вторник, 9 декабря 2008 г.

'Pearl among churches' is Aleksy’s final resting place

The late Russian Patriarch described it as a 'pearl among Moscow’s churches'. Now the Epiphany Cathedral is to be Aleksy II’s final resting place. The church has an important place in the history of Orthodoxy.

It was designated 'Patriarchal Cathedral' – the main church of the faith - at the peak of state-sponsored atheism during the Soviet era.

In June 1941 a special service was held in the church to bless the Russian people in the face of Hitler’s invading army.

Aleksy II was installed as Church head there in 1990, and 18 years later he is to be buried in the place that played such a special role in his life. He’ll be laid to rest in the Annunciation, a side chapel of the Epiphany Cathedral.

The Epiphany Cathedral is steeped in the history and traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is believed that one of Moscow’s most famous saints, Saint Basil, was born on the site of the church in Elokhovo in the north-east of the city. St Basil's has also become the nickname of another famous church – the iconic cathedral in Red Square familiar to millions of people around the world.

The Epiphany Cathedral in Elokhovo is first mentioned in church records back in 1698.

Between 1712 and 1731 the old wooden church was rebuilt in stone, apparently after orders from Tsar Peter the Great.

World-famous Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin was baptised there in 1799.

Between 1830 and 1853, Epiphany was rebuilt in a late Classical style. The majestic church of today is crowned with five domes – the central one reminiscent of that crowning St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

All the original bells have survived except the biggest. It was replaced by one cast in 1900.

In 1991, the Epiphany lost its status as Russia’s Patriarchal Cathedral. That honour was given to the Kremlin’s Assumption Cathedral. However, the Epiphany was named Moscow’s Metropolitan Cathedral.

Its main spiritual treasure is a ‘miracle-working’ icon of the Virgin Mary of Kazan - one of the most revered icons for the Russian Orthodox people.

The icon was used to bless Russian troops in 1612 before a major battle which eventually led to the accession of the Romanov dynasty to the Russian throne.

Another highly venerated treasure in Epiphany is the relic of St Aleksy the Metropolitan, who was Aleksy II's patron saint.

Source:Russia Today

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