The appearance of the side chapel of St Varus the Martyr is related to the late history of the Archangel Cathedral. The side chapel was originally constructed in the Kremlin’s earliest Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist, which was situated by the Botovitskaya Tower gates. The side chapel was related to the birth of the younger son of Ivan IV, Tsarevich Dmitry – 19 October 1582, which was the day of St Varus. From that time up to the early 20th century, St Varus had been especially venerated. The believers prayed to the Saint for health of children of tender age.

Side-chapel of St VarusSide-chapel of St VarusSide-chapel of St Varus

There was a decision to demolish the old church in the mid of the 19th century. The Throne and the property were transferred to the Borovitskaya Tower, and the Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist was established there. The side chapel of St Varus was transferred to the Archangel Cathedral and placed in a small side chapel built at the north-east part of the cathedral. The iconostasis dedicated to St Varus, the Martyr of the 4th century, was also fixed there. Nowadays, there is a display in the side chapel.

Icon of Warrior Saint VarusIcon of St VarusIcon of St Varus the Martyr, with Marginal ScenesIcon of The Appearance of St Varus to Cleopatra

Icon of Metropolitan AlexisIcon of Venerable EuphrosyneIcon of SS Zosimus and Sabbatius in front of the Solovetsky Monastery, with 11 Marginal Scenes

The icon of St Varus the Martyr – the most venerated and considered to be the wonder-working one according to the cathedral tradition – is of great interest. The Moscow citizens venerated the icon and came up to it with their sick children. It was painted in the 18th century and presented St Varus as a soldier-martyr. It is noteworthy that the staff of the Archangel Cathedral understood the value of that icon. As a result, its exact copy was made in the mid of the 19th century, and the cover from the ancient icon was put on a new one. And besides, two more icons of rare iconography were painted – “St Varus the Martyr, with Marginal Scenes” and “The Appearance of St Varus to Cleopatra”.

Display in the side-chapel of St Varus (fragment)Display in the side-chapel of St Varus (fragment)Sarcophagus of the Grand Princess Eudocia

A new page in the history of the side chapel was turned over in the beginning of the 21st century. When the architectural reconstruction was over, with the patriarch’s blessing it was decided to set out the relics of St Euphrosyne of Moscow (Grand Princess Eudocia). For that to be done, a new shrine for the relics of the saint was made by master V.V. Rusakov upon the project of Y.P. Mosunov. It was analogues in its form and design to the shrine of St Euphrosyne, which was housed in the Ascension Cathedral of the Ascension Convent in the second half of the 19th century and was lost in 1929 when the monastery was demolished. The solemn transfer of the relics took place on the 28th of May 2008. They were enshrined in the center of the side chapel. There is a special showcase at the south wall with a white sarcophagus of the widow of Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy, in which the relics had been kept for 600 years.