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After The October Revolution

The atheistic reorganization of the society began right after the October Revolution and the implementation of the Soviet rule. The “separation of church and state” decree, Issued In 1918 was the first blow to the Russian Orthodox Church, and a hard one. Then came the socialization of church property, the confiscation of church valuables in 1922, closure and destruction of churches in the 20-s – 30-s, and finally - the physical elimination of clergy and monks. The Cathedral had fallen for evil days, as well as other establishments of religious worship.

In 1922 the schism of the Russian Orthodox Church happened. The clergy supporting the social reforms and renovation of the church were called “Renovationists”, and those supporting Patriarch Of Moscow and all Russia Tikhon – “Tikhonovtsi”. The Cathedral of St. Catherine became renovationist, but that did not save it from further troubles. The famine that broke out in Povolzhye in 1921 caused the “confiscation of church valuables for help for the starving” decree. As early as on the 30th of July, 1921 bishop John of Kuban and Krasnodar appealed to the believers: “Donate to our starving brethren, bring the bread that you earned by the sweat of your brow, and share your meal with your brethren…” But the bread turned out to be of no use – the country needed gold and silver. The telegram on April the 3rd, 1922 By a member of the Aid for the Starving Central Committee Presidium Vinokurov to the Kuban Valuables Confiscation Committee read “Valuables are not to be replaced by bread or any other food…” Thus, the campaign was first of all aimed at weakening the Russian Orthodox Church.

The committee operated in the St. Catherine Cathedral in April, 28th - May, 12th, 1922. 12 silver cups, 4 tabernacles, 10 pathens, 9 asterisks, 10 crosses, 2 lances, 7 scoops, 15 dishes – cross stands, 14 rizas, a pyx, a censer, rizas from small icons, Gospel stands and other valuables that summed up to over 53 lbs. were withdrawn. Not only were the valuables of the Cathedral confiscated, but also those of domestic churches, that were closed in 1920 and had handed over their property to other churches.

At that time the persecution of those loyal to Patriarch Tikhon, the so-called “Tikhonovtsi” began. A demonstrative story of the events is the fate of fr. Alexander Purlevskoi, the Cathedral’s dean in 1919-1922. Since 1922 to 1937 he was arrested 5 times and was executed by shooting in the town of Gorniy. For fr.Alexander’s hagiography refer to the article “New Martyrs of Kuban”.

Desolation

Fortunately, our Cathedral wasn’t destroyed. In the 30s it was planned to be blown up, but the destruction was not executed. The brickwork contained egg white, which made it very solid, and the architect K.Malgherb succeeded in convincing the committee that the destruction would be unreasonable, because in that case damage of the populated neighborhood would be inevitable. Nevertheless, the Cathedral ceased to be an establishment of cult.

Since then it was a storehouse for all kinds of things, like even small airplanes and gliders of the local club. The bells were demounted and melted.

The atheist’s activity had its results. On June 26th, 1934 the diocesan administration announced that the Cathedral community broke up owing to its smallness. Before that, in 1931, ringing of church bells was prohibited by the city council.

In 1942 the Cathedral returned to life, retaining its function of a storehouse.

It had completely revived in 1944, after the liberation of Krasnodar from the fascist invaders. But the side altars were reconsecrated to the Assumption of the Mother of God, Resurrection, Annunciation, St.Sergius, St. Barbara. The main altar retained its consecration to St. Catherine.

Restoration

The reanimation of religious life began with the Perestroyka, in the 80s. On the summer of 1988 our country grandly celebrated the millenary of the baptism of Rus. At the time there were two functioning churches in Krasnodar – the Cathedral of St. Catherine and the church of St. George the Victorious. In the run-up to the celebrations the wall paintings in the Assumption side altar of the Cathedral and the iconostasis in the church of St. George were remade. The paintings were renovated under the direction of Moscow painters (1982-1995) and a local craftsman V. Mokhov made beautiful gates of delicate forgery in the style of old Ekaterinodar.

It is from the Cathedral of St. Catherine that, in honour of the millenary of the baptism of Rus, the bells sounded for the first time in many years. The bell that opened the revival of bell ringing in Krasnodar, was transported from the town of Yeisk. It was found in the storehouse of a local church and dated to 1906.

In 1990 the Cathedral ordered a set of bells of modern foundry from Voronezh, and in the bell “Blagovest”, the largest, weighing one and a half tons, 1992. Nowadays the Cathedral has 12 bells.

2011-01-13  |  Print version

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