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ON December 25, 1812, the last soldiers of Napoleon's 600,000 soldiers left Russia and to celebrate, Alexander I, emperor ordered the construction of a massive catherdral to honor "Christ the Savior" as thanksgiving and also 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 anscestorsl feats, burn before the holy altar of God for many generations."1
With those words the project began, but would have several rough spots throughout its construction.

The first project was started by Vitberg and on the 17 of October, 1817, the cornerstone was blessed. However on the first site, Sparrow Hills, the ground was found to be unstable and have underground waters. In 1832, Emperor Nicholas I approved a new site designed by K. A. Ton. This location was along the Moscow River near the Kremlin. The conerstone for this location was dedicated and blessed in 1839.

The original cathedral took over forty years to build. The majority of the work was done in 1849, including the walls, arch of the cupola, exterior facing, roof and main copula. In 1860, the scaffolding was removed allowing a view of the cathedral. In 1881 the riverbank and surrounding squares were completed. The consecration of the cathedral took place on May 26, 1883. This was the same day as Alexader III was crowned emperor of Russia. (The 1812 Overture was written for this event.)

The style of the cathedral is Byzantine with a more regular shape and "lighter" form. On the inside the themes of the sculptures and frescoes are the mercy of the Lord vouchsafed to the Rusian people through the intercession of saints during the last nie senturies, and the ways and means chosen by God for the salvation of mankind from the creation, to the fall and the redemption through our Lord and Savior. 2.

The cathedral became the site of all important church and civic events. The 500th aniversary of the death of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, 100th anniversary of the War of 1812, and the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty were all celebrated here. Also in 1917, the Russian Orthodox Church met and reinstated the patriarchate, Patriarch Tikhon, at the cathedral.

In 1931, the cathedral was blown up in a massive explosion. A swimming pool took the place of the church after it was demolished. However in 1994 the pool was closed and a reconstruction of the church took place. Currently the cathedral is open with a museum and other services.

1. http://www.xxc.ru/english/history/index.htm 2. IBID Other Information came from http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/en.htm and http://www.moscow-hotels-russia.com/hrist_spasi.htm

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