After being destroyed at the direction of Joseph Stalin, the Kazan Cathedral on Moscow's Red Square was re-opened on this day, November 4, 1993.
The original church was erected as a shrine in the 1620s to mark Moscow's liberation from the Polish-Lithuanian invasion, known as the Time of Troubles. The Russian volunteer army was led by Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who attributed their success to the divine help of the icon Kazan Mother of God, to whom they had prayed (today the highest statue within the Russian Orthodox Church).
Upon defeating the Poles, in honor of the icon and in memory of the dead, Pozharsky financed the construction of the small wooden church and named it after the icon.
After a fire in 1635 destroyed the building, Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov ordered that it be rebuilt in brick. Over the years, many modifications were made to the church so that its original design was lost. However, architect Petr Baranovsky carried out a major refurbishment and restoration of the church between the years of 1925 and 1930 to return it to its original appearance.
Unfortunately, like most of the churches in Moscow, the Kazan Cathedral was destroyed by the Bolsheviks, on the very same day in 1936 that the church was meant to celebrate its 300th anniversary. Joseph Stalin ordered Red Square to be cleared of churches so that it could be used for military parades. Once the Kazan Cathedral had been knocked down, various structures were erected on the site instead, including a summer cafe and a public toilet.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Kazan Cathedral was the first church to be completely rebuilt. Restoration was carried out by architect Oleg Zhurin, who had studied under Baranovsky. Luckily, Baranovsky had saved his drawings and measurements so that the church could be restored to its original, with its pink and white exterior and a cluster of green and gold domes.
On November 4, 1990 the Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II laid the cathedral’s foundation stone and, three years later, re-consecrated the newly-rebuilt church.