CHRIST THE SAVIOR CATHEDRAL
The idea to have a cathedral to commemorate the Russian Victory over Napoleon was first pronounced in 1812 by a special manifesto of Tsar Alexander I. In 1832 Constantine Ton was appointed the chief architect of the cathedral and the location was chosen on the bank of Moskva River. The prototypes for the cathedral would be The Assumption and the Archangel Cathedrals of Moscow Kremlin. The foundation stone was laid in 1839, and in 1860 the construction came to an end. In 1883 the cathedral was consecrated in the presence of Alexander III, the ruling tsar.
There is a row of bas-reliefs on the perimeter of the facades on the level of the portals. They were made of marble and they illustrated the Holy and the Russian histories. 40 million bricks went for the inner and outer wall facing. The bricks were covered with the Russian marble, and the basement was decorated with Finnish granite. The main dome of the cathedral is 25 meters in diameter. It was covered with red copper leaves and gilded with 400 kilograms of gold using mercury. The cathedral got 14 bells. The main bell weighed 2, 6 tons.
The interior decoration was a harmonic combination of various ornaments, painting, marble facing and bronze casting. It was enriched with hundreds of paintings of the leading contemporary artists. Some 10 paintings have survived till nowadays, they are kept in the Tretyakov Art Gallery. The cathedral could house 10,000 parishioners. On the 5-th of December in 1931 the cathedral was exploded by Stalin’s order. It was planned to replace it with the House of Soviets that would be the tallest world’s structure of 300 meters and topped with the statue of Lenin of 100 meters. WWII delayed the plans, and after the war they founded a swimming pool in this place.
The resurrection of the church began in 1994. By the Nativity of 1995 the concrete basement was finished. By the Easter of 1996 the church was decorated with the golden cupolas. The decoration works took another year. The whole of Russia took part in the reconstruction of the cathedral, the domes came from the Urals, the copper doors were delivered from the Russian Museum of St. Petersburg. The Cathedral complex consists of the lower church of Christ’s Resurrection, the Hall for Ecumenical Councils, the lounge for the Holy Patriarchy, the Museum of Russian Orthodox Icon, the museum of rarities that remind of the previous church, and the gallery for the church processions. The chief architect’s name is Denissov. In 1997 the Cathedral was consecrated.