They say that in pre-revolutionary Moscow there were “forty forty” churches. On average, there was one temple per one and a half thousand people. In the 20th century, more than 400 of them were destroyed. But for about 12 years now, the program for the construction of Orthodox churches, initiated by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’ Kirill, has been implemented in the capital. Thanks to this grandiose project, residents of the sleeping areas of Moscow receive temples within walking distance from their homes.
Plans for the construction of new Orthodox churches in Moscow were called “Program 200” for short, because they envisaged the development of projects and the construction of 200 new churches in all districts of the capital. It is important to emphasize that the construction is financed exclusively by donations from citizens. As of December 2022, 88 churches have been built and are already operating, construction and installation work has been completed in four, and another 42 churches are at different stages of construction. In other words, 134 out of 200 planned objects have already been implemented or are being implemented.
Almost each of these temples is interesting and unique in its own way – if not by design, then by internal or external decoration. When developing projects, modern architects rely on the best examples of Russian church architecture. Interestingly, according to the projects developed during the implementation of the “Program-200”, churches are being built not only in Moscow, but also in the Moscow and Vladimir regions, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Smolensk and other cities.
The curator of the Program for the construction of Orthodox churches in Moscow is Vladimir Iosifovich Resin, a member of the State Duma Committee on Construction and Housing and Public Utilities, Patriarch Kirill’s advisor on construction. Back in the summer of 2022, he noted:“The total capacity of the built stone churches is 56,300 parishioners, and 155 temporary wooden churches for 15,700 people have also been installed. That is, we built churches and chapels for about 72,000 parishioners.”.
Vladimir Resin regularly holds a design meeting as part of the Program for the Construction of Orthodox Churches in Moscow. One of them took place a little over a month ago, on December 9, in the Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior. It was attended by acting. Hieromonk Nikandr (Pilishin), Deputy Chairman of the Financial and Economic Department (FHU) of the Moscow Patriarchate, Priest Alexander Privalov, assistant to the Chairman of the FHU for the construction of churches, architects and designers, rectors of Moscow churches.
It was noted that in 2022 the projects of three temple complexes were examined: the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God in Belyaev, the Righteous Alexy of Moscow in the Timiryazevsky district and St. Macarius (Nevsky), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, in the Butyrsky district. In addition, three more projects of temple complexes were submitted for examination: the First Supreme Apostles Peter and Paul in Troparevo, the Icon of the Mother of God “Softener of Evil Hearts” in Konkovo, and All the Reverend Fathers of the Kiev Caves in Old Cheryomushki.
In parallel, the development of completely new architectural solutions continues. Recently, the architectural and urban planning solution for the temple complex of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Zolotorozhsky Val was approved. The church of this complex can accommodate up to 400 parishioners, and its design was created in the traditions of ancient Russian architecture of the second half of the 16th century.
I would like to believe that in the near future its “forty forty” churches will return to Moscow, and the Russian capital will become even more beautiful.
Photo: press service of the Church of the First Apostles Peter and Paul in Troparevo, Elena Panfilova, the Church of the Righteous Alexy of Moscow in the Timiryazsky District, the Church of All the Reverend Fathers of the Kiev Caves in Starye Cheryomushki, priest Nikita Ivanov