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Russia's Massive Military Church Will Open in May -- and It is Magnificent

 It will become the third largest cathedral in Russia, after the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow and St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Its height along with the cross will be 95 meters. 

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The construction of the massive church that will honour the military forces of Russia continues at an impressive speed despite the pandemic. On April 22, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the site to evaluate the progress.

The Orthodox Cathedral of the Armed Forces of Russia is being built in the Patriot Park near Moscow on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War, which is how Russians refer to World War II. It will become the third largest cathedral in Russia, after the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow and St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Its height along with the cross will be 95 meters. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, "this is perhaps the largest facility built by the whole world with public money."

The grand opening is planned for the eve of May 9, if, of course, the epidemiological situation in the capital and the region allows.

Now experts are completing the interior and exterior decoration of the temple. Artists, mosaic masters and installers work day and night, using the most modern technologies. The Lower (small) church is already completely ready. Trimmed with ceramics and decorated with Gzhel painting, it borrows from traditional Russian designs. The intricate mosaic panels are created from pieces of smalt glass .

With the chief architect, artists and sculptors, and the minister discussed the features of the decoration of the upper church. The icons and iconostasis will be made from copper with enamels - the materials usually used for military icons taken to battle.

The arches of the Victory Temple have no analogues. They are assembled from stained-glass windows depicting military orders and awards from different periods of Russian history. The image of the Savior Not Made by Hands in the central dome will be the largest image of the face of Christ, executed in a mosaic.

Sergei Shoigu also visited the open-air museum "Victory Field". It presents an elaborate virtual reconstruction of the battle during the defense of Moscow in 1941. In the unique complex "Memory Road" there are exhibits of the Great Patriotic War and a single information array with data on all participants in the war.

Of course, the cathedral's construction has raised some controversy, especially since Soviet symbolism will appear within the church. Although all Russians acknowledge the greatness of their country's victory against the Germans, many find the presence of symbols from an atheist regime misplaced within a church. Others maintain that during this battle, the Soviet army, despite its mistaken ideology, performed a great task worthy of the Christian faith.

In any case, however, the church promises to be quite a marvel. 

Sources: 

https://rg.ru/2020/04/22/sergej-shojgu-proveril-stroitelstvo-glavnogo-hrama-vooruzhennyh-sil.html

https://lenta.ru/articles/2020/03/12/hram_armii/

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