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New church rising from Moscow's past

July 08, 2014, 18:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

MOSCOW, July 08. /ITAR-TASS/. An unidentified benefactor will finance the 50 million-ruble ($1.5 million) reconstruction of a Moscow church that was blown up by Napoleon's forces in 1812, journalists were told on Tuesday.

From the ashes, the new church of The Beheading of John the Baptist will rise, alongside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the famous Novodevichy Convent.

The building was razed during the historic battle for Moscow to topple a structure blocking French bombardment of the capital, said Vladimir Resin, construction adviser to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and All Russia church leader Patriarch Kirill, in a presentation to journalists.

It will rise anew on the original site by the convent's eastern wall at a location where both the church and convent were constructed in 1525 and where one of the convent's towers still bears the church's name.

Design proposals were complete and would be presented for public evaluation, Resin said. Construction would take about a year, and features of the building would be based on old lithographs.

Archeologists discovered and examined the original location, said Metropolitan Juvenaly, as journalists heard of a later violent explosion which tore down a second church built to commemorate where the first one fell. This latter destruction was wrought by Soviet hands.

The new building will accept around 150 believers, the gathering was told, designed to preserve a religious site where trees and pathways make a favourite stroll for Moscow's walkers.

Consultant for cultural heritage supervision Natalya Filatova promised the new church would blend with the convent’s overall ensemble. The building will rise a mere 18 metres, against the original's 30, she said.

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