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Nativity of Jesus (People’s Salvation Cathedral)© Wikicommons/Michael

People’s Salvation Cathedral (2021 January) © Wikicommons

The People’s Salvation Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of National Redemption, is a monumental Orthodox Christian cathedral currently under construction in Bucharest, Romania. The cathedral is set to become the tallest Orthodox church in the world, standing at a height of 120 meters (394 feet) and with a capacity of 5,000 worshippers.

The idea for the cathedral was first proposed in the early 1990s, following the fall of Romania’s communist regime. The project was officially launched in 2007 by then-Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, who saw it as a symbol of national unity and a way to showcase Romania’s cultural heritage.

The cathedral’s design is a combination of traditional Byzantine and Romanian styles, featuring a central dome and four smaller domes, as well as intricate stone carvings and colorful frescoes. The interior will also feature a series of mosaics and icons, including a massive iconostasis, or screen of icons, that will be one of the largest in the world.

Construction of the cathedral has been controversial, with critics arguing that the estimated cost of over 500 million euros could have been better spent on social services and infrastructure projects. In addition, the cathedral has faced criticism for its location, which required the demolition of several historic buildings and the displacement of local residents.

Supporters of the project argue that the cathedral will become an important symbol of Romania’s cultural identity and a major tourist attraction, bringing in millions of euros in revenue each year. The cathedral’s construction has also created thousands of jobs and has helped to stimulate the local economy.

People’s Salvation Cathedral, Bucharest (2018 July) © Wikicommons

Despite the controversy surrounding its construction, the People’s Salvation Cathedral has already become an iconic landmark in Bucharest, with its soaring dome visible from many parts of the city. The cathedral is set to be completed in 2024.

In January 2018, the iconographer Daniel Codrescu was designed to make the mosaic of the Cathedral.

Once completed, the cathedral will house the relics of several saints, including the remains of Saint Dimitrie the New, a Romanian saint who lived in the 17th century. It will also serve as the headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Church and will be the site of important religious ceremonies and events.

The triumphal arch of the People’s Salvation Cathedral © Wikicommons/Mihail

The cathedral’s construction has been a massive undertaking, requiring the excavation of over 1.2 million cubic meters of earth and the pouring of over 200,000 cubic meters of concrete. The dome alone weighs over 5,000 tons and required a specially-designed crane to lift it into place.

The cathedral’s location, on the site of the former Communist Party headquarters, has also been a point of controversy. Some have argued that the cathedral is an attempt to erase Romania’s communist past, while others see it as a way to reclaim the space for the people.

Certain spaces inside the cathedral will be dedicated to the confessors saints from the Romanian communist prisons, such as the priests Stăniloae, Sofian, Cleopa, Partenie Gherasim and others

Despite the controversy, the People’s Salvation Cathedral is set to become a major landmark in Bucharest and a symbol of Romania’s cultural heritage. Its completion will mark the end of a long and complex construction process and the beginning of a new era in Romania’s history.

| The largest Bell in Europe

© Grassmayr

The first of the six bells at the Cathedral is the largest moving bell in Europe. The bells, cast in Innsbruck by the Grassmayr Bell Foundry have a 15-year warranty and a lifetime of over 400 years. The 500.000 euro main bell weighs 25 tons with a diameter of 3.35 meters.

On every one of the six bells are engraved the coat of arms of Patriarch Daniel of Romania

james.lookwood@europe-diplomatic.eu

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