The patriarch said ruins always produce a heavy impression, “what we see here is a result of barbarity and craziness.” He said he wishes Russia to never again deny its faith and have “such strength to never again stumble and to be capable of setting an example to others.”
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, for his part, said Tatarstan is now supporting good initiatives of all traditional religious communities and said he is confident that “the Kazan cathedral, which is inseparably connected to the history of our great Fatherland, will be rebuilt by all people.”
Mikhail Babich, presidential envoy in the Volga Federal District, said that “the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan has inspired and helped our fellow countrymen for 400 years now.”
Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of Tatarstan, called the laying down of the foundation for the cathedral a historical event and cited the Bible, saying that there is a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones. “Today we are gathering the stones of our spirituality by rebuilding this world-renowned cathedral,” he said.
The ceremony, which was attended also by Talgat Tadzhuddin, supreme mufti of the Central Spiritual Muslim Board of Russia, Tatarstan’s Mufti Kamil Samigullin, and over 1,000 believers, took place on the site of the former Monastery of Our Lady of Kazan. The cross procession led by the patriarch, which had begun at the Kazan Kremlin, came to that place.