Construction of the Russian military’s main Christian cathedral is to be finished next week on Victory Day, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
Russia’s official newspaper of record reported this on Wednesday.
The cathedral, in the Moscow suburb of Kubinka’s Patriot Park, features a colourful mosaic of long-time President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“There has been a tradition in Russia for centuries to build Orthodox churches in honour of the victories of Russian forces and in memory of the fallen defenders of the fatherland,” Gen. Valery Gerasimov said.
The Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church have formed close bonds in the two decades that Putin has been in power as president or prime minister.
The alliance is in sharp contrast to the official atheism of Russia’s predecessor state, the Soviet Union.
“It is unfortunate that these spiritual traditions were lost for several decades after the 1917 revolution,” Gerasimov, Chief of the military’s General Staff, told a newspaper.
The cathedral’s bell tower stands 75 metres high, in dedication to the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s capitulation to the Allied powers, including the Soviet Union.
One of the cupolas is 14.18 metres high, a reminder of the 1,418 days of military action of the Second World War, according to a description on the cathedral’s website.
The Soviet Union suffered tens of millions of casualties during the war, the largest of the Allied forces. The victory remains a substantial source of national pride in Russia.
Amid quarantine measures in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Putin has ordered officials to postpone all public events in honour of Victory Day until after the crisis.
Putin has advised Russians to celebrate the holiday in their homes.
Russia’s coronavirus caseload is approaching 100,000, surpassing the virus’ origin country, neighbouring China.