CANOPY FOR SACRED RELICS

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Canopy for sacred relicsIn 1624 a new construction appeared in the southwestern corner of the cathedral. By decree of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich the foreman of a steam shop Dmitry Sverchkov cast bronze tracery canopy with a hipped roof laid out in a checkerboard pattern of gold-plated and silvered copper sheets. This shrine, reproducing the image of the main Christian shrine - Koubouklion of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, was originally intended for the storage of a cypress model of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1625 a jewelled golden ark with one of the most revered relics – a shred of Christ’s robe was solemnly inserted into the canopy. Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich received this priceless gift from Shah Abbas of Persia, who conquered Georgia, where the relic embedded in the cross was kept in Mtskheta Cathedral of the Holy Cross (Svetitskhoveli). In honour of the Placing of the Robe of Christ in the Assumption Cathedral on 24 March 1625 Patriarch Filaret and Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich established a feast celebrated on 24 March and later - on 10 July on the eve of the enthronement of the first Tsar of the Romanov dynasty in 1613. This event was represented as a sign of God blessing the royal house and the entire Russian State.

Canopy for sacred relicsCanopy for sacred relicsCanopy for sacred relics

Dmitry Sverchkov’s canopy was originally decorated with coloured mica and put under a tracery lattice with сhased ornaments. When candles were lit there, it looked like a huge lantern carried out during religious processions. In 1913 the shrine was embedded with the reliquary of Patriarch Hermogenes.