The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is the largest Orthodox cathedral in Russia, being of at least the same importance to Moscow as the Kremlin and Red Square. The history of Russia of the 19th and 20th centuries is mirrored in the history of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. This majestic memorial cathedral erected on the bank of the Moskva River opposite the Kremlin was built to gratify God for saving Russia from Napoleon’s invasionin 1812. It was pitilessly demolished by Bolshevists in Stalin’s times and later restored as a replica using citizens’ funds. The Cathedral was consecrated on Transfiguration Day, 19 August 2000, as a symbol of the transformation of Moscow and Russia and the renunciation of its theomachic past.
In 1931, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was dynamited to make way for the Palace of the SovietsRussian: Dvorets Sovetov or Дворец Советов, a new cathedral for the new era. The era that challenged the past and the present and wanted to immortalise itself in the highest building in the world, a gigantic ziggurat palace crowned with a 100-metre statue of Lenin. Eventually, communists abandoned their utopian idea and built a swimming pool on the site (Moskva PoolRussian: basseyn «Moskva» or бассейн «Москва»)—a sign of the modest and “warm” Stagnation Period of the 1960s–1980s. Next followed the Perestroikaa political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s until 1991 and repentance for the crimes of the past, and the cathedral, restored in the 1990s, became a symbol of putting the historical record straight.
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