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Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow - the largest cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

Cathedral of Christ the Savior holds up to 10 thousand people.Today it is actually the main temple of Russia.Here Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia worships, bishops' councils and other church forums are in sessions.

Location and opening hours of the cathedral

Address: Volkhonka Street, 15. The nearest metro station "Kropotkinskaya".

Opening hours daily from 10.00 to 17.00, Mondays from 13.00 to 17.00.

Excursions to the Cathedral, to the museum and to the observation deck are not carried out individually; prior reservation is required in the travel company.

History of Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow in 19 and the beginning of 20 centures

The Cathedral of Moscow Diocese and the entire Russian Orthodox Church - Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was built as a temple-monument dedicated to the Patriotic War of 1812.

The idea of ​​building a temple in honor of Russia's victory over Napoleon’s army belonged to Army General Mikhail Kikin and was transferred to the Russian Emperor Alexander I. At the end of 1812, Alexander I issued a manifesto on the creation of the temple.

Initially, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was planned to be erected on the Sparrow Hills. The author of this project, Konstantin Vitberg, won the competition against forty eminent applicants, among whom were Giacomo Quarenghi and Vasily Stasov. For the sake of creating the temple, Witberg even accepted Orthodoxy.

Construction on the Sparrow Hills went from 1817 to 1825. But later it was discontinued for several reasons - due to inappropriate unsafe soils, as well as due to the revealed financial and organizational problems.

However, in 1839, under Emperor Nicholas I, Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Volkhonka was founded. The emperor independently appointed Konstantin Ton as an architect.

In plan, the temple had the shape of an equilateral cross. The basis of his style was Byzantine. The height of the temple from the base to the cross was 103.5 meters. The walls whose thickness reached 3.2 meters, were laid out of brick and partially white stone. Facing was made of Italian marble of different grades.

The interior of the temple was lit by 60 windows. Over the course of 23 years, a large group of artists worked on the picturesque design of the temple, among which were the famous painters Semiradsky, Surikov, Makovsky.

The temple was built for almost 44 years. On June 7 (May 26 according to the old style) in 1883, a solemn consecration of the temple took place, coinciding with the day of the coronation of Emperor Alexander III.

Coronations, popular holidays and anniversaries were solemnly celebrated in the church: the 500th anniversary of the death of St. Sergius of Radonezh, the 100th anniversary of the Patriotic War of 1812, the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

In August 1917, in Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the opening of the Local Council took place, where after a 200-year break Patriarch Tikhon was elected, now ranked by the Russian Orthodox Church as a saint.

In 1922-1923, the temple was captured by the Renovationists, and in 1931 it was closed. The temple was destroyed in 1939 in order to build in its place the grandiose building of the socialist era - the Palace of Soviets.

Swimming pool Moskva

However, the plans were interrupted by war. Later, the foundation was used to create an outdoor swimming pool. In 1960, the "Moskva" pool appeared on the site of the cathedral, which lasted until 1994.

In September 1994, the Moscow government decided to recreate Cathedral of Christ the Savior in its previous architectural forms. On January 7, 1995, on the feast of the Nativity of Christ, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II together with the mayor of the capital Yuri Luzhkov laid a commemorative capsule in the base of the church.

The temple was built in less than six years. The first construction work began on September 29, 1994.On Easter 1996, the first Easter Vespers was performed under the arches of the temple. In 2000, all internal and external finishing work was completed.

Interesting facts and myths about Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Interesting facts about Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow

  • Until the 17th century, the Riza (the Robe) of Christ was kept in the Patriarchal Church of Mtskheta - the ancient capital of Georgia. In 1617, Georgia was captured by the Persian Shah Abbas, whose soldiers ravaged the temple and handed over the Riza (the Robe)to Shah. In 1624, he offered it to Tsar Mikhail Romanov. Soon the Riza was taken to Moscow and placed in the Patriarchal Assumption Cathedral of the Kremlin;
  • The famous Tchaikovsky overture "1812" was performed at the consecration of the temple on May 26, 1883. According to some reports, the premiere took place there even earlier - on August 20, 1882;
  • The temple consecration ceremony in 1883 was attended by just a few of the surviving war veterans;

Marble benches on Novokuznetskaya metro station in Moscow

  • Myth or truth but they say that "the wife of the American president Eleanor Roosevelt bought the chapel and altar from the Bolsheviks and presented it to the Vatican", the metro stations “Sverdlovskaya Square” and “Okhotny Ryad” were decorated with Cathedral marble, and  “Novokuznetskaya” station decorated by the benches;
  • After the war began the foundation frame of the Palace of Soviets made of heavy-duty steel was used to make the armor of the T-34 tanks.

What need to be seen in Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

  • The main shrines of the church: Particle of the Riesa of Christ, the relics of the founder of the church, Metropolitan of Moscow Filaret (Drozdov), particles of the relics of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called, St. John Chrysostom, St. Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow, St. Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow, holy Prince Alexander Nevsky, the miraculous image of the Mother of God and the miraculous image of the Smolensk-Ustyuzhen Mother of God;
  • The gospel of the times of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (the book is carried out only twice a year - on Christmas Day and Sunday of Christ) - an old book weighing 30 kilograms;
  • In the temple there are six originals of the artist Vereshchagin;

Observation deck Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

  • Four viewing platforms are at the altitude of about 40 meters. They are located between the belfries and interconnected. Many sights are visible from here: the Kremlin, Poklonnaya Gora, Gorky Park, bridges across the Moscow River, a monument to Peter the Great  and others. You can get to the sites only as part of a group and accompanied by a guide;
  • There are two museums in the temple. Here you can learn about the history of the construction and reconstruction of the temple. In the Patriarchal Museum of Church Art there is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the award system of the Russian Orthodox Church.


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