It will be able to host up to 40 thousand faithful and will be dedicated to Sofia Divine -Wisdom. Its construction was commissioned by Fr. Ilja Nozdin, spiritual father of the same patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev). It will be financed by some spiritual sons of the starets Sergij Romanov. The church already attracts many Chinese. It is an Orthodox outpost on the outskirts of Asia. It will rise in the area where the family of Tsar Nicholas II was killed. It could become the largest pilgrimage destination in all of Russia.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The largest Christian (or at least Orthodox) church in the world will be built in the territory of the female monastery dedicated to the icon of the Mother of God "Bread Dispenser", capable of gathering almost 40,000 faithful.
The starets of the monastery, the skhiigumen Sergij (Romanov - see photo 1), announced the project to the Znak.com website. He is an almost legendary and rather mysterious character, with an (apparently) criminal past, with links to many Russian public figures: the Duma deputy Natalja Poklonskaja (ex-Crimean prosecutor), the hockey champion Pavel Datsjuk, the singer Aleksandr Novikov and others, including several entrepreneurs and oligarchs, all ready to finance the grandiose project.
Zhanna Rjabtseva revealed some details of the building plan. Ryabtseva is president of the regional parliament in Sverdlovsk, the Ekaterinburg area, and also a parishioner of Father Sergij. He states that the idea of the super-church was approved directly by another famous Igumen, father Ilja (Nozdrin), spiritual father of the same patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev). The church will be dedicated to Sofia, Divine Wisdom and will reach 77 meters in height, with a dome of 22 meters in height and 33 meters in diameter (the vaults of St. Peter's in Rome are 45 meters high, even if the Michelangelo dome reaches 133 meters).
The entire complex will be arranged in three large naves and will contain two churches, a lower one of 11 thousand square meters for 20 thousand people, and an upper of 6.5 thousand square meters for over 18 thousand faithful (photos 2 and 3). According to Rjabtseva the construction of the stylobate, the overall base, will begin this year and the foundations will be extended over 100x100 meters. The completion date, according to his words "are in the hands of God, but it will be a great popular event". When asked who the financiers of the project are, the only answer was that "they will be some of Father Sergij's spiritual children."
Again according to Rjabtseva, many Chinese would also be interested in the construction, fascinated by the events that led the members of the imperial family of Nicholas II to conclude their earthly journey on the Urals, and “would have asked to receive baptism in these places, while now Chinese converts must go to other parts, such as the Diveevo monastery (founded by St. Seraphim of Sarov) or to the Lavra della the Holy Trinity of Saint Sergius, to reach the sources of the great Russian spirituality; over a thousand baptisms of Chinese per day are expected in the new church. " In this way, the church of St. Sophia would become the main Orthodox outpost on the outskirts of Asia.
An entrepreneur interviewed, but under anonymity, explained that the fundraising had already been underway for the past couple of years, and that it took only a year and a half to determine the land on which to build the church, three and a half hectares of countryside owned by the Krekov family, whose members were initially unwilling to divest. President Rjabtseva then managed to convince them to sell it to the diocese of Ekaterinburg, for a sum that remained reserved, presumably close to 5 million euros. The Krekovs reject all request for interviews, declaring only that "our silence was one of the conditions of the agreement".
Even the diocese has so far not commented on the project, but has promised to convene journalists on the matter shortly. In the circles of the Muscovite Patriarchate there is no precise information on the future "super-cathedral", but for some time now it has been discussing various devotional and architectural initiatives to honor the memory of the tsar-martyr and his family in the Ekaterinburg area.
On the site of the assassination of Nicholas II, the so-called "Ipat'ev house", the large church "on Blood" has already been raised, of over 3 thousand square meters for a capacity of about 2 thousand faithful. The other major churches of Russia are the patriarchal cathedral of the Holy Savoir in Moscow, planned for 10 thousand faithful, and that of St. Isaac in St. Petersburg for over 11 thousand, even if it currently is still being used as a museum, despite the Churches’ request it be returned. The great Ural church could become the largest pilgrimage destination in all of Russia.