St Nicholas Churches in Moscow: Addresses and Other Information

January 24, 2023 8:50 am28 commentsViews: 74

On December 19 the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Nicholmas — the holiday of St Nicholas of Myra, The Wonderworker. St Nicholas has always been the most revered saint in Russia. Thousands of Russian churches bear his name.

St Nicholas Churches

Here is the list of a few — only a few! — Moscow churches consecrated to St Nicholas. If you happen to be in Moscow on December 19, you can use this opportunity to celebrate his day with the Russians.

Church of St Nicholas in Pyzhi

The first wooden church building was erected about 1593. In 1812, it was vandalized by Napoleon’s troops after which the stone church was built in its place. In 1934, the building was confiscated by the Soviets and handed over to various businesses. Returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990.

Contains relics of St. Nicholas and other saints.

Address: Moscow, Bolshaya Ordynka Street, 27a/8

Access: on foot from Metro Station Tretyakovskaya

Phone: +7 (495) 951-37-42

St Nicholas Church in Izmailovo

This brand-new 2004 building adheres to the traditions of medieval Russian wooden architecture. Over 130 ft high, it is also the highest wooden church in Russia. Situated in the heart of the Izmailovo Kremlin (the Russian word kremlin meaning fortress), it is surrounded by museums and craft workshops, including a crafts market.

Address: Moscow, Izmailovskoye Shosse, 73-zh

Phone: +7 (495) 725-00-48

St Nicholas Church in Pokrovskoe

The original wooden building existed before 1586. It was destroyed in the early 1600s by Polish invaders, after which it was rebuilt several times. About 1740-1750, the family of Russia’s leading military commander Alexander Suvorov was part of its congregation. The current stone church was built in 1765-1766.

Confiscated by the Soviets in 1931 and handed over to a bakery which in turn was closed in 1984. In 1992, the ruins were returned to the Russian Orthodox church for rebuilding.

Address: Moscow, Bakuninskaya street, 100

Access: Metro Stations Elektrozavodskaya and Baumanskaya, or by trolleybuses # 22 or 25.

Phone: +7 (495) 267-86-82

St Nicholas Church in Kotelniki

The original wooden building was first mentioned in 1547. In 1657, a stone church was built by the leading merchant dynasty of the Stroganoffs, only to be destroyed in 1812 during the fire of Moscow. The current building was erected in 1822-1824 by leading architects Osip Beauvais and Domenico Gilardi.

The building was confiscated by the Soviets in 1932 and handed over to the Geology Department for one of its chemical laboratories. In the 1970s, partly restored and in 1992, returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Address: Moscow, Kotelnichesky Pereulok 8

Phone: +7 (495) 915-05-06

St Nicholas Church in Klyonniki

The original wooden church was built in one day in 1468. In 1657, a new stone building was attached to the old wooden one. It survived until 1931 when it was turned first into a warehouse and then, housed the offices of the Young Communists’ League.

The church was the birthplace, in the 1920s, of a celebrated icon painting school headed by Sister Juliania. When she died in 1980, the school continued its existence until 1988 when it became part of Moscow Spiritual Academy.

Address: Moscow, Maroseika Street, 5

Access: Metro Station Kitai Gorod

Phone: +7 (495) 621-31-49

Russian Orthodox Church Etiquette and Dress Code

While it is not necessary to wear your Sunday best to a Russian church service (on the contrary, modesty is the key), your clothes must be clean, neat and pressed. For men, jeans and T-shirts are quite acceptable, provided they are clean and pressed, with no insulting or aggressive images on T-shirts.

All women, including baby girls, have to have their hair covered with a headscarf, a hat or a cap. In most churches, headscarves are available for free at the candle kiosk for the duration of the service.

Generally, trousers on women are not allowed, although an exception can be made if the woman in question is, for some very serious reason, unable to get a skirt or dress in time for service. Skirts, too, have to be at least knee-long, never shorter. The woman’s upper chest and arms have to be covered: no cleavages or sleeveless dresses. Makeup is not a good idea, and lipstick is banned outright (as part of the service, the believers will kiss the Crucifix).

As there are no pews in the Russian Orthodox Church and the congregation has to stand through hours-long services, footwear should be as comfortable as possible, although not too open or vulgar: sneakers, maybe, but definitely no flip-flops.

If you have never been to a Russian Orthodox church before, don’t worry. No need to copy other people or try to do what they do, just find yourself a quiet corner to stand in and watch. Taking pictures during the service is generally frowned upon, unless it’s a family event like a wedding or a baptism. If you want to take pictures or ask about something, the best person to speak to is the church kiosk vendor: she’ll direct you to the right person or priest, if needed.

You can also buy a candle from the church kiosk and light it before the icon of St Nicholas — every Russian church has one. As you do so, you can also say under your breath,

Oh holy God pleaser Nicholas, pray unto God for us!

Merry Nicholmas!


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