Sunday, May 26, 2013

Christ the Savior Cathedral

Russian Easter fell on May 11th. We went to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on May 10th 2013.
 Eastern Orthodox Christianity has been called the soul of Russia. It has been written that "it is here in this church that you can best feel what Russia is and understand her place and purpose in the world. Even under Communist rule, church life never ceased to exist. All attempts to extinguish faith in Christ the Savior in the souls of the Russian people have always failed. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour became the embodiment of the Russian national idea, the symbol of Russia.

To commemorate the victory over Napoleon, the cathedral became the spiritual center of Russia. this cathedral was intended to last for centuries, but the communists condemned it to destruction. It was destroyed because it was the symbol of Russia, embodying everything that the militant atheists hated.
The cathedral was blown up in December 1931.

It was rebuilt. It is a huge complex. The main upper church is dedicated to the Nativity of Christ, interior reproduced to that of the original church."

When we came into the cathedral, there was a pre-Easter program going on. As in all other Russian churches, there are no pews to sit on. everyone stands up. The service was very long, and of course, we couldn't understand. Our office elders, who were with us, couldn't understand either because the priests were speaking (Chanting really) in old Russian. There are candles everywhere and many nuns who go around and snuff them out periodically.

The paintings are from floor to ceiling.  There is a sadness to many of the paintings.  It is very ornate and beautiful but without substance is how my husband described it. There was obviously no expense spared inside or outside.

Many of the paintings depicted different stories from the New Testament. Your eyes are on over-load as you look around. There is a lot of symbolism in the artwork. I saw many people approach several of the pictures almost reverently and kiss the feet of the subject (some were men I didn't know). Others were kissing the feet of the dead Christ on the cross.

Our Russian brothers and sisters have been through a lot over the years. Communism certainly took its toll. Perhaps this church, brings them hope? They certainly appear to be looking for truth.
A chilly rainy day. Here with Elder Daniel Bradford
and Elder Bryant Law, our wonderful office elders.
/Dave and I with Elder Law
Patriarch's  Bridge leads up to the
beautiful cathedral

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