Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
Christ the Saviour Cathedral is The Mother See of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, whose current primate is His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. The cathedral is located on the north bank of the Moskva River to the immediate southwest of the capital's Kremlin fortress, where, inside the Dormition Cathedral (Uspenskiy Sobor) all Russian tsars and tsarinas have been crowned and anointed. Christ the Saviour is the tallest Orthodox cathedral in the World, standing at 103 meters (338 feet). The main sanctuary (temple) can fit over 10,000 standing worshipers.
On a Christmas day in 1812, the Russian Imperial forces drove the last of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Army off of Russian territory. In thanksgiving, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Alexander I (1777-1825, r. 1801-1825) signed a Manifesto ordering the construction of a magnificent Cathedral in honor of Christ the Savior in Moscow as a thanksgiving to God and to honor the victorious Russian army. The construction took 40 years and resulted in the largest Orthodox Cathedral in the World with first consecrated on 26 May 1883 in the presence of Emperor Alexander III and senior members of the Imperial Family along with numerous Church and foreign dignitaries.
Following the Russian Revolution, Stalin had the Catherdral blown up to make way for the Palace of Soviets, a "skyscraper" to Socialism and the memory of Lenin. Only the foundations were built by the time Hitler invaded Russia in 1941. Work ceased and following victory in 1945, the foundations were turned into the World's largest open-air swimming pool.
In 1994, the pool was closed and the newly-free Moscow Patriarchate announced plans to rebuild the demolished Cathedral on its pre-revolutionary model and scale. The construction was finished by 2000, and HH Patriarch Alexey II consecrated the new cathedral along with numerous other Russian clergy on 19 August 2000. Besides functioning as the Patriarch's cathedral church, the building is a monument to the suffering of the Russian people under communism and a symbol of the resurgence of Orthodoxy in Russian cultural life following 1991.
Every year, the President and Prime Minister of the Russian Federation attend Nativity (7 January on the civil calendar/25 December on the Julian) and Paschal midnight services in the cathedral, and are greeted with an address by the Patriarch, who they in turn address with the traditional festive greeting "Christ is Risen!", "Truly He is Risen!".