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The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Russian: Храм Христа Спасителя) is the most important cathedral in Moscow, stands on the bank of the Moscow River, a short distance from the Kremlin, to the west.
It is the tallest Eastern Orthodox church.
Following the defeat of Napoleon in Moscow, Tsar Alexander I decided to build a Cathedral in honor of Christ the Saviour, “to express Our gratitude to Divine Providence for saving Russia from the doom that hung over it” and as a memorial of sacrifices of the Russian people.
From the decision came to the realization a while and in the meantime, Alexander I was succeeded by his brother Nicholas I. The new Tsar, the Orthodox and patriotic, commissioned his favorite architect Konstantin Thon to create a new project, taking Model Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
The cathedral was consecrated on the day of the coronation of Alexander III, May 26, 1883.
After the October Revolution, and more specifically after the death of Lenin, the prominent site on which stood the cathedral was chosen by the Soviet authorities for the construction of a monument to socialism, which would be called the Palace of Soviets. This monument was to rise with a futuristic step structure to support a gigantic statue of Lenin.
On December 5, 1931, by order of the Minister of Stalin, Lazar Kaganovich, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was blown up and in ruins.
The construction of the Palace of Soviets was interrupted due to lack of funds, problems with flooding from the nearby Moskva River, and finally the outbreak of the war. The flooded hole in which they had to be made the foundation remained open until, following a decision by Nikita Khrushchev, it was transformed into the largest outdoor swimming pool in the world.
With the decline and the end of the Soviet regime, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, in February 1990 a temporary foundation stone was laid at the end of the year.
The lower church was consecrated to the Transfiguration of the Saviour in 1996, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which was completed, was consecrated on the day of the Transfiguration, August 19, 2000.
A pedestrian bridge over the river was built between June 21, 2003 and September 3, 2004 and named Bridge of the Patriarchs. On the hillside to the right of the cathedral are the monuments to Alexander II and Nicholas II. The square of the cathedral is decorated with several chapels, which include the lines of the cathedral itself.