Opening Asia for Russia

The amazing story of the construction, destruction and restoration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

21.08.2020 240 просмотров

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If Rome is associated with St. Peter's Basilica, Istanbul with Hagia Sophia, then Moscow with the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. 

In this issue program host Mike Gibson, a journalist from the UK, will tell the amazing story of the construction of the Temple, destruction and restoration, will visit those corners where not a single tourist has been, and will dedicate viewers to the secrets of this holy place.






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The full official name of the Cathedral of Christ Savior - Cathedral Church of the Nativity of Christ. It was on December 25, 1812, on Christmas Day, that the Russian emperor Alexander the First announced victory over Napoleon and promised to erect a temple in the name of Christ the Savior - in gratitude to God "for delivering the Fatherland from death that threatened it and in eternal memory of the zeal of the people in this war." However, they started building the Temple, which became a symbol of courage and military glory, only 27 years later, in 1839. The younger brother of Alexander the First - Emperor Nicholas the First personally chose a place for the construction of the Temple: in Moscow on Volkhonka Street not far from the Kremlin. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was completed and consecrated only on May 26, 1883, during the reign of Alexander III. 

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For all the Russian emperors under whom the Temple was built, its construction was an important and, one might say, personal matter. Cathedral of Christ the Savior - a monument dedicated to the Patriotic War of 1812.  In honor of Russia's victory over Napoleon's army.  This is reminiscent of memorial plaques at the entrance - with the names of battles, the names of unit commanders, dead and awarded officers.

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The temple was not only a reminder of the feat of the Russian people who defeated Napoleon, all the most important events of the Russian Orthodox Church took place here . Unfortunately, he stood for only 48 years. In 1931 the Bolsheviks blew up the Temple.  And in its place, the largest outdoor pool in the USSR was built. And only at the end of the 20th century the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was recreated.

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Interestingly, if the first Temple was built for 44 years, then this one - newly created - a little more than 5 years. The idea of restoring the main Orthodox Church in Moscow, as a symbol of historical changes in Russia, appeared on the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

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started fundraising. The leadership of the country made a political decision to create the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in its former place. And in order to accumulate funds for the construction of the Temple, the Fund for Financial Support for the Reconstruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was created.

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Like the old Temple, the new Cathedral was built not only with state money, but also with donations. Hundreds of thousands of people and companies from Russia and other countries transferred money to restore the Temple. For example, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of Argentina Carlos Menem made their contribution.

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A year after the start of construction, the first service was held in the unfinished church.

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January 8, 2000, at Christmas, the newly rebuilt Cathedral Church of the Nativity of Christ opened its doors to parishioners. Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the first solemn Christmas Liturgy here.

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On August 19, 2000, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was consecrated. From that moment on, the new history of the Temple began, which became a symbol of the spiritual rebirth of Russia.

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One of the tasks of that foundation was to convince people that this is one of the national symbols, and the revival of Russia also had to be started with certain, including symbolic, gestures and a return to their spiritual origins - that is, to the Russian Orthodox Church. 

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The reconstructed Temple became the largest cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church.  At the same time, 10 thousand people can be in it. Its height is 103 meters, the total area of the temple complex is more than 80 thousand square meters. 

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Historians, architects and artists have done a truly titanic work, restoring the Temple: its external and internal decoration, icons and wall paintings, bas-reliefs and carved chandeliers. The walls and domes of the Temple were hand painted by 200 artists and completed the work in less than a year. 

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According to art historians, the new Cathedral, with the exception of a few details, is no different from the old destroyed one.
Every year the Temple Christ the Savior is visited by more than 2 million people. This is one of the main tourist attractions of the Capital.

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In the 19th century, the best Russian painters worked on the decoration of the Temple: Surikov, Vereshchagin, Semiradsky.  The face of the Lord on the 27-meter dome was painted by the artist Ivan Kramskoy. In the new Temple, his work was exactly repeated by painting professor Evgeny Maksimov.

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The Cathedral of Christ the Savior consists of 3 parts - thrones. 2 side thrones were consecrated in honor of Nicholas the Wonderworker and the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky. The central throne in honor of the Nativity of Christ is decorated with an unusual altar made in the form of an octagonal chapel made of white carved marble 27 meters high. 

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The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is a national treasure of Russia, a special, historical place where the most important events took place Russian Empire. The 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, the 100th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon were celebrated here. On August 15, 1917, after a 200-year break, the All-Russian Local Council was held here, which restored the Patriarchate in the Russian Church. Orthodox Russia has regained its Patriarch. His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, now canonized as a Saint, was elected by him.

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After the restoration, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior became the center of Russia's spiritual life. The most important Christian shrines are kept here - symbols of not only faith, but also the great history of the country. Believers from all over Russia come to the Temple to venerate the relics of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, St. John Chrysostom, Grand Dukes Vladimir and Alexander Nevsky.

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The main shrines of the Temple are kept in the altar, which can only be entered by the clergy. However, an exception was made for our film crew, and with the blessing of Father Mikhail, we can show the interior of the main iconostasis of the Temple.

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After the destruction of the old Temple, the Bolsheviks wanted to build a huge building in its place - the Palace of Soviets. However, due to the Great Patriotic War, work was stopped. As a result, in the 1950s, a giant pit with an unfinished foundation was turned into the Moskva pool: the largest in the Soviet Union and one of the largest in the world. 

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The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was located on a hill. It was the height that was destroyed during an attempt to build the Palace of Soviets. Therefore, the architects who recreated the current Temple faced such a task - to reach the same height in relation to the architectural environment. It was necessary to re-fill the hill or in some useful way to use the resulting area. It was decided to make the so-called stylobate part.

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In the stylobate part, another temple was erected - the Church of the Transfiguration, which was consecrated in honor of the Alekseevsky convent that once stood on this site. Also here are the Hall of Church Cathedrals, refectories and the Patriarchal Museum of Church Art.

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The Museum of Ecclesiastical Art was created by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on the basis of a collection that had been collected for many years. Works of church art for 2 millennia are arranged in chronological order. Here are the old masters of the Byzantine, Cretan, Moscow schools, and the works of famous Russian artists: Ivanov and Nesterov. One of the "pearls" of the exposition is a triptych by Viktor Vasnetsov, written especially for the Paris exhibition of 1899.

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The Patriarchal Museum of Church Art also has a separate exposition telling about the history of the construction and destruction of the Temple. Unique exhibits are stored here - authentic artifacts of the destroyed old Temple. For example, here you can see miraculously preserved fragments of Henryk Semiradsky's fresco "The Last Supper", which was once located behind the altar.

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The marble of the steps of the destroyed Temple was used by the Bolsheviks for the decoration of several Moscow metro stations. Now fragments of these steps are also kept in the Museum. 

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20 minutes before the start of the service, the blagovest ringing begins, after 10 minutes the chime joins it: a choir of several small bells. 

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At normal times, the entrance to the belfry is closed to both tourists and parishioners. Our film crew had a unique opportunity not only to film the birth of the Church's bells, but also to take part in its creation. 

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During the opening hours of the Temple, anyone can get to its observation deck. And the view of the city from here is one of the best in Moscow.

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On the day of filming our program, the Feast of the Deposition of the Robe of the Lord was held in the Temple.  In the 17th century, Shah Abbas of Persia presented a particle of the robe of Jesus Christ to His Holiness Patriarch Filaret. On July 23, 1625, the chasuble was solemnly placed in a tent for sacred relics in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. In the USSR, the shrine was kept in the Kremlin Museum, and only in 2007 it was transferred to the Temple.

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Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior  - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. He personally conducts divine services here on the days of the main Orthodox holidays: Christmas and Easter.  

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"Today we stand in the revived Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Thousands and thousands of churches have been built, thousands more churches are being built, but most importantly, our people are turning to faith, and we are beginning to understand that those tragic pages in the history of our Fatherland were not accidental. We see God's trace, God's presence in human history. And this means that the Lord gives us assistance so that we may be strengthened in the faith!"

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The patriarch conducts services in the lower temple - the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This happens twice a year - at Apple Savior and at Epiphany. It is here, in the Church of the Transfiguration, that the only icon that miraculously survived after the destruction of the old Temple is kept - “The Savior Not Made by Hands” by artist Sorokin.  

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Next to the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord is the Hall of Church Cathedrals. This large hall with 1300 seats hosts the most important meetings of the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. For example, the Local Councils, at which the Patriarch was elected, made decisions on the canonization of a number of saints and the restoration of communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, social events are also held here: an annual Christmas tree and concerts.  

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After the restoration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Moscow Art Center gallery was opened here, where works from private collections that are never shown to a wide audience before.

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Gallery visitors are greeted by a portrait of Emperor Alexander the First, the founder of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In the exhibition you can see images of other members of the imperial family, as well as personal belongings that belonged to them. 

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The Moscow Art Center exhibits works by famous Russian artists: Aivazovsky, Levitan, Savrasov, Shishkin.  There are also classic works of European art - paintings by Flemish painters and Italian masters of the Renaissance.

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After the destruction of the old Temple, many priceless relics were irretrievably lost.  But some, miraculously preserved, are still in the new Cathedral. This became possible thanks to Muscovites who, risking their lives, came to the destroyed Temple, took away what could still be saved, kept it for 70 years, and returned it to the new, restored Cathedral of Christ the Savior. 

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The Cathedral of Christ the Savior has become not only a symbol of the revival of Russia, but also gave impetus to the restoration of destroyed churches and the construction of new ones throughout the country and beyond. Over the past 30 years, more than 30 thousand Orthodox churches and temples have been built and restored from the ruins.

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This year is a special date - 20 years since the great consecration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - the symbol of Russia and the Orthodox Church. The symbol of the people, preserved by the spirit of the old Temple, preserved its relics and built a new one. 

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The editors of the Big Asia TV channel are grateful for their help in creating the program:< /b>
  • To Archpriest Mikhail Ryazantsev, clerk of the Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior < /li>
  • To the Executive Director of the Foundation of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior Sergei Grigoryevich Semenenko
  • To the Director of the Patriarchal Museum of Church Art at the Cathedral Cathedral of Christ the Savior Archpriest George Martynov Romanovich Legoyda
  • Curator of the Center Art.Moscow” to Andrian Melnikov

The program uses photo and video materials provided by The Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the Main Archival Administration of the City of Moscow, the Foundation of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Patriarchal Museum of Church Art at the Cathedral Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Head program - Alevtin Sukholutsky.

The program is created with the support of the Moscow Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations.

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