The history of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow begins on December 25, 1812. This was the day that the last soldiers of Napoleons' 600,000 man army were driven out of Russia. Emperor Alexander I signed a Manifesto ordering the construction of a magnificent Cathedral in honor of Christ the Savior in Moscow as a thanksgiving to God and to honor the victorious Russian army.
"To signify Our gratitude to Divine Providence for saving Russia from the doom that overshadowed Her and to preserve the memory of the unheard of efforts, loyalty and love for our Faith and Homeland displayed during these difficult days by the Russian people, We hereby intend to build a Cathedral in honor of Christ the Savior in our capital city of Moscow, wherein the appropriate Decree will be issued in due time. May the Almighty bless Our intentions. May our intentions be fulfilled. May the Cathedral stand for many centuries. Let the incense of thanksgiving, together with love and a desire to imitate the feats of our ancestor’s feats, burn before the holy altar of God for many generations."
The original Cathedral of Chris the Savior took forty years to build. The Cathedral is a perceptible memorial to the battle of the Russian people against the napoleonic hordes. The names of the renowned heroes, whom God chose as instruments to save His people are engraved on marble boards in the main gallery of the Cathedral. The Great Consecration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior took place on Ascension, on May 26, 1883. Regular services were conducted in the Cathedral from this time on. The Cathedral rapidly became a center for education and enlightenment. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was built by the entire Russian nation. It was a visible symbol of Faith, national glory, honor and a witness to many historical events.
After the revolution location of the Cathedral of Chris the Savior, along with ideological principles, became the reason for the decision to destroy the Cathedral. The plan entailed constructing a grandiose Palace of Soviets on the site of the Cathedral. This palace was meant to be the largest building in the world - a monument to victorious socialism and Lenin - the leader of the world proletariat. A new Moscow, with no vestiges of the "cursed past and its' monuments" was to arise around this Palace. A massive wave of propaganda preceded the actual destruction. The newspapers wrote, "the Cathedral is grotesque and totally inartistic", that "the Cathedral is a poisonous mushroom on Moscow's face" and that it was "a source of slothfulness" and so forth.
The first explosions rocked the Cathedral of Christ the Savior at noon on December 5, 1931, as per the decision of Stalin's politburo. The memorial to military glory and the most important church in Russia was brutally vandalized and destroyed. Russia sank ever deeper into the destructive gloom of atheism… An enormous cavity gaped on the site of the Cathedral for many years. During the so-called Khruschev thaw, the city built an enormous swimming pool instead of the Cathedral. The pool replaced the Cathedral and became a monument to forgotten and obliterated national history and glory, which had no place in the plans of the "builders of communism".
The main Cathedral of Russia - Christ the Savior barbarously destroyed on December 5 1931 has been rebuilt in 1994-2000 through to the prayers and works by His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II, the Holy Synod, and support from all Russian Orthodox Church, purpose and organizational talent of Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov, works of Moscow Government members, joint work of architects, builders, as well as artists and sculptors, who reconstructed artistic beauty of the Cathedral.
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*Information and some pictures were taken from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior official website.