On Thursday, May 25, the great feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York took part in the great consecration of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of the Russian Church in Moscow’s Sretensky Stavropegial Monastery, led by His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia. His Holiness – co-served by the hierarchs and a multitude of clergy – then celebrated Divine Liturgy in the newly consecrated church. Present at the service was the President of the Russian Federation, V.V. Putin.
Upon completion of the Liturgy, the President and the Primate of the Russian Church visited the cathedral’s lower church, dedicated to Saint John the Forerunner and the Twelve Apostles. Putin and Patriarch Kyrill also inspected the campus building of Sretensky Theological Seminary, where the head of state shared in brotherly interaction with the hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad who had come to participate in the church’s consecration.
The signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia took place precisely ten years ago – on May 17, 2007, the very feast of the Ascension.
Addressing the delegation from the Russian Church Abroad, the President said, in part: "I would like to greet all of you, to offer many thanks for all that you do for the Russian people living abroad. And not only for this, but also for your desire for full-fledged restoration of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
"This is extremely important for our people, for our country, and for the countries where you live and work, because this kind of living spiritual connection is critical, especially in the modern world, which is so full of conflict."
The decision to build the Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of the Russian Church in Sretensky Monastery was adopted on March 3, 2011. In December 2012, an open competition was held for the new church’s design. The construction of the cathedral and reconstruction of the monastery grounds began in 2014, and took 866 working days to complete.
The church stands at 61 meters (200 ft.) tall. It is adorned with carvings both within and without. The church building itself comprises several stories. The upper church is dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ and the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of the Russian Church. The lower church is dedicated to Saint John the Forerunner and the Twelve Apostles. At its center is a baptismal font, dedicated with a unique mosaic in the style of ancient Byzantine churches. Around the font will be held lessons in the fundamentals of the Orthodox Faith for those who are preparing for Baptism. The two stories of the lower section of the complex house auditoria for educational and youth centers. Two museums will also be opened at the church: one dedicated to the New Martyrs, and one to the Shroud of Turin.
Forty-seven icons were commissioned specially for the new church, most of which were painted in the Russo-Byzantine tradition.
The square in front of the cathedral was designed to function as an outdoor church, with the Patriarchal porch serving as the altar. Every opportunity has been taken to allow for the divine services to be conducted here in the warmer periods of the year, allowing up to 5,000 people to attend and to hear with clarity the singing of the renowned Sretensky Choir. The seven golden cupolas of the new church are visible from various points around Moscow.