Sculptures of 16 Russian patriarchs to be installed soon at Christ the Savior

People’s Artist of Russia sculptor Salavat Scherbakov has begun the final phase of the creation of the sculptures of 16 patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church which will be installed at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, reports Orthodox Moscow.

The solemn opening of the sculptures of the first hierarchs of All Russia is scheduled for November 29, marking the climax of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the patriarchate in the Russian Church. The statues will be installed on the stylobate surrounding the upper part of Christ the Savior Cathedral.

“Although the idea of limiting it to busts was dominant a year ago in the expert community, I insisted on full figure sculptures. Otherwise we would have … identical monuments, where it would be extremely difficult to show the particularities of the various historical periods and human characteristics, and to reflect the spiritual meaning of the service of this or that person,” Scherbakov stated.

According to the sculptor, the hierarchs differ even in their vestments.

“St. Job and Patriarchs Joasaph I, Joseph, Adrian, Segius, Alexei I, and Kirill are in the traditional mantia. Four others are dressed in simple monastic riassas, including St. Gergmogen (we felt it was not quite correct to show such a patriarch, who personified a sacrifice of the Church for his people, like St. Tikhon of Moscow, in celebratory, festive vestments). Finally, the remaining figures are shown in sakkos and omophorion (including Patriarch Nikon),” Scherbakov added.

The father of the first Romanov tsar Patriarch Philaret stands alone among the images, dressed in an embroidered gown with rich pearls, holding the royal titular in his hands.

The total height of each of the 16 monuments is about 13 ft. Two stelae will also be installed, one with information on the historical significance and spiritual meaning of the patriarchate in Russia, the second with information on the sponsors and initiators of the memorial project.

As previously reported, the Commission for Monumental Art of the Moscow city Duma supported the initiative to perpetuate the memory of all the patriarchs of Moscow and approved the draft in 2016. The project is being financed by famous Moscow philanthropist A. S. Chizhik.

Another new monument was recently added to the Christ the Savior ensemble. On Sunday, June 18, Pat. Kirill consecrated the new monument “Reunification,” dedicated to the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The historic event took place on May 17, 2007 at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, with the new monument being timed to its tenth anniversary.