About the Name “Ivan the Great”
“The Ivan the Great Bell Tower” is a wrong name. In fact we should simply call that church-bell tower “Ivan the Great”. That title appeared in various documents, for example, in church chronicles as early as in the 1630s of. The name is related to the bell tower itself, not to the saint. In sacral topography of Moscow there is a special type of names, formed either from a church location or a church’s particular features. For instance, in Kitai-Gorod there is a church named St.Nicolas Red Chime (red means beautiful) or as it was called in the 17th century St.Nicolas Good Bell Tower. It means the qualities of the belfry, which gave the name to the church, were widely recognized. In case of Ivan the Great we see the sacralisation of the size, because the church of St. Ivan Climacus was the highest construction of Moscow for several centuries.
A.L.Batalov, Doctor of Art