“The only three Americans I had for 2015 are the persons of our group,” explained guide Irina of an extraordinary tour created by Galina of expresstorussia.com and intourist.com. Thus began our visit to the “Decorated Icon Exhibit at Cathedral of Christ the Savior” located at Ulitsa Volkhonka, 15, in Moscow. On our way we noticed continuous cleaning of water trucks by the Moscow mayor’s office.
An exhibit of Orthodox icons from the 13th to 20th centuries was open to the public at the Fine Arts Center of the tallest Orthodox Church in the world. Private collectors contributed to the exhibition of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. This exhibit was made possible by private collectors. The fine pearl beading made the icons exceptional. Byzantine crosses and religious icon figures with precious stones amazed all.
“One of the most imposing and controversial buildings in Russia, the resurrected Cathedral of Christ the Savior has had a short but turbulent history… it was singled out by the Soviet government for destruction and, in 1931, blown to pieces. .. the site turned over to become an open-air swimming pool, the largest in the world…, which was kept at a temperature of 27°C all year round.. The symbolic significance of the site was reaffirmed after the fall of the Soviet Union, when ambitious Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov joined forces with the Orthodox Church to resurrect the cathedral in a $360-million reconstruction project… Completed in 2000.” 1 Our guide Irina told us “persons from all of Russia donated small and large amounts.” “The exquisite ornamentation of the icons seemed to prove their divine power and sanctity. All descriptions of famous icons began with the list of precious stones ….leaving exposed only the face, hands and feet…The decoration of icons was considered a visual manifestation of prayers and highly esteemed as a virtue. 2
Galina of expresstorussia.com gave us what we wanted: the Byzantine contribution to Russian civilization. She made this happen with the assistance of intourist.com in an economical excursion. The Aeroflot round trip visit from New York to Moscow was only $850. The internet poor reports were untrue. We had an extraordinary experience in visiting Orthodoxy and Byzantine civilization sites. To view photo album, visit https://picasaweb.google.com/105743188183721570894/BeadedIconExhibitOfCathedralOfChristTheSaviorMoscow.
- Editorial Board of the Russian Orthodox Church. (2011). THE RUSSIAN ICON. St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, PP. 15-17.