This amazing monastery, containing relics from the empty tomb of Jesus Christ, was originally built by the Russian Church's most controversial leader, and it's now restored in all its glory.
New Jerusalem Monastery, founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon, remains one of Russia's holiest places. This patriarch's reforms to church services sparked a major schism in the Russian Church, creating the sect of Old Believers.
While Patriarch Nikon may still be one of the most controversial figures of Russian Church history, one thing we can all agree upon is the beauty of his colossal monastery.
President Putin was very impressed by its renewed glory, just as we are often impressed by the president's interest in Russia's Christian world. Check out this great video of his tour of the monastery (full transcript below at the bottom of the article along with beautiful photos):
Its location, northwest of Moscow, was chosen for its strong resemblance to the Holy Land. The River Istra represents the Jordan, and the Monastery itself is a replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and sites throughout Jerusalem, albeit with significant artistic and architectural differences.
The Monastery was not only designed as part of the ideology that Moscow is the Third Rome, but to allow pilgrims the ability to experience what it's like in Jerusalem, without undergoing a long and potentially dangerous journey.
Complete with relics from the site of The Lord's passion, death, and resurrection, this may be one of Russia's most unique monasteries.
As we speak, Vladimir Putin is inspecting the New Jerusalem Monastery. The first stage of full-scale restoration has just been completed. The president is escorted by co-chairs of the board of trustees which funds the restoration, the prime minister Dmitri Medvedev, and Patriarch Cyril. Aleksey Petrov reporting.
The monastery, a unique monument of Russian culture, was demolished by the German military during WWII. The restoration has taken decades, and now a jewel of the Russian Orthodox Church once again shines in all its glory.
It really looks like a jewel: the domes of the churches are shining again. The 60-meter bell-tower and the rotunda have been rebuild. The scale of the project is unprecedented. Experts call it a real miracle. Today, the restored monastery is inspected by the president and the head of the government.
The first churches of this cathedral were dedicated 350 years ago by Patriarch Nikon, the founder of the monastery. The monastery was established to support the 17-century concept "Moscow is the Third Rome," and to found a new center of the Orthodox world.
The hill, which accurately imitated holy Mt. Zion, was erected especially for the monastery. This was a copy of the shrine, but it was a precise copy for the 17th century. Now, it has been precisely restored.
There are marks of every epoch in the cathedral. The ceramic tiles under the eaves belong to the 17th century, the stucco and blue color refer to Empress Elizabeth. The monastery re-emerged from the rubble after WWII. In 2011, the full-scale restoration of Voskresensky Cathedral started. The bell-tower, rotunda, Calvary Cross, main gate, and the 12-meter iconostasis have been restored.
Moreover, during the restoration, about 200,000 antique artifacts were found here. For example, archeologists have found 16 tombs, including the graves of the military leader Alexander Suvorov's wife and son. The restoration cost 10 bln RUB, with over 1 bln RUB of the sum coming from believers' donations.
Alexey Petrov, Anna Tsimaylo, Stanislav Ponomarenko, Valeri Glushakov, Vesti, Moscow Region.
See here for more pictures of this great wonder
A video introducing Russian Faith: