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Visit to the Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas

April 19, 2012, Kronstadt

Dmitry and Svetlana Medvedev attended the consecration ceremony of the Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt. The ceremony was carried out by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

The Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt is the main shrine of the Russian Navy. The cathedral was founded in 1902 by decree of Emperor Nicholas II in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Russian Navy. In 1929 it was closed and desecrated.

In 2009, at Patriarch Kirill’s initiative, a board of trustees was established to restore the cathedral.

It is expected that the cathedral will be fully restored in time for the 100th anniversary of its first consecration, which will be celebrated in 2013.

* * *

Dmitry Medvedev's speech after the ceremony consecrating the Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Your Holiness, residents of Kronstadt, friends,

Today is a great day in the history of Kronstadt and our country: the Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas has just been consecrated. I am very glad that it happened during the Bright Week. I would like to sincerely congratulate all of you on this very important event.

The Naval Cathedral has a very complicated history, in which, like in a drop of water, the dramatic 20th century history of our nation is reflected. It was built and consecrated in the beginning of the century; this was done by popular demand of sailors, who were personally involved in collecting donations and contributed to the construction of the cathedral in cooperation with the Admiralty. St John of Kronstadt also participated in the cathedral’s consecration. Unfortunately, because of subsequent events, the cathedral was desecrated and for a long time the building was used for other purposes. But a city like Kronstadt, a city that is home to Russia’s naval base, must have its own large naval cathedral.

I am truly happy that through the blessing of the Patriarch, the hard work of so many people and the substantial donations, this pearl of Russian ecclesiastical architecture has been restored to its original glory. I will say even more: as His Holiness and I have just noted, the cathedral looks better than it did 100 years ago. And that is wonderful because Kronstadt has its own, special naval traditions. Our naval base is located here, our sailors live here, and everything breathes the history of the great Russian fleet. Therefore, immediately after the consecration, the sailors will be able to come to the cathedral to pray and remember their comrades, and to receive blessings for future feats of arms. Nothing strengthens the army and navy as much as spiritual unity.

Citizens of Kronstadt, friends,

Indeed, for decades we looked at the cathedral and thought to ourselves: when will it again become as beautiful as it used to be? Now it has happened.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this initiative.

My heartfelt congratulations to you on this historic occasion.

April 19, 2012, Kronstadt