Almaty, Kazakhstan, October 10, 2019
An amazing example of Russian wooden architecture and beautifully-painted cathedral was officially reopened after extensive restoration and consecrated on Tuesday, October 8.
The small consecration and festive Divine Liturgy in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s Ascension Cathedral were celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan. The beautiful wooden cathedral is considered a spiritual, historical, and cultural pearl of Kazakhstan, and was consecrated as part of the ongoing celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Synaxis of New Martyrs and Confessors of Kazakhstan and the creation of the Astan and Almaty Dioceses, reports the press service of the Metropolitan District in Kazakhstan.
The church is the second tallest wooden building in the world, reaching to 183 ft. It was built in 1907, entirely out of wood, but with no nails.
The 15th anniversary itself was celebrated on Sunday, October 6 at the Iveron-St. Seraphim Monastery, with a number of hierarchs, including visiting hierarchs from Ukraine, Moldova, and the Russian Church Abroad.
The anniversary celebrations have also been blessed with the presence of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, brought by a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The day’s celebrations began with a procession with the miraculous icon, which was then taken inside the church.
Met. Alexander was concelebrated by 12 brother bishops, including hierarchs from the Churches of Poland, Moldova, and the Russian Church Abroad, and a number of local and visiting clergy.
More than 4,000 faithful gathered to worship in the newly-renovated masterpiece and to venerate the Kursk Root Icon.
Prayers were offered for the unity of holy Orthodoxy, the preservation of the Church from divisions and schisms, and for peace and the overcoming of internecine strife in Ukraine, and a festal address of Met. Alexander was read out as the clergy communed.
Following the service, Met. Alexander congratulated everyone present on such a significant event in the spiritual life of Almaty and the whole of Kazakhstan and delivered a sermon. He also thanked all those whose prayers and donations and sacrifices brought the restoration of the cathedral to fruition.
In his greetings, Almaty Mayor B. A. Sagintaev highlighted the church’s uniqueness and beauty: “Today we are witnessing the completion of a large-scale restoration of the church, transferred to the eternal use of the Orthodox Church in 1995. Ascension Cathedral is a unique building, a monument of ancient architecture, included in the list of national sacred objects of Kazakhstan. Today, the cathedral is one of the calling cards of the city, attracting thousands of tourists from around the world.”
The Union of Semirechiye Cossacks headed by Ataman VS Shikhotov provided security at the event.