Sunday, January 26, 2020

World's largest Orthodox church in the works

(Moscow Times) - An influential spiritual leader plans to build the world’s largest Orthodox Christian Church in central Russia, the news website reported Monday.

Once completed, the 25-story structure on the site of a women’s monastery in the Sverdlovsk region will reportedly hold up to 37,000 worshippers.

“The Saint Sophia Church will become an outpost and the largest Orthodox Church in the world,” Zhanna Ryabtseva, a senior regional manager of the pro-government All-Russia People’s Front movement, told

“Construction of the first stylobate will begin in 2020,” Ryabtseva, who says is a parishioner of the project’s mastermind, said.

The mastermind is reportedly Father Sergei, the secretive leader of the women’s monastery where the church is set to be built and the confessor of several public figures, including former Crimean attorney general Natalya Poklonskaya. "The project is being masterminded by Father Sergei, a former policeman who served 13 years in a penal colony on charges that included murder, the Znak news website reported." - reported by another news source.

When asked about the construction deadline, Ryabtseva told “It’s all in God’s hands.”

Ryabtseva did not identify the church project’s investors, instead calling them “the spiritual children of Father Sergei.”

Investors from China plan to co-finance construction of the Saint Sophia Church, an unnamed businessman familiar with the project told Ryabtseva added that the new church plans to welcome a large number of Chinese parishioners.

A 3D model of the church showed an ornate three-tiered structure with a large golden dome towering over smaller domes. The lower temple fits 20,000 worshippers, according to the design, while 17,000 fit in the upper temple.

At 77 meters, the new church will still be shorter than Romania’s 120-meter People’s Salvation Cathedral set to be finished by 2024.

The Yekaterinburg diocese said it was unaware of plans to build the church, the city’s E1 news website reported.

The outlined plans follow protests in Yekaterinburg against the construction of a new cathedral on public-park grounds last year.


  1. I don't wish to judge Fr. Sergei, but I don't see how anyone convicted of murder can be ordained to the priesthood. The only reasons I could see are a).It occurred before he was baptised; baptism washes away all sins or b). He was tonsured a monk before ordination, this would be considered like a second baptism, it is said that the monastic tonsure washes away all previous sins.

  2. Father Sergei is a very suspicious guy. I know one of the leading experts on cults in Russia (a devout Orthodox man), and he says that Fr. Sergei and his followers are a cult, and believes he is very dangerous. Fr. Sergei seems to specifically attract people in Russia who hold heretical beliefs about the Holy Passion-Bearer Nicholas II — there are many people who treat him as if he were not a saint, but more important than Christ Himself.

  3. "The Yekaterinburg diocese said it was unaware of plans to build the church, the city’s E1 news website reported."

    That is telling.