Знаменская церковь (Дубровицы)( Znamenskaya Church (Dubrovitsy) )
The Church of the Theotokos of the Sign (Dubrovitsy), or The Church of the Holy Sign of the Mother of God in Dubrovitsy, (Russian: Церковь Зна́мения Пресвятой Богоро́дицы в Дубровицах) is a Russian Orthodox church in the village of Dubrovitsy, Podolsk Urban Okrug, Moscow Oblast, Russia. Dubrovitsy is located about 36 km South of Moscow (16 km from the Moscow Ring Road; along the highway Podolsk-Dubrovitsy 6 km). The Dubrovitsy Estate used to belong to the noble families of Morozov, Golitsyn and Dmitriev-Mamonov. The estate consists of a palace, a Horse yard with Gothic gate, several outbuildings, a church and a park. The church is famous for its unique architecture, unusual to Russian architecture, as well as a mysterious history.
The village of Dubrovitsy was first mentioned in the Peremyshlskaya church chronicles in 1627: "An old estate in the village of Dubrovitsy on the Pakhra River at the mouth of the Desna, owned by the Boyar Ivan Vasilyevich Morozov ...". Ivan Morozov († 1655) belonged to an ancient boyar family associated with Moscow from the middle of the XIV century. In 1635–1655, he repeatedly headed the boyar commissions for the management of Moscow in the absence of the Tsar.
At that time, the Dubrovitsy Estate was small; it had boyar's court, cow's yard, and several huts for courtyard people and a wooden church in the name of Prophet Elijah. There was a bell tower in the church. After the death of Ivan Morozov, ancestral lands were inherited by his daughter Aksinia (Xenia), who married Knyaz Ivan Andreevich Golitsyn (Jr) († 1685). Under Ivan Golitsyn, large-scale construction began on the estate. In 1662, a new wooden church was erected, consecrated on December 31 (January 10, new style) of the same year.
In 1688, the Dubrovitsy Estate was bought by Boris Alexeyevich Golitsyn (1654–1714); the mentor of the young Tsar Peter I. Boris Golitsyn was well versed in fine art and easily knew foreign languages. He was a socialite, and he liked to communicate with foreigners living in Moscow. In 1689, Boris's cousin Vasily Vasilievich Golitsyn was accused of involvement in a conspiracy against Peter and his supporters. Because of this, Boris Golitsyn fell into disgrace and was forced to retire to his estate Dubrovitsy.
The proscription did not last long. In 1690, Boris Golitsyn received the boyar dignity. Boyar Boris Golitsyn hoped to head the government, but detractors did not let him rise. He remained in the post of the head of the Kazan department, i.e. his duties included managing the vast southern and eastern lands of Russia.
With the participation of the Tsar in the same year, Boris Golitsyn began to build a stone church in the Baroque tradition. This style was not characteristic of traditional Russian church architecture. In 1690, July 22 (August 1, new style), Tsar Peter arrived in Dubrovitsy to consecrate the foundation of the new church in the name of The Sign of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The wooden church was dismantled and transported to the neighboring village of Lemeshovo before the start of construction work. On the site of the wooden church a memorial pillar was erected, crowned with a cross.
The new church was built of white stone on the high bank of the cape, formed by the confluence of the Desna and Pakhra rivers. Stones were brought along the Pakhra River from the local quarries of the Podolsk region. White stone, on the one hand, is easy to work with, and on the other hand, it is strong enough to work out the fine details of the decor. Construction work was carried out only in the summer, and in the winter stone carvers worked in the barracks, creating sculptures and high reliefs for the church.
There is a version that the project of the church was worked out under the guidance of Tsar Peter. Peter liked the draft to such an extent that he promised to help with funds and asked not to save money either on architects or on finishing. Manager of the Armoury Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin Alexander Veltman stated that "in general, the architect's intention was to create a semblance of an ancient basilica, with all the embellishments of Catholic and Gothic temples."
Unfortunately, the names of the architects and stone carvers are not known.  It is assumed that the best masters were specially invited from Italy. Most likely, their main assistants were Russian krepostnye. Of course, foreign craftsmen working for Boris Golitsyn did not ignore local traditions, which gave rise to a synthesis of Western and Russian styles in church architecture.
In 1699, the construction of the church was completed, but much remained to be done regarding the interior. Invited foreign artists painted images for the iconostasis. Tsar Peter ordered the icon of the Apostles Peter and Paul to be painted at the southern doors and the icon of the Holy Princes Boris and Gleb at the northern doors.
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Adrian refused to consecrate the church, citing an uncharacteristic non-standard architectural style. After his death, the church was consecrated on February 11 (February 22, new style), 1704 by the Exarch Metropolitan of Ryazan and Murom Stefan (Yavorsky). During the consecration ceremony, Tsar Peter and his son Alexei prayed here along with many other guests. All the surrounding residents were invited to the celebration, and after 7 days of the celebration a treat was made. Peter donated to the church precious liturgical utensils.
After the death of Boris Golitsyn, in 1714, Dubrovitsy was replaced by many owners. Some owners of Dubrovitsy did not build on the estate or did not own it for long. Mention of them is omitted.
By the middle of the XVIII century, a three-tier white stone bell tower was built south-west of the church. The bell tower was distinguished by the simplicity of finishing the facade. It had nine bells, the largest of which weighed 2 tons. In the southern niche of the bell tower stood a statue of the Saint. Under the bell tower in the 1780s, a warm church was consecrated in the name of the Holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalia. 
In 1787, on June 23 (July 4, new style), Empress Catherine II visited Dubrovitsy to buy this estate and present it to her favorite Alexander Matveyevich Dmitriev-Mamonov (1758–1803). The Dmitriev-Mamonov family came from the Varangian leader of Rus' Rurik. Thanks to the Empress's salaries, Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov became the owner of one of the largest fortunes in Russia.
Retired in 1789, Alexander and his wife Princess Daria Fyodorovna Shcherbatova, the Empress's maid of honor, settled in Dubrovitsy. At that time large-scale construction began in the estate. Alexander began to rebuild the manor palace and the ceremonial northern wings, in the style of classicism. Then an unknown architect added wide terraces to the ends of the main building of the palace.
After the death of Alexander, the Dubrovitsy Estate was inherited by his son Matvey. Count Matvey Alexandrovich Dmitriev-Mamonov (1790–1863) was one of the most noble and wealthy people in Russia. Matvey took part in the Patriotic War of 1812 and in the foreign campaign of the Russian army in 1813–1814. In 1816, when Matvey was about 26 years old, he moved from Moscow to Dubrovitsy and became a recluse there.
In the early 1820s, Matvey began to rebuild the estate in the manner of medieval knightly castles. By order of Matvey, a stone cogged fence was built around the estate. Along the entire length of the fence stood three brick Gothic gates – near the church, the Horse yard and behind the park. The architect who carried out this unusual order is not installed.
To the northeast of the church is a hill with circular paths to the top, planted with acacias. In the literature, one can find the assumption that the mound is a burial place. After the Patriotic War of 1812, a memorial service was held annually on the mound for those who died in the Battle of Borodino.
Matvey lived in Dubrovitsy until mid-1825. As a member of a secret organization aimed at reforming the autocracy, Matvey was arrested, declared insane and placed under guardianship. During the period of the Count's custody under guardianship in Moscow, the first restoration (1848–1850) of the church took place. Architect Fedor Fedorovich Richter supervised the restoration work. Fedor Richter, being a specialist in the field of medieval architecture, decided to remake the church in the "Old Russian" style.
First of all, Fedor Richter replaced Latin verses in cartouches with Church Slavonic quotes from the Gospel in the interior design of the church. The carved wooden Crucifix was removed from the church and placed in the niche of the eastern entrance. Images in the iconostasis, painted in the Italian style, were replaced by icons in the Old Russian style. Images updated the masters of the Armoury Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin. Such alterations were actively opposed by the priest of the local parish Bulkin, filing complaints against Richter, due to which the original appearance of the church was practically preserved.
However, at the insistence of Richter, new liturgical utensils were made; the carvings of the iconostasis and the choir were covered with gilding. On the facade of the building, damaged stones were removed and replaced by new ones. The golden cross and golden crown of the dome, patterned walls and all external sculptures were deprived of layers of street soot.
The renovated church was consecrated on August 27 (September 8, new style), 1850 by Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna Philaret (Drozdov). In memory of his visit to the church, he left a silver washbasin and dish, which were used in the liturgy.
In 1864, Prince Sergei Mikhailovich Golitsyn (1843–1915) became the owner of the Dubrovitsy Estate. Thus, Dubrovitsy returned to the Golitsyn family. Possessing a huge fortune, he devoted himself to social activities. In 1883 he moved from Moscow to Dubrovitsy.
At this time, large-scale construction began in the estate. Above the porch of the front entrance to the palace there was a glazed canopy resting on two cast-iron columns. Both side verandas of the palace were glazed. A fountain in the form of two cast-iron bowls brought from the Ural factories of Sergei Golitsyn was installed in front of the palace's facade. The stone cogged fence that surrounded the estate was dismantled.
An arched cast iron bridge was thrown across the central alley of the manor park. Nearby was a small hut "Doll House" for the games of the youngest daughter of the owner of the estate. In order to replenish the funds for the maintenance of the estate, part of the estate was given over to summer cottages for wealthy summer residents.
By the beginning of the XX century, a parish school was operating at the church, as well as an almshouse for poor peasants. After 1917, the church was still active for more than ten years, until in 1929 the services ceased in it. In the same year, all clerics were evicted from their homes in Dubrovitsy. In September 1931, the bell tower was blown up by fighters against religion, and later its remains were dismantled to the last stone. The church also suffered; many sculptures of Saints and statues of Angels were damaged. From 1930 to 1990 the church was closed to worship.
In the 30s, the renovation of the estate began. The original layout of the palace building, a significant part of the murals, as well as the stucco on the walls and ceilings were destroyed. The third floor was added to the palace without any respect for its previous architectural forms. 
In August 1960, the Dubrovitsy Estate and the church were recognized as architectural monuments and were taken under state protection. Since 1961, the administration of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Livestock Breeding has been located in the manor palace. The church passed into the jurisdiction of this institute. The original appearance of the manor buildings was returned during the restoration work of 1967–1972. The palace was restored in two years, but the restoration of the church, which lasted several decades, was not completed. The premises of the church were used by the institute as a warehouse.
The church was returned to believers in 1990. The parish of the church belongs to the Podolsk Diocese, included in the Moscow Metropolitanate of the Russian Orthodox Church. The first liturgy in the church was celebrated on October 14, 1990.
The church, which had been under lock and key for many years, required repairs. In 2002–2003, restoration work was carried out in preparation for the 300th anniversary of the church. The reconstruction of the interiors of the church, the reconstruction of the marble floor, improvement of the adjacent territory of the church and the Golitsyn estate were carried out. The cross crowning the church was restored, and the old decayed crown was replaced by a new one. The mound, located next to the church, was equipped, and an observation deck was placed on its top. Inside the church, original Latin verses were restored in cartouches accompanying high reliefs. Icons were restored in the workshop of the State Historical Museum and in the workshop of the Tretyakov Gallery.
The restoration of the external decoration of the church remained incomplete. On October 7, 2009, the World Monuments Fund included the church in the list of objects under threat of destruction. The church received a 2010 award from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation for restoration efforts.
The Main Department of Cultural Heritage of the Moscow Region exercises state control over the preservation of the church and the implementation of comprehensive repair and restoration work on it. In 2017, this department approved the Owner's Commitment to preserve the church, which outlines the owner's responsibility and behavior at the protected site.
In 2022, the bell tower destroyed in 1931 was restored near the Znamenskaya Church. For the sacrament of baptism in the lower tier of the bell tower, a church was built in honor of the martyrs Adrian and Natalia. On November 8, 2022, Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' Kirill consecrated this church.