Google Doodle Celebrates 450th Birthday of St. Basil’s Cathedral

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Today’s Google doodle honors the 450th birthday of St. Basil’s Cathedral, the brightly colored Russian Orthodox church in Moscow’s Red Square.

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Designed by Russian architects Postnik and Barma and constructed between 1555 and 1561, the church is supposed to evoke the Holy City of Jerusalem and commemorate Ivan the Terrible’s military victory over the Mongols’ Kazan khanate.  But it became known as the Church of Vasily Blazhenny (or St. Basil the Blessed) when the Russian “fool for Christ” was buried in a church vault.  Ivan the Terrible reportedly feared the “holy fool,” a seer who used to walk around naked in the summer and winter to humble himself.   The cathedral became a state monument in 1918.

(PHOTOS: Happy 450th Birthday St. Basil’s Cathedral)

According to the Associated Press, the colorful cathedral just completed a 390-million-ruble ($14 million) renovation and is unveiling today a shrine to the eponymous “holy fool” comprised of various relics and icons.  Russia Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will also lead a service, and a bells concert is scheduled for later in the evening.

The cathedral last appeared in a December 2010 Happy Holidays doodle.

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