by Yekaterina LYUMINA, Cand. Sc. (History), Moscow Kremlin Museums
White stone sarcophagi with the remains of grand duchesses and tsarinas have formed a part of the Kremlin Memorial Complex since 1929.
They were transferred from the Cathedral of the Ascension of the Lord of the Ascension Convent, located within the Kremlin walls (for the cathedral had been condemned for demolition), to the Court Chamber-the basement part of the Archangel Cathedral.
Studies of the tombs were launched in the 1990s, and six years ago the Historical Necropolis working group was formed.
Yelena Glinskaya's portrait. Restored by N. Nikitin. 1990s.
With materials of research being accumulated it was resolved to organize a permanent exhibition on their basis in the southern annex of the Archangel Cathedral. The exhibition's introductory part, according to the complex program elaborated by our specialists, should be devoted to the history of the architectural ensemble, the convent's life and activity in the course of the past five centuries and to its main Cathedral of the Ascension of the Lord that serves as the place of burial for women of the royal family.
Chronicles provide very scarce and varying data of the convent's foundation. According to one of the sources, "in the same spring of 6915 (1407) Grand Princess Yevdokiya Dmitriyeva laid the foundation stone of the stone Church of the Holy Ascension inside the city ... in the same year on June 7 she died ... and was named Euphroxie as a nun and buried in the convent in the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, for it was she who had ordered its construction". Another chronicle runs as follows: "In the same winter of 6894 (1386) Christian Semen Yama died and was buried in Moscow in the Holy Ascension Convent", i.e., the latter existed on the above-mentioned date.
The convent functioned under the patronage of the ruling dynasty. Symbolically, the tsars' brides used to stay here before marriage, and grand princesses and tsar ... Read more