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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
7 May 2012
Erin Edwards

An artist works on a painting of the Kremlin of Rostov Veliky, Russia. (photo: Sean Sprague)

Today, Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a third term as Russia’s president. The controversy surrounding his return to leadership has erupted in mass protests throughout the country.

The images of Putin being sworn in at the Kremlin in Moscow reminded us of our September 2008 story about Russia’s kremlins, Russia’s Fortified Tabernacles:

For many Westerners, the Kremlin calls to mind aggression, conspiracy, deception, espionage, oppression and imminent nuclear holocaust — haunting fears that remain indelibly marked on the consciences of those who came of age from the late 1940’s to the late 1980’s.

Yet kremlin — from the Russian kreml, meaning castle or fortress — refers to any fortified citadel in historic Russia, not just the seat of government in the Russian capital of Moscow. These fortifications, most of which date from the 11th to the 17th centuries, protected not just princes, palaces and treasuries, but monastic communities, cathedrals and shrines. In effect, Russia’s kremlins functioned as fortified tabernacles, sheltering the most sacred relics of the Russian people from their very real enemies.

Read more about Russia’s kremlins on our website. Take a look at the multimedia feature that accompanied the story, “Journey through Russia’s Kremlins”.

Tags: Russia Russian Orthodox Church Eastern Europe