To commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of Napoleon’s ill-fated but devastating invasion of imperial Russia, this first English and only authorized version of Evegenia Kirichenko’s Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior is made available to the public here as a .pdf file and also as a Smashwords Ebook.
Dr. Kirichenko, a noted architectural historian and ardent Muscovite, provides a detailed, scholarly, yet extraordinarily engaging account of the vexed conception and creation of Russia’s largest church, built as a memorial to the victory over Napoleon in 1812. Dedicated in 1883, it was dynamited in 1931 by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin with the idea that a gigantic monument dedicated to Vladimir Lenin (never realized) would rise to take its place near the Kremlin. Russia’s post-communist leaders have restored the Cathedral, which has become the seat of the Moscow patriarch as well as a national shrine.
Although many other authors have written about the Cathedral and its history, none has approached the subject with the finesse displayed by Dr. Kirichenko. Her “album,” replete with illustrations, is not a dry narrative. It provides insights into such matters as Russia’s powerful sense of destiny in the world and the important role played by cultural factors in the creation, destruction, and rebirth of the Cathedral. The translation, edited and annotated, was completed with the assistance of University of Illinois Professor Emeritus Sona Hoisngton.