Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Buildings like people have its unique individuality. Each of them has their own fate. Life of one of them turns out extremely successfully; life of others flows quietly, life of the thirds is sometimes dramatic. Life of cathedral – it is the official status of Cathedral of Christ the Savior – was bright, impetuous and tragic.
It was planned in 1812 as the monument of liberation of Russia from Napoleon’s army and was laid in 1839 by project of architect K. A. Ton, decorating the interior was carried out with participation of architects A. I. Ryazanov, A. I. Kaminsky and others. Cathedral of Christ the Savior was created as a testimonial temple-monument to Christ the Savior of Russia, immortalized pains, sacrifices and the great feat of people in memory of the next generation.
In its building the best artistic forces were engaged, and laying and consecration of the cathedral, turned into national holiday. Near Moscow from the south and south-west it was seen more than tens versts from the capital. Its huge seize is a deliberate technique. They emphasized magnitude of matter, which they expressed, were the evidence also of the fact the temple is not an ordinary church but it is the Temple of temples in a way.
The sculpture on the facades and the painting in the interiors entered into the architecture on the base of principles, unknown not only to Old Russian art in the spirit of which the temple was built but to its predecessor – the architecture of classicism, where sculptural décor was widely used in civil and cult building.
The western façade of the temple was always main. The sculptures at the top of medallions represented in the center Christ the Savior, blessing visitors. From all its sides in side medallions saint protectors of emperors – Saint Alexander Nevsky, Nicholas, Saint Blessed Nicholas and godly saint of Elizabeth. The sculpture above the entrance arch of the western façade was symbolically represented Russian army, being under protection of the heaven’s forces.
The theme, connected with the events, the reason of which was building of the temple, was continued by many-figure compositions. The eastern façade of the cathedral with altar was directed to the Kremlin. Thus bas-reliefs on its walls expressed the other aspect of religious and historical themes. Here Russian national saints – defenders and prayers for the holy land, saviors of Russia from foreign enemies, especially revered icons of apparition of the Blessed Virgin and sacred pictures of two the most important events from life of Jesus Christ: Christ’s birth (by A. V. Loganovsky) and resurrection (by N. A. Romozanov).
In the center of the eastern façade on high in the medallion the image of Vladimirskaya Blessed Virgin as a memory about the Borodinskoe battle of the 26th of July of 1812 was placed. In the rest medallions saints: tsarina Alexandra, Maria Magdalina, Anna the Prophetess and saint great martyr Ekaterina, - were represented. All of them were created by Romazanov. The history of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior destruction began almost a decade and a half prior to its physical destruction. Here on the 5th of November of 1917 Tychon was elected the patriarchy.
In the atmosphere of antireligious hysteria, full-scale offensive on religion and development of atheism on the 18th of July of 1931 “Izvestiya” published Resolution of the Soviet about the fact that in the place of cathedral of Christ the Savior Palace of the Soviet would be built. Since Autumn of 1931 dismantling of cathedral of Christ the Savior went on at full speed, and on the 5th of 1931 – was detonated. Build of the Palace of the Soviet, which really began in 1937, was not finished.
In 1960 it was decided to stop further projecting the Palace of the Soviet. In the same year in the place of the demolished fundament of the Palace of the Soviet swimming pool “Moscow” began functioning.
From the middle of 1980 crisis began to show; closed temples, monasteries were restored one by one, new parishes were opened. The temple was laid anew on the 7th of January of 1995 and consecrated again on the 19th of 2000.
Now it is the cathedral of patriarchy. The interior of the temple agrees with the outward grandeur. Height of the inner space is 79 m, total area of the painting makes up more than 22 thousand sq. km. Straight along the axis of the main entry there is a iconostasis, unique by composition, in the form of white-marmoreal octahedral chapel, topped with a guilt hipped roof. Main sacred objects of the Cathedral are the icon of Christ’s Birth, brought by Apostolic Patriarchy Alexiy from Bethlehem, six original restored canvases of artist V. P. Vereschagin and original throne of Apostolic Patriarchy Tychon in the main altar.
The upper part of the gallery, setting off the main refectory part of the temple is a gallery. As a rule visiting this part of the temple is inaccessible – only for small excursion groups. Besides that there is something that is worth to see. In the southern wing of the gallery temple of Nicholas the Wonder-worker, the protector of emperor Nicholas, under whom building the first Cathedral began.
Side-altar in the northern wing is devoted to Saint Prince Alexander Nevsky, the protector of emperor Alexander I, who gave the vow to erect Cathedral to the Savior, Alexander II, who had been building this temple during 25 years, Alexander III, who consecrated the temple.
The unique location of the cathedral makes observation places on it really unique. From the height of 40 m the panorama of the central part of Moscow opens. The Kremlin and Zamoscvorechje, a ring of Moscow high buildings, lay-out of Moscow streets and avenues – everything is seen. The sight turns out keen and quite interesting.
And we hope that it will stand for many years and will please everybody who entered it. Now like many years ago in the cathedral ceremonial, including Easter, services are carried out.
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