hallows let themselves be discovered in Korsun (the former name of today’s Hersonessus) by one of the Slavic alphabet creators, Cyril. Some of the hallows were transferred to Kiev by Prince Vladimir, where they had stayed in the Desiatinnaya Church until the 13th century; then the myrr-pouring head of Clement got moved to the Kiev-Pechora monastery. The other hallows were delivered to Rome by Cyril and his brother Methodius. This was one of the reasons that Pope Andrian II decided to allow Christian services in Slavic.
The creators of Slavic alphabet, the Cyril and Methodius brothers, considered Saint Clement to be the patron of their educational mission. Having passed away, Cyril was buried in the ancient basilica of Saint Clement in Rome. His hallows remain there until this very day.
The territories of historical district Zamoskvorechye lie on the right (southern) bank of the Moskva River. They joined Moscow in the 14th century when Russian lands used to suffer from the Golden Horde raids. The settlers mainly were soldiers, handicraftsmen and merchants. Their life was organized in a patchwork sloboda system. In 1591-1592 during the reign of Feodor I the fortified wall on the site of the present-day Garden Ring was built. Even now, one can easily understand from the street names what occupation the residents had centuries ago. For example, royal garden attendants (садовники, sadovniki) settled in the beginning of present-day Sadovnicheskaya Street from 1495 until the fire of 1701; tanners specializing in sheepskin (oвчинники, ovchinniki) gave their name to Ovchinnikovsky Lanes; royal mint workers (монетчики, monetchiki) – to Monetchikovsky Lanes, Court translators (толмачи, tolmachi) to Tolmachevsky Lanes. Bolshaya Ordynka Street was named after Orda, was the road to the Golden Horde, and was initially home to the Tatar community.
During our tour we are going to tell you about famous historic buildings in Pyatnitskaya Street, the main walking street of the district. We will walk around the State Tretyakov Gallery and listen to the story about the Tretyakovs, famous Russian businessmen, collectors and patrons of art, and the history of their collection and Gallery building.
There is also the house and museum of another famous Russian businessman and patron of art - Bakhrushin museum of theater, built in 1896.
Famous Russian writer Alexander Ostrovsky also lived in Zamoskvorechye, in Malaya Ordynka street. If you like his works you can visit his house-museum.
Zamoskvorechye is famous for its churches: Church of St. Sophia Of God's Wisdom on Gardener's Island and its belfry, Church of St. George the Victorious in Endova, The Church of the Ikon “the Joy of All Who Suffer”, The Church of St Nicholas at Pyzhakh, etc. Each of them has its own history and mystery.
With Your Audio Guide you will go through all the streets and lanes, get familiar with some interesting yards, explore the legends and myths and find out the truth. You will relax on the benches of Bolotnaya square; take pictures of the Kremlin domes, Giant Peter the Great statue, river embankments, learn about the former Mamontov Hotel and super deluxe Balchug-Kempinsky.