Russia’s Ministry of Defence has announced plans to build a military megachurch on an estate larger than London to produce an army of warrior priests able to operate combat vehicles at the same time as caring for soldiers souls.
The new project’s official website boasts that the Armed Forces Cathedral will include grounds with an area of almost 2,000 square kilometres (772 square miles), which is roughly the size of the Lake District in the UK (2,362 square kilometres) or slightly smaller than Yosemite National Park in the USA (3,027 square kilometres).
The new church will be operated by the Russian armed forces that will train up clergymen at the new military cathedral for which the blueprints were unveiled at the Venice Bienalle exhibition last week.
Two months ago, the Russian MoD even began collecting donations for the army megachurch.
According to reports, the foundation has already received 1.6 billion RUB (19 million GBP) in donations from over 37,000 different sponsors.
At the new cathedral, which also has the backing of the Orthodox Church and the state, priests will train alongside airborne forces and learn to operate combat vehicles and communication equipment.
Vladimir Bogatyryov, head of the Voskreseniye foundation, which is collecting donations for the megachurch, told local media: “A school for warrior priests is under construction and the Sisters of Charity organisation will be based there.”
The Armed Forces Cathedral is expected to be completed in 2020, in time for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
According to Bogatyryov, the church’s perimeter, as well as the height and width of its six domes, will signify key dates from World War II.
There will also be multimedia stands in honour of the 33 million soldiers who fought in the war.
The ‘Game of Thrones’-style structure will overlook landscaped grounds with military monuments and statues in honour of patron saints.