Uglich, the town of Tsarevich Dmitry

Uglich, the town of Tsarevich Dmitry

[ Aug.2017 ] On the seventh day of our cruise tour in Russia, our boat called at Uglich, a town on Volga River.

The tour started at 8:30 in the morning when the weather was lovely and we could see the red church and the hydroelectric power station beautifully.

The local guide on the day was Svetlana, a pretty young woman.

I regret that I did not take a photo of her, but I remember she was wearing clothes which were somehow different from the ones the Western young girls wear and that suited her very well.

First, we went through the path in a park with many souvenir stalls.

Our tour leader said “If you are looking for a Matryoshka for children, you can find it here”, meaning that there was not any serious stuff sold here.

Our destination was the Kremlin beyond that park.

Kremlin does not mean only the Russian government, but also a citadel in the centre of the medieval cities in Russia.

Within the Kremlin, we went to The Transfiguration Cathedral first.

This cathedral is mentioned in a document from 1242, so originally it was built before that.

It was rebuilt many times and the current one was built in the 18th century.

The iconostasis inside was gorgeous.

But the highlight of the Kremlin was not this one but The Church of Tsarevitch Demetrius on the Blood with the red wall and blue domes.

Demetrius means Dmitry, the son of Ivan the Terrible.

After the death of his father, Dmitry was sent to Uglich with his mother and lived there, but on the 15th of May 1591, the 8-year-old Dmitry was found dead having had his throat slashed.

There are a few different theories about his death, but Svetlana told us that the most likely story is that Boris Godnov, who was the ruling figure in those days, sent his people to kill the boy who was the legitimate heir.

Svetlana said “Dmitry was taken out to the garden and asked by an unknown person if he was Dmitry. And when he showed a necklace which proved that he was, this man killed him”.

The scene was shown in fresco in the church.

On the day of his death, the bell of The Transfiguration Cathedral rang to inform people of Dmitry’s death and the citizens gathered and rioted.

The angry citizens killed as many as 12 people who were suspicious and linked to Boris Godnov.

So the Moscow government sent someone to investigate the circumstance of the death and the investigation concluded officially that Dmitry had had an epileptic fit while he was playing in the garden and killed himself by accident.

Because of that, the citizens who killed Godnov’s people were punished severely as well as the bell which informed the death, which is really a strange story, but the bell was interned and sent to Siberia.

Anyway, it seemed that Godnov was not liked by people and some people did not believe that Dmitry was dead and taking advantage of that, there were a few pretenders who appeared after that.

The Moscow government decided to have the body of Dmitry sent to Moscow in 1606 so that no pretenders would come forward anymore.

The body was buried in a church in Moscow and since then in the surrounding area there were many cases of miracle cures, so Dmitry was canonized.

And in 1692 they build this Church of Tsarevitch Demetrius on the Blood on the exact spot where he was killed.

It is always interesting to hear this kind of old history which is the mixture of the human nature which can apply now, such as the power seeker killing someone and the aspect of fairy tales which is unreasonable and not realistic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *