Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Translated for the first time into English, Kirichenko’s absorbing account brings to life the history of Russia’s largest church--its origins, conception, the fits and starts of its planning and construction, the life that developed in and around the Cathedral, its demise in the Soviet period--and its recent reincarnation. More
Dominating Moscow’s skyline once again is the recently rebuilt and re-consecrated enormous Orthodox Church of Christ the Savior. The Cathedral replaces the world’s largest outdoor swimming pool, which, in turn, replaced the foundations of the gigantic Palace of Soviets begun in the 1930s. It occupies the same location where the original Cathedral of Christ the Savior stood. That church, begun by Tsar Alexander I and dedicated in 1883 during the coronation of Alexander III, was built as a national memorial to Russia’s victory over Napoleon and as a monument to the autocratic rule of the Romanovs. Stalin had it dynamited in 1931.
Author Evgenia Kirichenko tells the story of this relatively short-lived temple of Muscovy, the largest church in Russia--its origins, conception, the fits and starts of its planning and construction (the first architect selected by Alexander I was sent into exile), the complex life that developed in and around the Cathedral, celebrations of its monumentality, its demise in the Soviet period, and reconstruction in the early 1990s. Kirichenko provides an absorbing account of this edifice, demonstrating how it was symbolic of Russia’s transition from Eastern potentate to empire to Sovietland, and to this great emergent Slavic nation we are now only beginning to comprehend. Her narrative is accompanied by a striking collection of illustrations, many of them never published before.
Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior [Храм Христа Спасителя в Москве] is a large-format art edition of 295 pages published originally in 1992 and reissued in 1997 in an amended edition by Planeta Press in Moscow. Here translated into English for the first time is the full text including extensive endnotes and captions with page references to the more than 300 photographs, plates, and prints in the Russian original. Readers interested in architecture and/or modern Russian history will find this incisive narrative fascinating. The author, architectural historian—and Muscovite--Evgenia Kirichenko has published widely on Russian architecture. An English translation of her seminal study, Russian Design and the Fine Arts, 1750-1917, was published by Harry N. Abrams in 1991.
The translators, Thomas and Sona Hoisington, hold advanced degrees in Russian from Yale University; the former is a prize-winning translator of Russian and Polish prose, the latter, also a translator, has published on Soviet architecture.