The Church of the Resurrection of Christ
The Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Sokolniki is well known for its interesting history, architecture and precious shrines. The 9-domed two — story church stands 34 meters tall and takes the form of a cross. It was built in a Russian modernist style early in the XX century at Sokolnicheskaya Sloboda.
The history of this magnificent parish church in Sokolnicheskaya Sloboda, generously decorated by Moscow citizens, is first of all connected with the name of its founder and first rector Archpriest Ioann Kedrov who served in the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God «Consolation of All Who Sorrow», under Bakhrushin city hospital. Father Ioann was one of the most respected priests in Moscow although at the time of the church construction in 1909 he was only 30 years old.
The XIX century was for Sokolniki district a time of rapid industrial development as the result of a general economic upturn in the country. Among factories and apartment houses a lot of charity institutions were built by Moscow merchants: apartments provided for free, hospitals for poor citizens, almshouses.
In early 1900s there were about 70 streets and lanes (including glades) in Sokolniki. In 1907, 26537 people lived here, although 72% of those were not residents. There were few workers among them, not more than 2500. That is why the Sokolniki district could hardly be called a working suburb of the city. Literary rates were higher compared to Preobrazhensky, Semenovsky districts, as well as Cherkizovo and Blagusha.
At the end of the XIX century, a lot of big medical institutions were built on Sokolnichye and Devichye Fields. But unlike respectable clinics on Devichye Field which were intended not only to cure people but also for scientific purposes and were visited by the Moscow medical elite, hospitals in Sokolniki were intended to treat the working class people as well as citizens from the suburbs. Sokolnichye Field had a variety of charity buildings such as shelters and almshouses which now could be considered as nursing homes. All the institutions were built at the expense of merchants willing to show in practice charily — one of the biggest Christian virtues.
Even now, we can see that in the main building of former Bakhrushin, now Ostroumov, hospital there used to be a hospital church beautified by three high tents.
In 1890 the first and the only almshouse for terminally ill patients (now called a hospice) was built under protection of Bakhrushin hospital. First it had 150 and later 200 patients. Hospital patients as well as people living in almshouse and in the poor people’s home felt love and care of a hospital priest — Father Ioann Kedrov. Father Ioann was known as a man of strong faith, active pursuit of godliness, strong love and concerns about inhabitants of Bakhrushin charily institutions as well as Sokolniki citizens who loved and trusted him.
We know that people suffer not only bodily but also spiritually. To cure the soul, Russian people built churches which have always been schools for piety and places of God’s invisible Presence. Here a man’s soul is resurrected, warmth from the heart and love for our neighbour becomes stronger, people feel at one with God and become communicants of Eternal Life.
In 1909, at the request of Sokolniki citizens, Father Ioann Kedrov initiated a fund-raising campaign to build a new Church of the Resurrection. The church was to have the same name as the one in Pavlov Posad where his father used to serve.
The place for the church was already found but Father Ioann postponed the construction due to a lack of money and other difficulties which arose. According to tradition, the Mother of God came to the priest and told him to build the church in a chosen place, He however feared temptation and didn’t follow Her first and second wish. Father Ioann obeyed only after the third appearance of the Mother of God Who ordered him to build the church. This way She initiated the building of the church and throughout its long history has never left it with Her Grace and Mercy. As a sign of Her goodwill the church has a lot of Her miraculous icons.
From that moment, Father Ioann began to build the church, which proved to be impressively big: 980 square meters in size. On June 29, 1909 (July 12, New Calendar Style) the foundation stone was laid. It was the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles that is why the left chapel of the church was named after this feast later.
His Eminence Vladimir, Metropolitan of Moscow (Bogoyavlensky), later Metropolitan of Kiev, was the first to start the construction. On February 7, 1918 (January 25, Old Calendar Style) he was cruelly killed by bolsheviks and became the first of the new martyrs and confessors in Russia. Metropolitan Vladimir the Martyr was canonized in 1992.
During 1909-1913 the church designed by architect Pavel Tolstykh was built on donations of Moscow citizens. However it required a lot of money and the donations were not always enough to cover expenses.
Close to the church construction, in a small brick building, there was a temporary Church of the Resurrection. Father Ioann prayed there for God’s help in his difficult work of church construction. One day the priest faced the problem of not having enough money to pay workers. Father Ioann prayed to God and St. Nicholas for help. And a miracle happened; a poorly dressed old man came to Father Ioann and asked to shelter him for a night. Being kind, Father Ioann let him overnight at the church. In the morning before the service he went to the old man but didn’t find him but there was a package with money required to pay the workers of the church.
As a sign of the holy grace of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker to our church there is a piece of his relics kept here close to the icon. All this shows that from the very beginning our church has been under the holy protection of the Queen of Heaven and St. Nicholas.
The consecration of the church took place on December 22, 1913 (January 4, New Calendar Style) and was performed by His Eminence Makariy (Nevskiy), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, who was canonized at the Jubilee Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.
Commemoration day of St. Makariy is on February 29 (February 16, Old Calendar Style).
Due to Divine Providence, St. Martyr Vladimir and St. Makariy laid foundation of our church and we strongly believe that since then they have always been Patron Saints of the church as well as of all those who come here.
The consecration of the new church was also mentioned in the press of that time: «The Church of the Resurrection in Sokolniki was built in 1909 on donations… Thanks to the efforts of its Rector priest Ioann Kedrov and despite many difficulties, the church is now built and Moscow has a beautiful and big parish church in Sokolniki for up to 3500 believers. Before that, surprisingly few churches could be found in this densely populated district».
Our church named after the most important Christian Feast – the Resurrection of Christ – is unusual and unique. The altar part of the church faces the South toward Palestine, the homeland of Jesus Christ and not the East as it is traditionally made.
The All-Night Vigil, performed by Bishops Anastasiy and Modest on the eve of the consecration day, was also amazing. It was the time of Christmas fast but the service was held according to Easter Rite.
Built close to the tercentenary festivities of the Romanov Tsar’s House celebrated in 1913, protected by the Holy Mother of God Who blessed its construction, the church managed to survive the downfall of the Tsar and of the Russian Empire. Its history reflects the destiny of the Russian Orthodox Church in the XX century. The walls of the church commemorate the 1st World War and two Revolutions, renovationism, seizure of church valuables and restoration of the Patriarchate. And like a big ship sailing over all historical storms, it continues to provide shelter and protection to anyone seeking love and care. It visually embodies the following words of Apostle that «the church of the living God» is «the pillar and ground of the truth» (1 Tim. 3:15) and «the gales of hell shall not prevail against it» (Mt. 16:18)