Skip to comments.The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow; Destruction and Reconstruction
Posted on 08/27/2011 7:34:41 PM PDT by marshmallow
The site of the Cathedral is a very important one for urban developers. After the revolution this, along with ideological principles, became the reason for the decision to destroy the Cathedral. The plan entailed constructing a grandiose Palace of Soviets on the site of the Cathedral. This palace was meant to be the largest building in the world - a monument to victorious socialism and Lenin - the leader of the world proletariat. A new Moscow, with no vestiges of the "cursed past and its' monuments" was to arise around this Palace. A massive wave of propaganda preceded the actual destruction. The newspapers wrote, "the Cathedral is grotesque and totally inartistic", that "the Cathedral is a poisonous mushroom on Moscow's face" and that it was "a source of slothfulness" and so forth.
The first explosions rocked the Cathedral at noon on December 5, 1931, as per the decision of Stalin's politburo. The memorial to military glory and the most important church in Russia was brutally vandalized and destroyed.
During those horrible days it seemed as if the Lamp of Faith, that had burned in the cathedral through the efforts and prayers of the cream of the nation was extinguished forever.
Russia sank ever deeper into the destructive gloom of atheism
An enormous cavity gaped on the site of the Cathedral for many years. During the so-called Khruschev thaw, the city built an enormous swimming pool instead of the Cathedral. The pool replaced the Cathedral and became a monument to forgotten and obliterated national history and glory, which had no place in the plans of the "builders of communism".
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church blesses the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The Synod asks addresses an appeal to the Russian government asking for permission to resurrect the cathedral on its' original site.
December 5, 1990
A granite slab was triumphantly installed on Volkhonka Street (the original site of the Cathedral). The inscription read "this is the cornerstone of the Church of the Derzhavnaya Icon of the Theotokos, which shall be the predecessor of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, that will be reconstructed on this spot". V. Soloukhine, V. Mokrousov, V. Krupin, G.Sviridov and V. Rasputin all helped organize popular support for the resurrection of the Cathedral.
July 16, 1992
Boris Yeltsin, president of Russia, signed a Decree "The establishment of a Fund for the recreation of Moscow". The Cathedral of Christ the savoir headed the list of buildings to be reconstructed in the first round.
May 31, 1994
The Moscow municipal government, supported by the Moscow Patriarchate mandates the beginning of the reconstruction of the Cathedral.
September 7, 1994
The initial meeting of the Committee to oversee the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior takes place. The Committee elects the Patriarch of Moscow to be Chairman. The Committee also established the Fund for the Financial Support of the Reconstruction of the Cathedral.
The swimming pool Moscow is disassembled. The cement foundations for the administrative sectors of the Cathedral are poured in November and December.
January 7, 1995 Christmas
His Holiness Alexey II, Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia serves a moleben and blesses the cornerstone and memorial plaque in the foundation of the Cathedral. Viktor Chernomyrdin and Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov attend.
April 23, 1995 Easter
Paschal Vespers are served on the level of the floor of the future Cathedral.
August 19, 1995 - Transfiguration
The first liturgy is served in the lower Church of the Transfiguration with the traditional blessing of the fruit.
January 7, 1996
The first two memorial plaques listing donors are unveiled. The Patriarch, President Yeltsin and Mayor Luzhkov lay the last three bricks in the wall of the main entrance.
April 14, 1996
Patriarch Aleksey II conducts the first service in the partially completed Cathedral. President Yeltsin, members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Mayor Luzhkov attend.
August 19, 1996 - Transfiguration
His Holiness Alexey II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia leads the great Consecration of the Transfiguration church (the lower church of the Cathedral). Henceforth, divine services are conducted regularly in this church.
September 7, 1997
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is the focal point for the celebrations in honor of the 850th anniversary of the founding of Moscow. A festal moleben is served in the square and the Patriarch blessed the completed walls of the Cathedral. The work on the artistic decoration and accoutrements begins the sculptures on the facades and the frescoes inside.
April 2, 1999
The frescoes in the main dome are begun.
All of the frescoes throughout the entire Cathedral are completed.
December 31, 1999
The Patriarch conducts the Lesser Consecration of the Cathedral.
August 19, 2000 - Transfiguration
The Patriarch leads all of the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Great Consecration of the Cathedral.
Pyotr I. Tchaikovskii wrote “The 1812 Overture,” perhaps his most famous composition, for the original structure’s dedication in 1881.
Thanks. I didn’t realize that favorite of mine was written for that purpose.
Glorious! Thanks for sharing.
I remember watching a documentary about the “Palace of the Soviets”. It was too big and the architects could never make the design work. However, since they had advertised it so much they actually made fake newsreels showing it in the Moscow skyline to be played in the rest of the USSR. One of the funny things they figured out was they because of the normal cloud cover in Moscow half of the year all you would be able to see at the top was Lenin’s butt.
Thank you—that was a great study of Christ’s victory over Communism. Praise God, Praise his son and his holy mother. I pray for the day when Hagia Sophia is once again restored and open for worship in Istanbul and that glorious day when the cross will replace the crescent moon of Islam in the Holy Lands.
Your basic happy ending!
Terrific post. The artwork is stunning. Thank you.
The way things seem to be going the Cathedral of Christ The Saviour will still be a church long after Notre Dame is turned into a mosque.
AMEN AND AMEN!!!!
Funny you should write that to me as I’ve actually been there, as an exchange student staying with an Istanbul host family in 1989. Most amazing, moving, palpably holy place I’ve ever experienced. From your keyboard to God’s ears! ;)