No city has made a more conspicuous figure in the history of modern Europe than Moscow. It was one of the last scenes in the eventful drama of a period fraught with occurrences of mingled wonder and terror. Long the wonder of the world for its extent, and for the riches of its nobles, it became still more conspicuous in the annals of the world for the desolation which it suffered when at the height of its grandeur; and no stronger instance perhaps exists of the power of human labor, or of the resources of mankind, than the appearance which "Moscow, risen from her ashes, presents at this day.
The assertion sometimes made, that no city is so irregularly built as Moscow, is in some respects true: none of the streets are straight; the houses, large and small, public buildings, churches, and other edifices, are mingled confusedly together, but it gains by this the advantage of being more picturesque. The streets undulate continually, and thus offer from time to time points of view whence the eye is able to range over the vast ocean of housetops, trees, and gilded and colored domes. But the architecture of Moscow, since the conflagration of 1812, is not quite so bizarre as, according to, the accounts of travellers, it was before that event; nevertheless it is still singular enough. In 1813, the point chiefly in view was to build, and build quickly, rather than to carry any certain plan into execution ; the houses were replaced with nearly the same irregularity with respect to each other, and the streets became as crooked and tortuous as before. The whole gained, therefore, little in regularity from the fire, but each individual house was built in much better taste, gardens became more frequent, the majority of roofs were made of iron, painted green, a lavish use was made of pillars, and even those who could not be profuse erected more elegant cottages. Hence Moscow has all the charms of a new city, with the pleasing negligence and picturesque irregularity of an old one. In the streets, we come now to a large, magnificent palace, with all the pomp of Corinthian pillars, wrought-iron trellis-work, and imposing approaches and gateways; and now to a simple whitewashed house, the abode of a modest citizen's family. Near them stands a small church, with green cupolas and golden stars. Then comes a row of little yellow wooden houses, that remind one of old Moscow; and these are succeeded by one of the new colossal erections for some public institution. Sometimes the road winds through a number of little streets, and the traveller might fancy himself in a country town; suddenly it rises, and he is in a wide "place," from which streets branch off to all quarters of the empire, while the eye wanders over the forest of houses of the great capital; descending again, he comes in the middle of the town to the banks of a river planted thickly with gardens and woods.
The exterior wall of Moscow is upward of twenty miles in extent, of a most irregular form, more resembling a trapezium than any other figure. Within this are two nearly concentric circular lines of boulevard, the one at a distance of about a mile and a half from the kremlin* completed on both sides- of the Moskva; the internal one with a radius of about a mile, spreading only on the north of the river, and terminating near the stone bridge on the one side, and the foundling-hospital on the other. The river enters the barrier of the vast city, to which it has given a name,** about the central point of the western side; and, after winding round the Devitchei convent like a huge serpent, and thence flowing beneath the Tartar battlements of the kremlin, and receiving the scanty stream of the Jaousa, issues again into the vast plain, till it meets the Oka, which joins the Volga, the king of the northern rivers, at Nijnei-Novgorod.
On the north of the Moskva, streets and houses, in regular succession, reach to the very barrier; and though a vast proportion of ground is left unoccupied, owing to the enormous width of the streets and boulevards, the earthen rampart may truly be said to gird in the city. But in the other quarters, and particularly to the south, the city can hardly be said to extend farther than the outward boulevard. Beyond this there are vast convents—the Devitchei, Donskoi (our Lady of the Don), and the Simonovskoi; huge hospitals—the Galitzin, the St. Paul, and the Cheremetieff, the largest of all; the race-course, and the beautiful gardens of the princess Galitzin along the banks of the Moskva; fields, and lakes, and marshes; but all these are within the outer enclosure of the outer wall. This will account for its seemingly scanty population (estimated from the last census) of three hundred and sixty thousand souls.
The centre of this vast collection of buildings is the kremlin, which, with its beautiful gardens, forms nearly a triangle of somewhat more than a mile in circumference. The original founder of the city settled, without doubt, on the kremlin hill, which naturally remained the nucleus of the city at a later period. Adjoining this to the east comes the Kitai Gorod (Chinese city), which still preserves its ancient fence of towers and buttresses. Encircling these two divisions, and itself bounded by the river and inner boulevard, lies the Beloi Gorod (White city). The space enclosed between the two circles to the north of the Moskva, and between the river and the outward boulevard on the south, is called the Zmelnoi Gorod (Green city). Beyond the boulevards are the suburbs.
Previous to the conflagration of 1812, each of the four quarters was surrounded by a wall and bastions: but all perished in that mighty blaze, except the embattled enclosure of the Kitai Gorod, which escaped almost unscathed; and the pious veneration of the worshippers of St. Nicholas soon restored the broken walls and crumbling turrets of the kremlin, " black with the miner's blast," to their present perfect state. The defences of the remaining districts have wisely been dispensed with, and a style somewhat resembling that of its previous architecture was observed in repairing the destruction caused by the fire. But this remark does not apply to the interior of the kremlin, where the arsenal and the new imperial palace are in modern taste, and quite out of character with the ancient buildings within the walls.
Before entering the kremlin, it is well to view it from one or two points on the outside ; and the most favorable spot for this purpose, on. the south side, is the bridge of Moskva Rekoi. From the river that bathes its base, the hill of the kremlin rises, picturesquely adorned with turf and shrubs. The buildings appear set in a rich frame of water, .verdant foliage, and snowy wall—the majestic column of Ivan Veliki rearing itself high above all, like the axis round which the whole moves. The colors are everywhere most lively—red, white, green, gold, and silver. Amid the confusion of the numerous small antique edifices, the Bolshoi Dvoretz (the large palace built by the emperor Alexander) has an imposing aspect. The churches and palaces stand on the plateau of the kremlin as on a mighty salver; the little red and gold Church of the Czars coquetting near the border like some pretty little maiden, and the paler-colored cupolas of the Michcelis and Uspenski churches representing the broad corpulence of a merchant's wife. The Maloi Dvoretz (Little palace), and the convent of the Miracle, draw mo'destly back, as beseems hermits and little people. All these buildings stand on the summit of the kremlin, like its crown— themselves again crowned with a multitude of cupolas, of which every church has at least five, and one has sixteen, glittering in gold and silver. The appearance of the whole is most picturesque and interesting, and it is certainly one of the most striking city-views in Europe.
The northern side of the kremlin is the least attractive: a plain high wall with two gates separates it from the Krasnoi Ploschad (the Red place). The most adorned is the northwest side. Here, in former times, was the Swan-lake. It is now drained, and its bed forms the site of the Alexander garden, which stretches from the Moskva to the giant wall of the kremlin.
What the Acropolis was to Athens, and the Capitol to Rome, the kremlin is to Moscow. It is surrounded by a strong and lofty wall, embattled with many towers and turrets, and several gates. The most important of these is, beyond doubt, the Spass Vorota (the gate of the Redeemer). It is the porta sacra and porta triumphalis of Moscow. Through it entered the triumphant warriors of Vassili-Ivanovich, after the conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan, and those of Michael and Alexis, after the victories obtained in the Ukraine. Over this gate is a picture of the Savior, under a glass, and before it hangs a large, ill-formed lamp, in a massive metal frame; this is suspended by a heavy chain, and under it, to wind it up, stands a complicated old machine, that jarred and rattled here in the time of the czar Michael. A man, whose sole business it is to wind it up, has a table beside him with wax-tapers, which he sells to be lighted before the picture. This shrine is an object of the greatest reverence with the Russians, although few know what it represents, it hangs so high, and the colors are so faded.
This gate forms a passage through the tower, of about twenty paces long, and every one, be he what he may, Mohammedan, heathen, or Christian, must take off his hat, and keep it off, till he has passed through to the other side. Any one passing through, and forgetting to uncover, is immediately reminded of the fact, nor would it be safe to neglect the hint. This gate obtained its sacred reputation in the course of centuries, through many reputed miracles wrought by its means. Often, as the people relate, the Tartars have been driven back from it; miraculous clouds have veiled the defenders of the kremlin, who sought its shelter, while the pursuing Tartars were unable to find the entrance. Even the presence of the " temple-plundering Gauls," according to the Russians, only served to increase the renown of this gate. They thought the frame of the picture was of gold, and endeavored to remove it. But every ladder they planted broke in the middle! This enraged the French, who then brought a cannon to batter down door and picture together; but, do what they would, the dry powder was possessed by the devil of water, who was too much for the devil of fire, and would not explode! At last they made a great fire with coals over the touch-hole : the powder was now subdued, but it exploded the wrong way, blowing the cannon into a thousand pieces, and some of the French artillerymen into the bargain, while gate and picture remained unharmed! The spoilers, now overmastered by dread, withdrew, acknowledging the miraculous power. Such is the story told by the taper-seller at the gate. The origin of the custom of uncapping at the " Holy Gate " is unknown ; several traditions are extant, yet the authenticity of any fact is lost in the darkness of ages; but the feelings of devotion are still fresh and powerful, and it is to be doubted whether any bribe would be sufficient to induce a Russian to pass this archway, by either day or night, without uncovering his head. The emperor himself bares his imperial brow as he approaches the Spaskoi; the officer and soldier in all the pomp and circumstance of war do the same; and thus tradition says it has been since the wooden walls of the first kremlin were raised. The greatest care is taken not to allow dogs to enter by the Savior's gate — a proof that in a religious point of view the Russians look upon this animal as unclean.
The Nicholas gate, although not so privileged as the Spass Vbrota, has also a wonder-working picture, that of St. Nicholas, over it. It was near the entrance of this gate that Napoleon's powder-wagons exploded and destroyed a large part of the arsenal and other buildings. The gate escaped with a rent, which split the tower in the middle as far as the frame of the picture, which stopped its farther progress. Not even the glass of the picture, or that of the lamp suspended before it, was injured. So says the inscription on the gate, and the remarkable rent is eternalized by a stone differing from the rest in color.
All the gates of the kremlin are connected by a strong and lofty wall, which encloses it in the form of a vast triangle with many towers. Within this wall are contained all the most interesting and historically important buildings of Moscow: the holiest churches, with the tombs of the ancient czars, patriarchs, and metropolitans; the remains of the ancient palace of the czars, the new one of the emperor Nicholas, the arsenal, senate-house, &c., and architectural memorials of every period of Russian history—for every Russian, monarch has held it his duty to adorn the kremlin with some monument.
The two most important remains of the old palace of the czars are the Terema and the Granovitaya Palata — the former containing the gymnasium, the latter the coronation-hall of the czars. The main body of the palace was so much injured by the French, that no restoration was possible. In its place a new palace was erected, called the Bolshoi Dvoretz (Great palace), or, from its builder, the Alexanderski Dvoretz. The ruins of both the others are by the side of it, and connected with it by stairs and galleries. They were so desolated by the French, that door and window stood open to wind and tempest. The coronation-hall was restored long ago, and the emperor Nicholas has repaired the Terema.
Terema, or terem, is the name given in every Russian peasant's house to the upper part of the building, round which, sheltered by the projecting roof, a balcony runs, and where the daughters and younger children of the house are lodged. It may easily be imagined that the terema plays no insignificant part in the love-songs of the people. This part of the old palace of the czars is called pre-eminently the Terema. Tha building consists of four stories, of which the lowest is the largest, gradually diminishing, till the upper floor is so small as only to contain one room. On the space thus left by the retreat of the upper story from the ceiling of the under, a balcony is formed, with steps both within and without, ascending from one terrace to the other. On the lowest floor are the throne and audience-chambers of the czars; the upper one was the dwelling of the czarovnas (princesses) and the children. All these rooms have been repaired in the old Russian taste. The stoves are very peculiar in form, and all the plates of which they are composed ornamented with paintings. The walls are ornamented with decorations almost outvying the gorgeous glories of the Alhambra. They display an extraordinary confusion of foliage, vine-trellises, singularly-imagined flowers, woven in arabesques, and painted with the gayest colors. Oir the painted branches are perched birds, yellow, blue, gold, and silver; squirrels, mice, and other small animals; on every bough hangs a load of costly fruit, and all sorts of knots and figures in gold are entwined among them. Here and there are portraits of the czars, armorial bearings, houses in miniature, and what not. Originals for these fancies were found in old churches, but of course the work of the modern artist is much more elegant, richer, and better executed.
From one of the terraces of the Terema there is an entrance into the little church of the Redeemer, which was also plundered by the French, but re-endowed most magnificently with gold and silver vessels by the emperors Alexander and Nicholas. This is ornamented with twelve gilded cupolas, the size of chimneys—the sight of which, no doubt, in ihe days of childhood, delighted many a czar. It was on the terrace-roof of the Terema, whence there is a splendid view of the city and its environs, that Napoleon placed himself on the first day of his very short stay at Moscow, to behold the beauties of his short-lived and fatal conquest.
Connected also with the Bolshoi Dvoretz is the singular building of quadrangular or cubical form, the Granovitaya Palata. On the second story is the coronation-hall of the czars, a low and vaulted apartment, the arches uniting in the centre, where they rest upon a thick, square column. The crimson-velvet hangings used at Nicholas's coronation still ornament the walls; they are embroidered in gold, with eagles bearing thunderbolts, and with the initials of the emperor: a golden candelabrum is worked between each of these. The throne, under a velvet canopy, is opposite the entrance, and over the 'windows are the armorial bearings of the different governments of Russia. The pillar in the centre is divided by circular shelves, on which the'regalia are displayed on the day of the coronation. Here the emperor sits enthroned, after the ceremony in the cathedral, adorned for the first time with all the imperial insignia, and dines amid his nobles. After that royal feast the room is untrodden, save by the curious stranger, until death calls the reigning czar to the sepulchre of his fathers, and the gorgeous banquet is spread anew for his successor.
A long, low passage, the walls of which were richly painted and gilded with barbarous devices, led to the room of state of the rulers of the olden time. They knew not of seat or throne, save the deep niches cut in the painted walls ; and where, unless.they far out-topped in stature the degenerate mortals of later times, they must have sat with their royal legs dangling most uncomfortably in mid-air, as the niches are between three and four feet from the ground.
It has been remarked that, on the spot where the main body of the old Tartar palace stood, the emperor Alexander erected the Bolshoi Dvoretz (Great palace). It is very lofty compared with its facade, but the whole effect is good when viewed from the .base upward. The interior is not striking for either its decorations or furniture; nevertheless, the palace, though of such recent erection, is not without interest. The rooms, which have been at various times inhabited by members of the imperial family, are in exactly the same state as when they left them; and the servants who show the building announce the history of each room—as the throne-room of the emperor Alexander, the bath-room of the empress Maria Peo-dorovna, &c. Almost every room is illustrated by silent memorials of those who once occupied the apartments. In the apartment of the emperor Alexander is a pocket-handkerchief which he left here before he set out for Taganrog; there are also some instruments which indicate what his occupations were — as a rule, quadrant, black-lead pencil, India rubber, &c. His bedroom is as simple as it caii well be : a bed with a straw-mattress, half a dozen leather-covered chairs, and a small looking-glass, make up the whole furniture.
The Maloi Dvoretz (Little palace), adjoining the Granovitaya Palata, was built by the emperor Nicholas, and nothing like magnificence has been displayed ; on the contrary, the furniture and general arrangements are, as in the private palace at St. Petersburg, of the simplest kind. This was the emperor's residence before his elevation to the throne, and, having spent the first years of his married-life here, he is much attached to it. The musket of a common soldier is shown in one of the rooms, as a favorite piece of furniture, and with it Nicholas used to go through the manual exercise, while giving his little sons their first lessons in the art of war. Some Polish eagles are to be seen here. Prom the windows of this palace, the emperor, when residing at Moscow, shows himself to his admiring subjects, who assemble to see him on the parade-ground below.
There are some interesting pictures here, by Bernardo Belotto de Canaletto, representing scenes in Polish history. One is particularly interesting and beautifully executed, portraying very faithfully the " Election of Stanislaus Augustus by the Diet of Warsaw, in 1764." The king is represented as crowned in the open air, on the field of Vola; and round his throne sit the nobility and clergy, the former with their swords drawn.
In one of the rooms is the mattress of the emperor Nicholas, on which he lies without any other bed between, and stuffed so hard and light, that a shutter, in the absence of it, would scarcely inconvenience his imperial majesty! The library in the emperor's cabinet contains all the works, that have been written concerning Moscow, in French, Russian, and German.
In another of the apartments, and under a glass case, are a number of loaves, which have been presented to the emperor on his various visits to Moscow. When the sovereign .arrives, it is customary for the golova, or chief person, attended by some of the principal citizens, to wait on him, and present on a silver salver and a gold salt-cellar, bread and salt, requesting him to taste the bread of Moscow. The emperor thanks him, breaks off a piece of the roll, eats it, and then invites the golova to eat his bread—that is, to partake of a splendid dinner, prepared at the palace, at which he is presented to the empress and the different members of the imperial family.
It is difficult to say how many churches there are in Moscow, the several accounts differ so widely. Some speak of fifteen hundred, others five hundred, and one writer places their number under three hundred. Some include chapels, public and private, and those in convents, in the category; also the winter and summer churches, separately, for there is one for each season, as well as those which are joined together—and this mode of calculation would soon swell their numbers to thousands. There is exaggeration in this, but there are some churches in the old capital which do in fact consist of several joined together, of which each has its own name, and is quite separate from the rest; in this manner the church of the Protection of the Holy Virgin might be set down as twelve.
It is sufficient to say, therefore, that the buildings in Moscow destined for Divine service are almost countless, but the quintessence and holiest of them all, in the eyes of the Russians, is on the height of the kremlin. This consecrated spot, the Sabornoi Ploschad (Cathedral place), has been surrounded by the emperor Nicholas with a lofty and magnificent iron grating, and contains the Uspenski Sabor (cathedral of the Assumption), the Arkhangelskoi Sabor (church of the Archangel Michael), and our Lady of the Cave. It is hard to say which is the most important, but perhaps the preference belongs to the Uspenskoi Sabor, as the emperors are crowned in it, and the patriarch of the Greek church formerly officiated here.
The name of a cathedral leads a western European or an American to expect great space and lofty arches, in which the voice returns in echo, and the eye loses itself in distance ; but these expectations will not be fulfilled in a Russian one. According to the national taste, a church must be crowded with pictures and shrines: and thus, in this cathedral, eye and spirit are bewildered with the glitter of gold and the glare of color. The whole church is gilt within; even the heavy pillars that support the five cupolas are covered with this material from top to bottom, and the walls the same ; and on this golden ground large fresco-paintings have been executed, the subjects taken from the Bible. The figures are gigantic, and distinguished by astonishing strength of grimace; they are said to have been painted by foreign artists at the command of the czar Vassili-Ivanovich, but they are entirely Russian as well as the church, and the artists must have yielded to the national spirit. There is more gilding than gold in this church, for the French seem to have distinguished the true metal from the false better here than in the castle-chapel, where they left a quantity of gold, mistaking it for copper.
The priests contrived, however, to secure a pretty little salvage out of the shipwreck of 1812 — among other things a Mount Sinai of pure ducat gold, a present from Prince Potemkin. On the summit stands a golden Moses, with a golden table of the law; and within the mountain is a golden coffin to contain the host: it is said to weigh a hundred and twenty thousand ducats. A bible, the gift of Natalia Narishkin, the mother of Peter the Great, is so large, and the cover so laden with gold and jewels, that it requires two men to carry it into the church ; it is said to weigh a hundred and twenty pounds. The emeralds on the cover are an inch long, and the whole binding cost one million two hundred thousand roubles, a sum for which all the books in Moscow might be handsomely bound.
Among the other remarkable objects in this church is the great chestnut-colored wooden throne-seat of Vladimir the Great, enclosed within a house of brass-work, which the Russians say is an imitation of the tomb of Christ; and also a miraculous picture of the Savior. Here too is to be seen a nail, claimed to be of the true cross, a robe of the Savior's, and part of one of the Virgin Mary's. There is likewise a picture of her, which, it is said, was painted by St. Luke, and brought from Constantinople by one of the early czars! The face is dark, almost black, the head encircled with a glory of precious stones, and the hands and body gilded. From the centre of the roof is suspended a crown of massive silver, with forty-eight chandeliers, all in a single piece, and weighing nearly three thousand pounds. The pictures of the saints on the walls are twenty-three hundred in number; and besides these there are portraits of the ancient Greek and Roman historians, whose names, to prevent confusion, are attached to their resemblance.
The cathedral of the Assumption was founded in 1325, and rebuilt in 1472. Here are the tombs of the patriarchs of the Greek church, one of whom, St. Philip, and honored by a silver monument, dared to say to Ivan the Terrible, " We respect you as an image of the Divinity, but as a man you partake of the dust of the earth!" The most notable object of the whole collection, however, is the golden shrine of the patriarch Nicon, in the sacristry, whose mouldering skeleton is here preserved, together with his wooden spoon. When he held the crosier, it was mightier than the sceptre in Russia, for he governed the indolent prince Alexis-Michaelovich (fajher of Peter the Great) ; but a conspiracy of the nobles drove him from power to the Bielosersk convent, where he had begun his career as a priest.
Behind the cathedral of the Assumption stands the house which formerly belonged to the patriarchs of Moscow, now called the Synodalni Dom, because a section of the " Holy Synod" has its offices here. It contains the library of the patriarchs, their treasury, and their wardrobe; and in the church attached to it is preserved the mir, the holy oil that is used in baptizing all the children in Russia.
The books are kept in glass cases in the church itself; and in the middle, round the pillar that sustains the vaulted roof, the vessels used in preparing and preserving the oil are ranged on semicircular shelves. At the baptism of the child, the priest crosses, with a small camel's-hair pencil dipped in the oil, the mouth, eyes, ears, hands, and feet: the eyes, that the child may only see good ; the ears, that they may admit only what is good ; the mouth, that he may speak as beseems a Christian; the hands, that he may do no wrong; the feet, that they may tread in the path of the just.
The holy oil, the mir, which is to effect all this, is of course no common oil. The finest Florence is used, mingled with a number of essences, the quantity and quality of which are strictly defined; but the soul of the mixture consists of some reputed drops from the oil-flask of the Magdalen who washed the feet of the Savior!
Two great silver kettles, the gift of Catherine II., are used in the preparation of the sacred oils: four weeks elapse before the mass is perfectly mingled, before the due number of prayers have been made, and before, amid pious psalmody, every drop has been refined and signed with the cross. From the kettles the oil is poured into silver jars, thirty in number, the gift of the emperor Paul, and these are sealed with the seal of the synod, and placed on stages round the central pillar of the church. The quantity made at one time — about three and a half gallons — supplies all Russia for one and a half or two years. Every bishop either comes himself or sends a confidential person to Moscow, to fetch a supply for his diocese, who receives it from the metropolitan. The cost of the whole is about five thousand roubles. Everything employed in the operation is silver, as well as the kettles and the jars to keep it in, the sieve for straining, the spoons for stirring, &c.
Among the patriarchs' books there are a number of rare bibles in different languages, so inestimably precious, that they are always kept under lock and key, and shown to no one. Thus, in time, they will be eaten by the worms without any person being the wiser. The four gospels, transcribed by the daughter of Michael Romanoff, and sister of the czar, Alexis, are shown here. Every letter is carefully and beautifully painted. There is probably nowhere to be found such a monument of pious industry of so recent a date.
The Arkhangelskoi Sabor (cathedral of the Archangel Michael), also in the kremlin, although dedicated to the angel of the flaming sword, has such very diminutive windows, that all the light of its jewels, and all the glitter of its gold, are barely sufficient to enlighten its blackened walls. The shrine that shines the brightest in the night of this church is that of a little boy, in whose name more blood has been shed than in that of any child in the world, and whose memory is now worshipped here. It is the last false Dmitri (Demetrius), who has long rested here, and enjoyed the homage of all Russia; and as he now makes no claim to an earthly kingdom, he enjoys his share in the heavenly kingdom uncontested. Of course, the Russians do not esteem him the false, but the real Dmitri. The fact they adduce in proof of this is exactly what raises in others the greatest doubt. They say that, after the body of the royal child had been in vain sought for in Uglitsh, where he was murdered by the emissaries of Boris G-odunoff, it arose, coflin and all, from the ground, at God's command, and presented itself to the longing people, whereby its genuineness was palpably manifested ! Be this as it may, the mummy of a boy of five or six years of age, magnificently clad, is exposed on festivals in an open coffin. Every part is veiled but the forehead, which is kissed by his adorers. Above the coffin is the portrait of the little canonized prince, attached to a pillar, and set in a raised frame of the finest gold. Being well concealed, it escaped the French in 1812.
How strong is the affection the Russians still feel for this last offshoot of the old Rurik dynasty was recently testified by a gift made to the young martyr, by the inhabitants of Uglitsh, of a new silver, candlestick, as tall as an ordinary man, with a profusely-decorated pedestal, and a large, flat top. On this top is a cavity in the centre for the reception of a thick wax-candle, with a number of smaller cavities around, for candles of different dimensions.
A whole body must necessarily take precedence of a few drops of blood. Hence, a few drops claimed to be of the veritable blood of John Baptist after he was beheaded, are little regarded by the Russians, although set in gold, with diamond rays like the centre of a star. One would think that the blood of John Baptist was immeasurably dearer to Christendom than that of this royal child ; but in Russia the Christian religion is everywhere overshadowed by the Russian. The pictures of Paul, Peter, and the other apostles, are seldom seen, in either the churches or private houses; whereas St. Vladimirs, Dmitris, Nicholases, and Gregorys, are met with at every turn. Even the Savior and Mary his mother must take a Greek or Russian title before they enjoy meet reverence. The Iberian Boshia Mater, and she of Kazan, are quite other godheads from the suffering Virgin.
Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855