The Cathedral of the Dormition, Copyright Татьяна Чеп (Tatyana Chep)
The Cathedral of the Dormition, also called Assumption Cathedral (Russian name Uspenskiy Sobor), is on the northern side of Cathedral Square in Moskvá’s Kreml. It’s surrounded on all sides by the Palace of Facets, Ivan the Great Bell Tower, and the Church of the Twelve Apostles. This beautiful, imposing cathedral is Muscovite Russia’s mother church.
Northern door, Copyright Alvesgaspar
Tsar Ivan III, the Great, the first Russian ruler to call himself Tsar, ordered its construction in the 15th century. Architect Aristotele Fioravanti built it from 1475–79. Under the reign of Ivan I (Ivan Kalita [Moneybag]), a cathedral dedicated to Theotokos (the Virgin Mary) had been built and dedicated, but this cathedral had fallen into disrepair by the end of the 15th century. A new cathedral was built from 1472–74, but as it neared completion, the placement of the drum of the main cupola caused it to collapse, and they had to start all over again. The new cathedral combined Russian traditions with Renaissance style.
In 1547, the coronation of Tsar Ivan IV (Ivan Grozniy, whose title truly translates as “fearsome,” “awe-inspiring,” and “dreadsome,” NOT “terrible”) took place in the cathedral. Starting in 1721, with Peter the Great, it became the location for all coronations. The installation of patriarchs and metropolitans of the Russian Orthodox Church also took place here, and this is where most of those religious leaders’ tombs are.
Sadly, this beautiful cathedral has suffered much through the ages, with fires in 1518, 1547, 1682, and 1737; looting by Polish–Lithuanian forces during the Smutnoye Vremya (Time of Troubles) in 1612; and more looting and being used as a stable by the occupying French in 1812. In 1894–95, it underwent a thorough restoration. Its final religious service was held on Easter 1918, with special permission from Lenin. Following this, it became a museum. A story claims Stalin held a secret service here in the winter of 1941, when the Nazis were at the threshold of Moskvá, to pray for the country’s salvation.
It underwent repairs in 1949–50, 1960, and 1978. In 1990, it reopened for sporadic religious services, and since 1991, has been fully restored to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Holy Doors and part of the ikonostasis, Copyright user:shakko
During the coronation ceremony, the Tsar would enter the Holy Doors to take Communion with the priests for the first and only time in his life, taking the bread and wine separately instead of mixed together in a special spoon. In my alternative history, a new tradition is started when the Tsaritsa, Arkadiya, also goes inside the Holy Doors to receive Communion. Prior to this fantasy coronation in 1931, the Tsaritsa always remained outside to take Communion like everyone else. Not only does the Tsaritsa come inside, but the baby Tsesarevich, Yaroslav (Yarik), also comes inside for Communion. In Eastern Orthodoxy, infants take Communion. Hey, it’s the 20th century, and Russia has become a constitutional monarchy.
Copyright Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden
The Chrysler Imperial Touring is probably my third-most desired antique car, after the sweet, sweet Duesenberg and Rochet-Schneider. This was Chrysler’s top of the line vehicle for much of its existence, starting with its début in 1926. It was initially manufactured until 1954, and then brought back from 1990–1993. In my alternative history, this is one of the cars in Tsar Aleksey II’s garage. He’s not allowed to drive, for fear the worst might happen, but there’s nothing the matter with being a passenger.