Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Moscow.
Dominating the Moscow Skyline and sitting on the banks of the Moscow river, is the exquisite Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. With golden domes glistening in the sun and impressive architecture, it draws admiration. I know that many churches and Cathedrals suffered during the Soviet period but nothing could have prepared me for the sad history of this magnificent Church.
Early history of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
After Napoleon was defeated, it was decided to built a Cathedral, to celebrate the victory over Napoleon and to serve as a memorial to the sacrifices of the Russian people. The perfect location was chosen for maximum effect. Like I have mentioned before, you cannot miss the Church. It is very close to the Kremlin and can be admired from most places in Moscow city center. However, the location was not empty and the Alekseevskiy Convent was destructed in the process. It is quite ironic and you will see that later as I explain more.
In 1812 Alexander I gave the order to have the Cathedral constructed but it took many years for his dream to come true. It was only consecrated in 1883. Some of the best Russian painters were commissioned to embellish the interior of the Cathedral.
The great architect Konstantin designed the building and he was also the man who build the Kremlin Palace and the Kremlin Armoury.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Soviets.
For obvious reasons the Soviets singled this Cathedral out and they wanted to level it to the ground. It was a very difficult and troubled time for churches and Christians in general in Russia. Did the Soviets succeed? Sadly, yes. In 1931 the Cathedral was blown to pieces. They wanted to built a Palace of Soviets in it`s place. Stalin himself approved the plans. A building that would have stood 400 meters high and with a huge statue of Lenin at the top. Although it was never built, the plans did become the inspiration for the famous Seven Sisters building in Moscow.
Why was the Palace of Soviets never built? Well, World War II erupted and when Nikita Khruschev took over from Stalin, had no motivation to take over the project. When they started to build the foundations, they realized that it was on a piece of land that was very wet. The foundations would not be able to support the heavy structures and the the project was abandoned.
The foundations were there but what to do? It was decided to built an open-air swimming pool that was kept at a temperature of 27°C all year round. Rumors have it that the thick fog shrouded a number of gruesome deaths (and murders) among the swimmers.
Resurrection of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church, undertook the $360-million reconstruction project. The new Church was loosely based on the old design but with a lot of modern features including:
- Underground parking
- Telecommunications facilities
[note color=”#00b7cc”]It is best to visit The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour with an organized tour. The guides will explain the history as well as the customs inside a Russian Orthodox Church. Women MUST wear a headscarf and photos are not allowed inside the Cathedral.[/note]
When I first visited Moscow in 2008, we went for an Easter service to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviourt Church. It was my first visit to a Russian Orthodox Church and I found it all new and fascinating. This was also the first Church where I had to go through security scanners because there are always bomb threats in Moscow around Easter. The Church inside was really beautiful and at the time I didn`t understand how everything worked. Visiting one of the most important and sacred Churches in Moscow, I felt and still feel, very priviliged.
Descecrated by the feminist group Pussy Cat Riot in 2012.
In 2012 when the Russian female band, Pussy Riot, were arrested in Moscow, the Western World was in uproar. Even Madonna was publically attacking the Russian Government for having the women arrested. Fact is, they went inside this Cathedral and they desecrated it, by performing Satanic rituals. After I have explained the history and importance of this Church in Russia, can you imagine how the Christians felt? What the Newspapers and Media didn’t show, was how many Christians came to protect the Church. They came in their thousands and made a circle around the Church and prayed for it`s protection.To this day, these women who have been jailed, have shown no remorse.
I find it interesting how one-sided the media can be and how many people believe what they read. In my opinion, this should not happen in any Church or Temple around the world. Period.
If you would like to see how many people gathered to pray for the protection of the Church, please follow the links below.
Where: Moscow, Russian Federation.
When: May – August 2012.