Yeltsin attended a special mass on Russian Orthodox Christmas January 7 to mark the consecration of the bells in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Together with Patriarch Aleksii, the Russian president laid the last stone in the outer wall of the new cathedral. The cathedral is an exact replica of that built by Czar Alexander I to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon in 1812 and demolished by Stalin in 1931. Work on the new cathedral began in 1994 and is projected to be completed in time to mark the 850th anniversary of the founding of Moscow in September 1997. Yeltsin said the feat proved that Russia is alive and will overcome all its present difficulties. The Patriarch called it a symbol of repentance and of the rebirth of Russia and its Orthodox faith.
The new cathedral is the pet project of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. It is unknown precisely how the millions of dollars for reconstruction were raised. Luzhkov says only private donations were used, but speculation abounds that major banks and other private companies gave generously in the expectation of political favors from Luzhkov, who will run for re-election in June. (11)
Farmer Deputies to Seek Land Reform.