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Church of St. Basil Cathedral of Blessed Saint Basil the Great

Updated on September 17, 2014

Better known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, the strangest Russian Orthodox church's full official name is the Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat

The religious architectural complex is the brainchild of Ivan the Terrible and was not related to Saint Basil from the beginning. The famous Russian Orthodox church in the Red Square in Moscow has been erected in 1555-61.

The Cathedral of Saint Basil marks the geometric centre of the city Moscow and the spiritual center of its growth since the 14th century, the pride of Russia's rulers and its people. Originally, the religious complex known today as Saint Basil's Cathedral, had been a block of eight side domes around the ninth, situated in the center. A tenth church has been built later within the complex in 1588 over the grave of a venerated local saint Vassily (English: Basil) in the 16th and 17th centuries. The final architectural result is the Saint Basil Cathedral of nowadays, the beautiful Cathedral of St. Basil is a landmark for Moscow and for the Russian culture.

Photo detail of St. Basil's Cathedral by fai yumi on DeviantArt

Saint Basil the Great of Caesarea -- founder of guidelines of the monastic way of life

St. Basil was the great protector of the poor and underpriviledged

Bishop of Caesarea, and one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church, born probably in 329 A.D and died on the 1 January, 379. He was a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth century. With his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and his brother Gregory of Nyssa, he makes up the trio known as "The Three Cappadocians", Saint Basil is perceived above the other two in practical genius and actual achievement. his life was an example of personal dedication for Christian values.

Read more about St. Basil the Great's life stories -- details on various events fo his life..

The Red Square and the St Basil Cathedral in the background

Artwork by Russian painter Vasily Surikov

The St. Basil Cathedral appears in many works of Russian artists. Vasily Surikov has painted this in 1881. The picture is in the public domain -- and the photo is available in high resolution, so you can download and save it as a wallpaper if you want, or use it at your convenience.

St. Basil Cathedral 1000 piece puzzle

St Basil Cathedral -- 3D video of the building - The Cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Saint Patron

The famous Russian cathedral, St. Basil's. pride of a nation -- situated in the Red Square of Moscow, the hub of the Russian state.

St. Basil's Cathedral - Moscow - the Red Square

Blessed Saint Patron father of Orthodox Christianity

It is said that the architect of the complex has been blinded -- to prevent him from building anything similar to this masterpiece. The St. Basil Cathedral in the middle of Moscow is attracting a great number of visitors every year. Foreigners as well as Russians would not miss the opportunity to view the Cathedral of St Basil with its colored forms that cut the unexpected view into the skyline. Russia has many Cathedrals to prove its rich Christian history and the Cathedral of St. Basil is still one of the most impressive building.

Inside details of Saint Basil Cathedral

Details of the famous cathedral in Moscow the Red Square

Take a virtual tour of the St. Basil Cathedral, inside. The church is decorated in the Orthodox Christian style, with icons and murals. The beautiful Cathedral of St Basil serves for religious services but visitors are accommodated in the hours dedicated to tourists.

Postnik Yakovlev -- the architect blinded by Ivan the Terrible

Has been the builder really blinded to keep St. Basil Cathedral unique ?

Is it a myth or it's the truth that Postnik Yakovlev, the architect of the St. Basil Cathedral has been blinded by Ivan the Terrible? Legend says that the Russian ruler asked Postnik Yakovlev, after the completion of works whether he would be able to build another building as beautiful as the Cathedral was. Postnik Yakovlev's answer was that he could build an even more beautiful one, so Ivan the Terrible blinded him as he wanted to keep the Cathedral from being surpassed. Well -- at least that is what the legends say -- but there are records that show that Postnik Yakovlev has built more churches after that. St. Basil Cathedral however, has never had another Cathedral to compete with its uniqueness -- it is still the most colorful and surprising religious building in Russia. During Stalin. the Cathedral was to be razed, according to the Dictator's wishes but a contemporary architect, Baranovsky, defended it -- at a heavy price though -- so that we still can see its full splendor today.

St Basil Cathedral in Russian artists' paintings

Oil paintings and art prints

Russian artists used St Basil cathedral as their subject matter during history -- but today too. Original paintings along reproductions made on commission, as well as prints of original paintings by the great masters of Russian art are keeping the image of this wonderful architectural landmark in the public's minds and hearts.

St. Basil's Cathedral 3D puzzles - Build a great cathedral from the small pieces

Have fun by building a model of the St. Basil Cathedral from the pieces of the puzzles. You can recreate the famous Cathedral of the Saint Patron Basil on a smaller scale by using the photos and the instructions from the booklet attached. A set of pieces of the great Cathedral of St. Basil make it all the more a fun activity -- the whole family can work together on it. It can be made a project for kids -- to develop attention span and a sense of the three dimensional forms -- with the final result of having Saint Basil Cathedral in your home.

Saint Basil Cathedral in the Red Square of Moscow - Items with the painting of the Cathedral

Moscow -- Red Square view of the St basil Cathedral. The gift boxes are hand painted by artisans from the Russian villages of Fedoskino, Palekh, Mstera and Kholui, situated in the regions surrounding Moscow.

Russian Lacquer Box (#3365) MOSCOW-RED SQUARE on mother of pearl
Russian Lacquer Box (#3365) MOSCOW-RED SQUARE on mother of pearl

Lovely item -- a perfect gift for a Russian friend!

Russian Lacquer Box (3298) St.Basil's Cathedral & Kremlin
Russian Lacquer Box (3298) St.Basil's Cathedral & Kremlin

Hand painted and signed item -- a gift to consider!


St. Basil's Cathedral image from a 1000 pieces of puzzle - Puzzles are fun

Make your own image of the St Basil cathedral from the tiny pieces of these puzzles. The whole family can help if it's getting too much for one member only.

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow 1000 Piece Glow-in-the-Dark Puzzle
St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow 1000 Piece Glow-in-the-Dark Puzzle

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow 1000 Piece Glow-in-the-Dark Puzzle


Compare prices - St. Basil's Cathedral puzzles - find the best deals on auction at eBay

Why not looking for the best price for a gift or a hobby item? eBay has offers that can beat other online suppliers of toys and games. This list is constantly updated -- look for the latest offers on St. Basil Cathedral puzzles.

About Saint Basil's works and life - About the early Christian monastic principles

Saint Basil is attributed the set of guidelines that are valid still today -- about a life of peace and harmony by observing values of humility, generosity and spiritual existence.

Other cathedrals in Russia - Cathedrals to visit in Russia

Russia's history is strongly related to the Christian Orthodox Church. The many cathedrals stand witness to the powerful influence of religion to the state's development. The Russian people and its rulers have been deeply religious throughout the times and build churches and cathedrals to commemorate or celebrate important moments for the nation. They stand today as the pride of a culture and tradition with a strong national character.

Christchurch Cathedral of New Zeeland - The Anglican church of Christchurch will be pulled down

It is sad to hear that the majestic Cathedral of Christchurch from New Zeeland will be pulled down as it can not be safely rebuilt. We only can hope that a new structure will replace the existing Anglican church that will be a symbol of renewal and faith. The Christchurch Cathedral has been a landmark for New Zeeland, the pride of a country. The Canterbury Region has experienced many earthquakes over the years, and like many buildings in Christchurch, the cathedral has suffered varying degrees of earthquake damage. Our sympathy is with the people of New Zeeland in the hour of their sadness.

Cathedrals are places of God, peace, love and beauty. They are open not only to the Orthodox Christians but to anyone that holds the universal values of harmony and love. Their beauty in architectural forms and artistic decoration makes cathedrals from all over the world a place to visit. A Cathedral is a symbol that goes beyond religion -- and become landmarks in human history too.

Have you visited a Cathedral dedicated to Saint Basil the Great? - There are quite a few churches dedicated to the Saint Patron Hierarch

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Awesome lens. I know a lot about St. Basil (the Santa Claus of the Orthodox Christians) but the Cathedral is extraordinary. A visit seems as a must. Your research is excellent:=)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I've never traveled there to visit this, but your lens makes me want to! Good job.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      6 years ago from Keller, Texas

      I took an almost replica picture of the little Russian church in Juneau, Alaska. Nice lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I actually have not gotten to visits St. Basil's Cathedral, but my sister did many years ago. I love how you emphasize that cathedrals are places of God, peace, love and beauty...not just tourist attractions. St. Basil's must be one of the most photographed buildings in the world for its beauty and fascination, its irresistible. How sad that the architect may have been blinded to prevent him from similar creations. A beautiful and interesting presentation and what fun a 3D puzzle would be to put together and the glow in the dark puzzle is an interesting twist I hadn't seen before, cool!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good Lord, they blinded the architect! I start saving money for a trip to Russia the Red Square to see the cathedral of St Basil the Great!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      @lawrence01: Thanks for the comment. The Cathedral has indeed an interesting history. The are detailed info on that in the Wikipedia -- there is a link to that section in this article too.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      7 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      I've always been fascinated by the building. Would like more info on whom St Basil was though and how the church came to be built

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      mi-ar placea sa vad aceste catedrale

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      very interesting and documented article

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 

      7 years ago from Ozun

      Saint Sofia in Kiev is my best memory of Russian cathedrals, but Saint basil seems impressive too...beautiful lens and such an original idea.

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 

      7 years ago from Ozun

      Saint Sofia in Kiev is my best memory of Russian cathedrals, but Saint basil seems impressive too...beautiful lens and such an original idea.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      From all churches and cathedrals seen in my trips abroad, I still consider St. Basil Cathedral as one of the most spectacular creations - blending perfectly cheerful colors and different designs - making any visitor feel welcomed from far in a friendly atmosphere.

      On the opposite scale (but also delicate, with unique design and impressive) are the Romanian wooden churches from Maramures area, Sinaia and Valcea ("Biserica dintr-un lemn")... :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I hope to go one day and visit St. Basil's Cathedral -- and more of Moscow, of course.


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