“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted”
1555 – Present Day
St Basil’s Cathedral survived Napoleon, Hitler & Stalin
1555 thru 1561 – Ivan the Terrible (Ivan Grozny) ordered the cathedral to be built to commemorate the victory.
1812 , June – Napoleon invades Russia.
1812, September – The Russians won the Battle of Borodino. Later Napoleon enters an abandoned Moscow. The French army set up explosives to blow up the cathedral but St Basil is spared due to rain.
1812 , December – God answered Russia’s prayers with the coldest Winter of the century. Napoleon’s army completely left Russia. Emperor Alexander I ordered “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 great Russian military commander, Mikhail Kutuzov, often prayed before the Kazan icon of the Mother of God. He defeated Napolean and drove him out. He is buried at the Kazansky Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Next to him are the French military standards and keys to the French fortresses taken by the Russian Army.
1883, May 26 – The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was consecrated and Alexander III was crowned.
1941 October thru 1942 January- Battle of Moscow – Hitler’s army is stopped 19 miles short of Moscow. This was the first major retreat by the Germans during the war. The Nazis failed due to several reasons: stiff Soviet resistance at Mozhaysk, the coldest winter in Russia’s history, fresh reinforcements from Siberia, American supplies and the faithful who prayed.
During the storm of Koenigsberg in 1944, the Soviet troops were in a situation which can be described as critical. Suddenly, soldiers saw that their commander arrived with priests and an icon. Many made jokes: “Just wait, they will help us!” The commander silenced the jokers. He ordered everybody to line up and take off their uniform caps. When the priests finished prayer service they moved to the frontline carrying the icon. Bewildered soldiers watched them going straight under intense fire of the Nazis. Suddenly the Nazis stopped shooting. And the Russian troops were ordered to attack on the ground and from the sea. Nazis died in the thousands. – The Voice of Russia
Christianity Survives Atheistic Communism
Trotsky, Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution that shook Russia and the world in late 1917 gave birth to the Communist system of government. A Russian Civil War 1917–1921 split Russia dividing it into the Reds, who supported Bolshevism and the Whites who hated it and the evil it is. Chaos and slave labor camps, Gulags, were later created. They promised freedom and equality but only death and misery were the fruits of their tree for almost 75 years.
“Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” –William Penn
1917, November – Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow excommunicates the Communists. “Come back into your senses, you madmen and stop spilling blood! What you are doing can please only satan. The retribution for it will be curse on you down the generations and eternal torture in hell fire. In the name of Almighty God I hereby anathematize you and also excommunicate those of you who happened to be Orthodox Christians by birth… I hereby call on the Orthodox faithful to rise in numbers and beat off the forces of evil that are besieging the Church on all sides.”
1918, July 17
The Murder of the Royal Family
began the onslaught on every Christian family that continues to this day
1918, September 5, – The Communist authorities shot senior priest Ioann Vostorgov of St Basil, confiscated its property, melted down its bells and closed the cathedral down. “… Just as Bolshevism was the logical consequence of socialism in its search for freedom, so the logical consequence and end of freedom will be anarchy, and it will come to us – black, terrible, mysterious and awful. It will sweep away the present rulers, it will once more reveal the terrible pages of the judgement of God. And this judgement of God will reveal to us openly that there is not and cannot be complete and absolute freedom for man, that it is limited and must be directed by the Law of God: like steam or a steam-engine in the absence of a good driver, it lead to the destruction of life; like a river which flows beyond its bed and over its banks, it turns life into a bog and a source of illnesses. And when the ‘end from the flood’ will appear before us, then will begin – if we repent, of course, and are worthy of life, and not of death, – the recreation of life. And this not only in Russia, but in the whole of humanity…”
1919, April 5, – Letter of Appeal to Christian Churches of the World by Fr.G. Loshako, “Many churches have either been desecrated and ruined by the Red Army or sealed by the Soviet authorities. Executions of clergy are often accompanied by the cruelest of tortures. School prayers have been banned. Holy icons have been removed from all public buildings.”
1922 – Church Property confiscated. The Soviet authorities launched a campaign to confiscate church valuables. Many churches were destroyed.
1922, May 26 – Lenin suffers stroke after arresting Bishop.
Archbishop Agafangel refused to sign a pledge to the Soviet government. He was arrested and forbidden to leave Yaroslavl. That very day Lenin suffered the first of a series of crippling strokes that was to kill him in less than two years.
1927 – Russian Bishop Ignaty Bryanchaninov , “Whoever does not obtain the kingdom of God within oneself will not recognize the Antichrist and will inevitably, become his follower”.
1931, December 5 – The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was vandalized and destroyed by the Soviets.
A sign of what was to come. As the building fell, so many innocent millions were murdered, swept away. The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse were unleashed. The Red terror continued and slave labor camps were established called “gulags”. The Ukraine was one giant concentration camp, “Holodomor”.
1932 – Stalin fails and St. Basil’s Cathedral protected. Stalin ordered St. Basil destroyed and commanded Pyotr Baranovsky to prepare its demolition. Baranovsky sent the Kremlin a telegram stating he would take his own life if it was destroyed. In order to protect many churches he advised they would be useful as museums. Baranovsky was later sent to the gulag for 5 years.
1941, June – a special service was held in the Patriarchal Cathedral (now Epiphany Cathedral) to bless the Russian people in the face of Hitler’s invading army.
1942 – Russian Church Restored. The war had changed the attitude of the atheist rulers towards the Orthodox Church. The war had led to the disappearance of atheistic propaganda imposed on the people. The churches were filled with many people during the war times says priest Mikhail Prokopenko.
Over 58 Million were killed in Communist Russia but the Faith Survived
1962 – Solzhenitsyn’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” is published. With Khrushchev’s personal approval the first account of Stalin’s gulag is to be published in the Soviet Union. All other future books are banned.1974, Feb. 12 – Nobel Prize Winner Solzhenitsyn was arrested and charged with treason. The next day, he was stripped of his citizenship and put on a plane to West Germany. He would spend the next 20 years in exile. “By law, we have every basis for putting him in jail,” said Leonid Brezhnev
1983, May 23 – Solzhenitsyn upon receiving the Templeton Prize:
“The entire 20th century is being sucked into the vortex of atheism and self-destruction…We can only reach with determination for the warm hand of God . .. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide.”
1988 – 1000th Christian Anniversary. The thousandth anniversary of the conversion of Ukraine and Russia to Christianity. Easter services were broadcast for the first time over Soviet television. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, met publicly with Patriarch Pimen and other leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. Hundreds of churches were reopened; famous monasteries. The Faith survived and Communism went down to defeat!
1990 – A monk from the Russian Orthodox monastery at Zagorsk, carrying a life-sized crucifix seven feet tall, who stood before Lenin’s tomb facing the relic of the dead ultimate revolutionary and his living heirs, and cried out to Gorbachev in a voice of thunder: “Mikhail Sergeyevich,
Christ is Risen!”
“And I saw them that had overcome the Beast
These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes,and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away;And I heard a voice from heaven, as the noise of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder; Singing the canticle of Moses and the canticle of the Lamb, saying: Great and wonderful are thy works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, O King of ages. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and magnify thy name?
For thou only art Holy!”
1991, December 25 – Soviet Union Ends , Gorbachev forced to resign.
1994 – 2000 – The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was rebuilt in Moscow.
2007, October 27 – Catholic Bishop returns. Moscow, for the first time since the Communist Revolution in 1917, a Catholic bishop was consecrated on Russian soil.
2007, October 31,– Putin visits mass grave in Butova. President Putin paid a rare tribute to the victims of Soviet-Era repression. Putin’s visit to a firing range in Butovo, in the south of Moscow, where more than 20,000 people were killed during the peak years of Stalin’s terror in 1937 and 1938, was the first time he has attended ceremonies on the official day of remembrance for the victims of political repression.
День памяти жертв политических репрессий – October 30, since 1991
2007, December 17 – “Russian Christmas” in Washington, D.C.. The Moscow Boys’ Choir and a leading Russian orchestra travelled to America to perform an exceptional “world Premiere” concert of Russian Christmas music at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Patriarchate of Moscow sent an exhibit to Washington which showed the suffering of believers in Russia under the Soviet regime, and the re-emergence of Christian faith in this country since the end of communism on 1991. The center of the exhibit was an icon of Our Lady of Kazan, riddled with bullet holes.
2008, April 27– Russian outgoing President Vladimir Putin, right, and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev hold candles during an Easter service Moscow, Russia.
“But they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall take wings as eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
(updated version will no longer be on this page)
Putin to meet Russia’s religious leaders
Feb 1, 2012
Russia’s Prime Minister and Presidential candidate Vladimir Putin will soon meet with representatives of all major religions in the country, he stated during his meeting with Russia’s Patriarch Kirill.
Putin came to Moscow’s St.Daniel Monastery to congratulate Patriarch Kirill on the third anniversary of his enthronization.
The Prime Minister presented the Patriarch with white roses and an icon and thanked him for strengthening spiritual pillars of the society and ties with other religions. – Voice of Russia
Putin Visits Tikhvin Monastery
“…all Russian tsars starting from Ivan the Terrible – except Nicholas II – had come to the icon for a blessing before ascending to the throne.
Vladimir Putin asked if the monastery has any problems and how the renovation work is proceeding. The Father Superior told him about the work being carried out and how it is planned to spend the money allocated for the monastery.
As he was walking out of the cathedral, the prime minister stopped to talk to believers, who addressed him with requests. A woman working in the monastery told Vladimir Putin that her husband had worked in the Kamchatka Peninsula and developed a disability but could not get a compensation he is eligible for. The woman handed a letter with her request to the prime minister. – January 30, 2012
Russia’s Orthodox Church Today
The Faithful and the Siege of Leningrad
The city miraculously survived the siege.
“I survived by a miracle. My mother worked from early morning until late at night, so, I had to stay on my own. During the air raids, I hid under the bed or behind the oven, whilst mum prayed to God that our home would be spared.” – Valentina Maksimova
video from Russia – Siege of Leningrad (English subtitles)
Putin Speaks About His Baptism
Putin attends Christmas service
Now, it has 101 dioceses, 31,000 parishes and over 800 monasteries – not only in Russia, but all over the world as well. Within these 20 years, 30,000 Orthodox churches were newly built or restored from ruins in Russia.
About a year ago, Kirill started reforms aimed at making priests and bishops closer to people. This is done mainly by dividing large dioceses into smaller ones.
“A smaller diocese really enables a priest or a bishop to be closer to his flock. This is a very good trend, which gives the Church a strong impetus for further development.” – Vladimir Legoyda
Nov 9, 2011
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised to help the residents of the Archangelsk region in the north-west of Russia in the restoration of two churches in Kholmogory and the village of Lomonosovo and also in building a memorial complex dedicated to great Russian scientist Lomonosov.
St Basil’s 450th anniversary
Celebrating the 450th anniversary from its completed date July 12, 1561
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has held a divine service at Saint Basil the Blessed Cathedral on Tuesday saying the Church is a
Russian Men’s Choir Inside St Basil’s Cathedral
Patriarch grateful to Putin and Medvedev at Easter
Dec 3, 2010 20:31 Moscow Time
A total of 23,000 Orthodox churches have been rebuilt in Russia in the past 20 years, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said Friday.
“Nothing of the kind has happened in any country at any time in history,” the leader of Russia’s Orthodox Christians said.
Churches all across Russia were destroyed during the Soviet era, while many others were turned into museums of atheism or used as warehouses.
“This has been happening against the backdrop of all social, political and economic confrontations… The world should see the Orthodox Russia’s great feat of rebuilding all that was destroyed,” he said.
The patriarch recalled that by 1991 Russia had only 7,000 operating churches and 22 monasteries. Today the country has over 30,000 churches and some 1,000 monasteries.
Kirill was elected Russia’s church leader on February 1, 2009. He replaced Patriarch Alexy II, who died in December 2008 at the age of 79. Alexy led a revival of faith in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet system.
Feb 12, 2010
Church property should be returned – Kremlin official
Church property confiscated by the Soviet authorities must be returned
despite the complexity of the issue, the deputy head of the Kremlin
administration said on Friday.
..The issue was raised during a meeting between Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill earlier
this year, when they discussed plans to change the ownership structure
of the property used by religious groups, including buildings and land
In almost two decades since the collapse of the officially atheist
Soviet Union, the Orthodox Church has through government decrees
regained ownership of just 100 or so of 16,000 churches and
While the Orthodox Church will not get back churches now on the UNESCO
world heritage list, including St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square and
the churches within the Kremlin walls, it is expected to have Moscow’s
Novodevichy Convent returned to it later in 2010.
Muslim and Jewish groups have welcomed the proposals, and the Roman
Catholic Church in Russia has also expressed hope that it will get
back Catholic churches and cathedrals built before 1917.