The announcement was made earlier this week at the opening ceremony of the new art gallery situated in the Legislative Assembly of the Sverdlovsk Region.
“At long last, we are going to arrive at a happy resolution of history with the construction of this cathedral,” said Vadim Dubichev, First Deputy of the Governor’s Aministration. “The reconstruction of St Catherine’s is a long story, one with a complex history, and one which reflects all the vicissitudes of our turbulent socio-political life. God willing, in a few years time Orthodox Christians can attend liturgies and pray in this special cathedral, one which reflects the history of Ekaterinburg and the Urals,” he added.
The exact date is unknown, however, according to the press service of the Ekaterinburg Diocese, Patriarch Kirill participate in centenary events marking the death and martyrdom of Russia’s last Imperial family on 16/17 July.
The original St Catherine’s Cathedral was built between 1758-1764. In 1920, the cathedral was looted by the Bolsheviks, who carried away some 165.6 kilograms of silver and many items made from Ural gemstones and gold.
In early 1930, the Sverdlovsk City Council made a decision to remove the bells from the city’s churches, and on 15 February 1930 the decision was made to close St Catherine’s Cathedral completely. On 17 February 1930, the chairman of the city executive committee A.N. Bychkova signed an edict to demolish the cathedral. On 15 March, the keys to the cathedral were handed over to the authorities and within a few weeks the building was blown up.
The area was renamed Labour Square, where trees, flower beds, and a fountain were subsequently installed. In 1998, on the site of the demolished cathedral, the five domed stone Chapel In the Name of St. Catherine the Great Martyr (architect A. V. Dolgov) was erected.
A proposal to reconstruct St Catherine’s Cathedral has existed for many years, but the project has been delayed continuously by protests. In April 2010, protesters rallied on Labour Square against the Ekaterinburg Diocese plans to build St Catherine’s on it’s original site, one which would see the removal of the chapel, fountain and gardens. The diocese withdrew their plans.
In the spring of 2016 the diocese announced plans to construct the cathedral on a man-made island of the City Pond. Further protests in the fall of 2017 forced Sverdlovsk authorities to move site from the City Pond to the site of the Drama Theater.
In early 2018, the Ekaterinburg city administration announced a competition for the concept of the territory upon which the cathedral would be constructed within the borders of Ulitsa Boris Yeltsin and Oktyabrskaya Square. The new construction project looks very different from the original, instead, the new cathedral will be built in the Russian Revival Style.
Click HERE to read about the controversy surrounding the reconstruction of St Catherine’s Cathedral in Ekaterinburg.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 April 2018