Penza deputies donate nearly 200,000 rubles for Spassky cathedral construction
Penza, 27 May 2016. PenzaNews. The deputies of the Penza region Legislative Assembly donated almost 200,000 rubles for the construction of the Spassky cathedral during the charity campaign held before teh 35th regular meeting session of the regional parliament on Friday, May 27.
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The campaign was organized under the initiative of the United Russia party faction.
With their donations, the deputies contributed to restoration of the cathedral, and continued the tradition instituted in the beginning of the 19th century, when Penza clerics and merchants had done the same.
The deputies placed their donations in the money box placed before the entry to the meeting hall on the second floor of the Legislative Assembly building. Each person – ranging from prolific businessmen to educators – donated what they could.
Many of them felt uncomfortable under the sights of the reporters who were photographing and filming the donation process.
Among the deputies who contributed to the cathedral construction were Victor Kondrashin, member of the Federation Council; Valery Lidin, chairman of the regional Legislative Assembly, secretary of the regional United Russia party branch; and Yuri Dvoryaninov, head of the United Russia executive committee in Penza.
At the end of the meeting session, the speaker of the regional parliament expressed his gratitude to the deputies for generosity.
“Dear colleagues! I would like to express you my sincere gratitude for being active and responsible here, in the Legislative Assembly, as part of the campaign for the restoration of our holy temple – the Spassky cathedral. We will donate the funds of 192,000 rubles to the cathedral restoration fund. Thank you very much,” Valery Lidin said.
The original Spassky cathedral was an Orthodox Christian temple and a key location of the Sobornaya square in Penza (later renamed to Sovetskaya square). It was built using government money and donations from the congregation, including members of the Russian emperor’s family. The cathedral was constructed as a two-floor, five-domed church with a stand-alone belfry. Initially, they were connected by a xystus, but the latter was rebuilt into a monastery canteen later on.
It took from 1790 to 1799 to build the belfry, and from 1800 to 1824 to build the cathedral itself. The cathedral was the location of the wonderworking icon of the Kazan Mother of God: according to the legend, it protected Penza from the nomads during the so-called Kuban Pogrom of 1717, and shielded the people’s militia during the Patriotic War of 1812 and the Crimean War of 1855.
The Spassky cathedral was an architectural jewel of the city, which also served as a peculiar picture gallery: 60 cathedral paintings, created in 1850-1851 by Kuzma Makarov and his students, depicted the stories of the Old and New Testaments.
In different years, the cathedral was visited by the Great Prince Mikhail Pavlovich (1817), Alexander I (1824), emperor Nicholas I (1836), Great Prince Alexander Nikolaevich (future Alexander II, 1837), emperor Nicholas II and Great Prince Mikhail Alexandrovich (1904).
The cathedral grounds served as the final resting place for the Penza archbishops: Innokenty Penzensky, Afanasy (Korchanov), Amvrosy II (Morev), Grigory (Mediolansky) and Antony II (Nikolaevsky).
After the Soviet revolution, the cathedral was closed on 1917, made a property of the archival bureau in 1924, and blown up in 1934.
The restoration of the Spassky Cathedral became a point of discussion during the times of Archbuship Filaret as the had of the Penza and Kuznetsk diocese (2000-2010). Even though the local religious organization for the Spassky cathedral was created and the fundraising campaign began, the work stalled.
The reconstruction itself began in 2010, during the years of the Bishop Veniamin of Penza and Kuznetsk. The project of the new Spassky Cathedral was developed by “Penzagrazhdanproekt.”
The new cathedral will be able to fit up to 5,000 people. The sanctification ceremony of the Spassky Cathedral will be held by the Patriach Kirill of Moscow and All Rus.