Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow ©Bernt Rostad/Flick

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow is among the largest Orthodox Christian churches in the world. The building is impressive, and it is not as old as you would think. The reconstruction of the cathedral was completed in 2000 after the original building was demolished by Stalin.

After the failure of Napoleon’s campaign when the last troops of the great French army left the Russian teritory on 25th of December in 1812, Tsar Alexander I emitted a decree of lifting a cathedral to give thanks for the divine care and to keep the memory of those hard days.

 

The history of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

The cornerstone was laid in 1817 in the highest place in Moscow on the Sparrow Hill. Tsar Alexander really liked the neoclassical project of architect Karl Vitberg, but this brother Nicholas, who succeded him, opted for a Neobyzantine style designed by Konstantin Thon using as model the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

The place of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was also changed, the tzar moved it closer to the Kremlin to emphasize the spiritual connection of the future cathedral with the history of Russia and to be in a central position.

View of Moscow with the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

View of Moscow with the Cathedral of Christ the Savior ©Pavel KoraxDC Kazachkov/Flick

The cornerstone was laid in 1839 and the work lasted over forty years. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was consecrated on the 26th of May, 1883, with the coronation of Alexandra III. Many architects, builders and artists worked on completing it and many changes were made during its construction.

The cathedral was destroyed starting with the day of December 5, 1931. The Bolshevik power wanted to built the Soviet Palace on that site, that wanted to be the largest building in the world (415 meters). The project was abandoned and on the place of the cathedral appeared several swimming pools.

Between the years 1994-2000, at the initiative of Patriarch Alexy II and Russian Church Synod, with the full support of the Russian Government and the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzkov, and the believers, the Cathedral of Moscow was rebuilt.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow ©Bernt Rostad/Flick

The largest cathedral in Russia

With its cross shaped plan and its three altars is the largest cathedral in Russia. It has a height of 103 meters, the walls are 3.2 meters thick and has a capacity of 10,000 people. Over 22,000 square meters are painted and 9000 square meters of that with gold. The Icon sculptures, the paintings, the interior architecture were made with the contribution of many famous artists and restorers.

The interior of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The interior of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior ©archer10 (Dennis)/Flick

They tried to build the new Cathedral of Christ the Savior to be as close as it can be to the original, but some new functional elements were also introduced, like the lifts installed in the support columns.

The exterior is decorated with Cheliabinsk marble and the stairs and the base are decorated with red granite of Balmor.

The facade of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The facade of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior ©archer10 (Dennis)/Flick

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was blessed at the 9th of August 2000 and was also attended by His Beatitude Teoctist. It was a miracle that no one imagined to happen before the turn of the millennium.

 

 

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