St Basil’s Cathedral

St Basil’s Cathedral, the Cathedral of St Vasily the
was built in 1555 on orders from Ivan the Terrible
to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan
(for capture read rape, pillage, atrocity and subjection)
and, now, is a major, authorised marvel
of coloured cupolas and unlikely silhouettes
on a sky line of communist utility.

The inside is packed to the point of improbability
with icons of gold, and sad, yearning eyes,
cupping the mystical magic of the spirit and serious

Surviving the Bolshevik Revolution was a major act of
and, in the 1930s
as churches across Russia were demolished, outlawed,
suborned, taken over, burned, pillaged,
and resurrected as space for productivity,
St Basil’s stood as poetry against the sky.
Iconic Russia, such spun confection
and sweet amazement, you can taste it.

© Sandra Renew 2013

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