S. V. Zagraevsky
Published in Russian: Çàãðàåâñêèé Ñ.Â. Íîâûå èññëåäîâàíèÿ ïàìÿòíèêîâ àðõèòåêòóðû Âëàäèìèðî-Ñóçäàëüñêîãî ìóçåÿ-çàïîâåäíèêà. M.: Àëåâ-Â, 2008. ISBN 5-94025-099-8
Questions of date and status of Boris and Gleb Church in Kideksha
1. Issues of the date of Boris and
The Church of Boris and Gleb in Kideksha is located close
to the confluence of the Nerl and the Kamenka rivers (about
This message is placed in the annals under
N.N. Voronin also dated the church by 11523.
But, nevertheless, the researcher doubted in the above mentioned message of
Such trend of dating of the churches listed by
Of course, this is a fertile ground for every researcher of pre-Mongolian architecture of North-Eastern Russia to put forward his own version of the dating of Yury’s temples. This is already observed in relation of Boris and Gleb church (1148 and 1149-1152 may be found in the popular scientific literature9). But is such a position legitimate?
Before all let us show the consistency and adequacy of the message of “Typograph” Chronicle, which dates all listed churches of Dolgoruky by 1152.
First, after almost two years in Kiev Yuri Dolgoruky
was hardly short of money –Kievites treated him as a greedy not for nothing
(see Chap. 2). Probably, leaving
And in North-Eastern Russia there was enough vacant land, with which the builders could be awarded.
Consequently, Dolgoruky had financial and material resources for construction of several white stone churches and several fortresses.
Third, if the chronicler "summarized" Dolgoruky’s buildings of 1148-1157 (as it was assumed by N.N. Voronin and O.M. Ioannisian), it is not clear why he placed a message about them under the intermediate random date – 1152. It would have been much more logical to describe them under 1157.
Fourth, the Chronicle says that Yuri’s temples were "erected" and “completed”. In ancient Russian chronicles the word "to erect" (as well as much less common "to complete"11) in respect of the temples was synonymous with the word "to build", and chroniclers usually meant that the construction was started and completed this year.
For example, Vladimir Chronicle under 1401 reports
that in Novgorod the stone church of King Constantine and his mother
Helena at Yanev street were “erected”, and Bishop Ivan founded the stone city
fortress of Novgorod12; in 1432 “two stone churches of St. George on
Borkov street, and St. Nicolas in Buryagi behind the lake were erected”, and in
1433 "Bishop Eufimy founded the stone church of St. Ivan Chrysostom at the
gate"13; in 1514, "the church of St. Barbara at the
opposite side of Pansky courtyard was consecrated by Metropolitan Varlam, and that
church was erected by Yuri Urvihvostov and Theodore Boar... In the city of
In First Novgorod Chronicle of “younger edition” it is
said under 1442: "The same year God-loving Novgorod Archbishop Eufimei
erected St. Saviour Transfiguration church in Rusa, on the basis of the old,
with help of the people of Novgorod and Rusa, and was completed in September 13
“Typograph” Chronicle reports under 1017:
"Yaroslav founded the great city of
So, a number of examples, which show that the chroniclers usually shared the terms "to erect", "to complete", "to consecrate", "to begin construction" and "to found", can be cited.
Fifthly, one-year period for construction of temples
of scale of Boris and Gleb church in Kideksha and Transfiguration Cathedral in
Pereslavl was quite usual in ancient
Therefore, the message of
Thus, the suggestion of N.N. Voronin and O.M. Ioannisian, that the chronicler "summarized" Dolgoruky’s buildings, is an attempt to disavow the message of “Typograph” Chronicle.
Undoubtedly, there were occasions when chroniclers
"summarized" buildings, and confused the terms, and made mistakes. But
a priori critical attitude to invaluable documentary information of mid-XII
century is unacceptable, and it will be possible to acknowledge the message of
Rostov chronicler false or "summarizing" only in the case of
exceptionally strong and significant counter-arguments, leaving no doubts (a
similar situation occurred in our study of the question whether a cathedral was
Let us see whether the arguments of N.N. Voronin and O.M. Ioannisian qualify for such an exceptional value and reliability.
First, as we have showed in Chapter 2, there was the
direct influence of "Holy Roman Empire" to the architecture of
Dolgoruky (and not through the distant province of Galicia, but through the
nearest neighbor of Suzdal – Novgorod), and that Dolgoruky’s temples were built
by local craftsmen under the guidance of local architects, who had been trained
in Western Europe. Consequently, Yuri Dolgoruky possessed not of Galician or
Lesser Polish artel, but of architects and a number of skilled craftsmen
(B.A. Ognev called them "construction squad"18), and
they could, using local construction personnel, organize the simultaneous
construction in several cities (respectively, in 1152 – in Pereslavl-Zalessky,
Suzdal, Yuriev-Polsky, Kideksha and
Secondly, the famous "Antimension" from St. Nicholas Cathedral at Dvorishe in Novgorod, which says about the consecration by Nifont, Archbishop of Novgorod, of some "altar of St. George" in 1148 (O.M. Ioannisian attracted this antimension as the justification for the dating of St. George Cathedral in Yuriev-Polsky by 114819), has very doubtful authenticity. A special study of the author is devoted to this issue20, here it makes sense to list only the main arguments:
–uncharacteristic for church documents wording occurs
in the text of "Antimension": “Consecrated by Nifont, Archbishop of
– Archdiocese of
– in 1148, Bishop Nifont came to Yuri Dolgoruky. The Chronicle describes in details all of what the Bishop of Novgorod was engaged in during his stay in Suzdal21, but there is nothing about the consecration of St. George church (and even more of such exceptional importance, as St. George Cathedral in Yuriev-Polsky;
– clear signs "artificial aging" are seen at the document.
In the mentioned study the author of the book gave the
version of the origin of this document. It can be briefly expressed as follows:
there is no doubt that in XIII-XV centuries Grand Princes of Vladimir, and then
Consequently, the document, which is stored in
Hermitage, is not an evidence of consecration by Bishop Nifont in 1148 of some
Third, if we accept the version of
O.M. Ioannisian that
And we can not suppose after O.M. Ioannisian that
Thus, no argument of N.N. Voronin and
O.M. Ioannisian refutes the message of “Typograph” Chronicle, and we can
But the question arises: is it the date only of the foundation of the temples, or all those churches were fully built during that year? Did Dolgoruky see his temples completed?
The construction of
Transfiguration Cathedral in Pereslavl in Yuri’s lifetime is confirmed by
“Stepennaya Book”: “beautified it wonderfully with adorable painting and holy
icons”. There is a number of chronicle reports that in 1157 Andrey
"completed the stone
The situation with St. George church
in Dolgoruky’s courtyard in
But Yuri, the Prince of Suzdal since the beginning of
XII century, was to have a courtyard in
And since Vladimir Chronicle tells about the building of St. George church in 115325, and this date is not significantly different from the date given by Rostov Chronicle (the difference could be conditioned by the details of attributing of some works to building or decoration), we accept 1152 as the date of construction of the church.
Thus, we unequivocally accept 1152 as
the date of the
features of architecture of the
In 1660s the head, arches and eastern pillars of the church were completely dismantled, and the apse and eastern parts of the northern and southern walls – dismantled to the level of the arcature zone. Then the eastern pillars were folded again, and the temple was covered by the closed vault with a small head. In this form the temple still survives (Fig. 26 and 27).
The Church in Kideksha is built of high-quality white stone
blocks, perfectly treated and laid almost dry. The plan of the temple, without
taking apses into account, is very close to the square (approximately 15 x
The walls are divided by the exterior lisenes into three unequal parts (middle part is wider and higher). Ledge-like narrowing of the exterior lisenes creates the "perspective" of the wall parts. Inner lisenes match the external lisenes and cross-like pillars. An unloading arch is lined over the western portal in the interior wall (Fig. 29).
The dimensions of
But it should be noted that these churches have a number of important differences:
– in the
– the socle of
– the portals of the Church in Kideksha, compared with the portals of Savior Cathedral, have two additional ledges that create larger "perspective" than in Pereslavl;
– the profile of the basement of the
– the drum of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral is decorated with “porebrik” and crenate belt, on top of the apses there are arcature, “porebrik” and carved tore. In the Church of Boris and Gleb, the drum also had crenate belt (its remains were found under the roof of the temple32), the decor of the apses is unknown to us, but in this church, in contrast to Pereslavl, the deflux at the level of the choir is decorated by arcature with “porebrik” at the level of the choir.
In the western part of Borisoglebskaya church in Kideksha there is a choir, entrance to which is currently being implemented through the rectangular hole in its northern arch. Probably, this is a late entry, but no other traces of the entrance to the choir, as well as of stair-towers or other additions to the temple, are preserved.
During the studying of the church, conducted in 2006 by the author together with T.P. Timofeeva, the latter drew attention to a number of notches for plaster on the western part of the southern wall (Fig. 31), where a stair-tower could be. It is characteristically that the incisions are made on both tiers of the wall part.
Fig. 31. Western part of the southern wall of the church of Boris and Gleb.
No trace of the door to the choirs in the southern part of the wall could be found. In the inner side there are clear signs of complete relaying of the lining (Fig. 32). From outside there are the visible traces of the mortgaged window (see Fig. 31), but around it the lining was also relayed, and this lets us suggest that the mortgaged window is also late with respect to XII century.
Fig. 32. Western part of the southern wall of the Church of Boris and Gleb. View from the choir.
Accordingly, there is a high probability that a stair-tower adjoined the western part of the southern wall. But a definitive answer to this question requires masonry probing (the traces of the door could remain in the rubble of the wall), and new archaeological investigations of the space adjacent to the foundations of the temple. However, the latter can show nothing if the stair-tower was made of wood (probably a similar situation occurred in Pereslavl-Zalessky, where the upper tier of the western fence of the northern wall of Savior Cathedral has clearly expressed doorway, but the archaeological researches33 discovered no traces of the basement of stair-tower).
3. The status of the fortress in Kideksha and of the Church of Boris and Gleb
The extensions to Borisoglebskaya church are closely related to the question, what was Kideksha in pre-Mongol times – a fortified princely residence, or a "full-fledged" city (with permanent population, self-government, trade, crafts, warriors, suburbs and so on).
It is clear that the Church of Boris and Gleb was on the territory of a fortress. In the mid-twentieth century the studies of A.D. Varganov opened the remains of the rampart in the garden to the north-west of Borisoglebskaya church34. But what kind of fortress was it?
The status of Kideksha in pre-Mongolian times and the construction of the church are described in the message of Anania Fedorov, which was recorded in XVIII century according to the words of local old-timers:
“On the place, where now there is the church of the village of Kideksha, near that church there was a suburban courtyard of Grand Princes of Suzdal, and right-believing Grand Prince George Vsevolodovich wanted to build a cathedral on the shore of the Nerl, and to move the city with the fortress to a new place, but was stopped by some revelation, and built a new beautiful and wonderful stone cathedral at the old place inside the city fortress, and on the place on the shore of the Nerl, where he had wanted to build the city fortress and the cathedral, he built of stones, which had remained of the building of the cathedral in Suzdal, the church of the Holy martyrs Boris and Gleb, and founded the monastery for monks dwelling, and called that place Kideksha, i.e. abandoned or unsuitable (that is according to the verbal story)”35.
N.N. Voronin accepted this message of Anania Fedorov (albeit with the reservation that the latter probably confused Yuri Vladimirovich with Yuri Vsevolodovich36) and thought that Kideksha was a country residence of Dolgoruky, i.e. the latter built the Church of Boris and Gleb in his courtyard37. This view is entrenched in scientific and popular literature: it is often written about the Church in Kideksha that it was located in the fortified residence of Yuri38.
Before all we must note two internal contradictions in the position of N.N. Voronin.
First, the researcher accepted the message of Anania, suggesting that it was about Dolgoruky instead of Yuri Vsevolodovich – but in this case he would have been obliged to accept also the hypothesis that Yuri Dolgoruky built the Cathedral of Nativity of the Virgin in Suzdal (Anania said that directly). But the researcher rightly objected to this hypothesis39 (in Chapter 3 we have also shown that Yuri Dolgoruky did not rebuild Suzdal Cathedral).
Secondly, in fact Anania did not say that the Church of Boris and Gleb was built in the courtyard of a Prince. By Fedorov, the Prince's country courtyard was in Kideksha earlier – before Prince’s decision to move there the city of Suzdal. Then the Prince changed his mind, arranged the monastery and built the temple in Kideksha.
Hence, the Church of Boris and Gleb, by Anania Fedorov, was built not as a princely court temple, but as the cathedral of the monastery.
There are internal contradictions and inadequate information also in the message of Anania.
First, as we have seen above, there is the confusion with the names of the princes.
Secondly, we can assume that Anania Fedorov meant exactly Yury Vsevolodovich, and, accordingly, called him the churchwarden of Borisoglebskaya church by mistake. This is confirmed by the following considerations:
– it is unlikely that an historian of XVIII century confused Yury Vsevolodovich with Yuri Vladimirovich: in that time the latter was commonly called Dolgoruky, and if Anania had been thinking of him, it is likely that he would have written so;
– in the message of Anania the Prince is called “right-believing” – so Anania could say about canonized Yury Vsevolodovich, but not about Dolgoruky.
Third, Anania originated the name "Kideksha" from the Russian word "abandoned". But if, by Fedorov, the Prince built there a monastery, this place in any case could not be called "abandoned", on the contrary – it became "Holy". Note that in fact the origin of this name has a very simple explanation: the word "Kideksha" is translated from all Finno-Ugric languages as "stone"40.
And, considering the absurdity of the poll of "local old-timers" in XVIII century about XII century (it's like interviewing of old residents of the city of Aleksandrov in our time about the times of Vasily III and Ivan IV), we unequivocally reject the message of Anania Fedorov as an historical source.
We note that in XVI-XVIII centuries the legend that the church and fortress were built in Kideksha not by Yuri Dolgoruky, but by Yuri Vsevolodovich, was apparently widely distributed. B.M. Pudalov41 quoted the text of a book of the last third of XVI century, connected with Novgorod chronicles: “He fought with Constantine, his brother, at the Gza river. Baty king came then and pursued him at the Cit river. And he, the son of Andrey’s brother Vsevolod, built the Church of Boris and Gleb in Kideksha, and also Gorodets on the Volga”42.
Another opinion, what prince built the temple in Kideksha, is shown in “Supraslskaya” Chronicle: “The Church in Kideksha and the city fortress there, and also Gorodets on the Volga, were erected by Boris Mihalkovich, the son of the brother of Andrey and Vsevolod”43. In respect of this chronicle report N.N. Voronin rightly thought that it meant not Boris Mihalkovich, but Boris Yurievich (the son of Dolgoruky), who was buried in the Church of Boris and Gleb with his wife and daughter44.
But such a combination of various sources of information, which say that both Yuri Dolgoruky and his son were the churchwardens, says with a high degree of probability that Kideksha was an appanage of Boris Yurevich, and therefore a "full-fledged" city.
This position is indirectly confirmed by another source – “Stepennaya Book”: “And he (Prince Yuri – S.Z.) built in Kideksha at the Nerl river near Suzdal stone church in the name of the Holy martyrs Boris and Gleb, where the Holy martyrs’ common camp was, by their way to Kiev, Boris from Rostov, Gleb from Murom”45.
Indeed, it is unlikely that the princes, traveling from different parts of North-Eastern Russia, met just in the middle of the forest: a meeting must have been arranged in advance, and, probably, it was scheduled in the city (at least in the fortress) – so in 1147 Yuri Dolgoruky and Svyatoslav Olgovich agreed to meet in Moscow46.
There are also other considerations that Kideksha was a "full-fledged" city and existed long before the Church of Boris and Gleb building there in 1152.
First, the city of Kideksha was located at the intersection of major trade routes – by the Nerl, which leaded to the Klyazma, and by Kamenka, on which Suzdal stood.
Secondly, Kideksha was not to the west, but to the east of Suzdal – to the direction of Volga Bulgarians, hostile to Russia. Accordingly, if Kideksha had been a small fortified residence of the Prince, the latter could turn out in a "trap" in the case of sudden attack of the enemy. And the presence at the confluence of the Kamenka and the Nerl of a "full-fledged" (and, as we shall soon see, big enough) city as Suzdal outpost was justified.
Thirdly, the author of this book showed47 that Suzdal courtyard of Dolgoruky probably was inside the city walls of Suzdal, near the modern church of Assumption. There was a courtyard of Dolgoruky also in Vladimir. Did the prince need in addition to these closely spaced courtyards one more – in Kideksha – is a debatable question, and to date we have no right to assume the existence of such a courtyard. A small courtyard of Boris Yurevich certainly was in Kideksha, but Dolgoruky would hardly have built a large white stone church in the courtyard of one of his many sons. Consequently, it is much more likely that the Church of Boris and Gleb was the main urban temple.
Fourth, the fortress in Kideksha was big enough. Its probable configuration is given at the plan by P.A. Rappoport48 (Fig. 33). If the south line of ramparts was located on the last slope to the water meadows (now there is road; possibly in the pre-Mongolian time under this slope the Kamenka flew into the Nerl, but then it retreated to the south, as the Klyazma from Bogolyubovo), the total length of the fortress by north-south was no less than 400 m. If the width of the fortress was from 150 to 300 m, then its total perimeter was at least 1 km. Ramparts of approximately the same length (about 1 km) were in Dmitrov, and slightly longer – about 1,4 km – in Suzdal.
Fig. 33. The approximate plan of the fortress in Kideksha (by P.A. Rappoport).
Most likely, during Mongol invasion Kideksha suffered49, but in 1239 the Church of Boris and Gleb was renovated and consecrated, and a white stone seat and a carved altar barrier were probably arranged there50. But, apparently, already in a very short time because of the general deterioration of the economic situation in the region the city fell into decay and its residents moved to nearby Suzdal. In the “List of distant and close Russian cities” (XIV-XV century) there is no Kideksha51. As N.N. Voronin rightly believed, since the XIV century in deserted Kideksha there was a monastery (registrated to Pechersky of Nizhny Novgorod)52, and the former city church of Boris and Gleb became its cathedral.
Accordingly, all the fragments of columns, balusters and plinthite, found during excavations around Borisoglebskaya Church in XIX-XX centuries53, could apply to any municipal buildings. But it can be confirmed only by a large-scale archaeological survey, which Kideksha is still waiting for (even N.N. Voronin wrote about the need for such studies as about an "urgent problem"54).
© Sergey Zagraevsky