Location: Kopanskaya village, Krasnodar, intersection of Tsentralnaya and Berezovaya streets
Capacity: 480 persons
Total construction area: 1104.7 square meters
Stage: sketch design
Head of the project: Dmitry Ostroumov
Architects: Dmitry Ostroumov, Dmitry Lysy, Kristina Vasina, Maria Timofeeva
Artists, designers: Irina Brel, Tatiana Agafonova, Vladislava Brignevich
Year: 2023

The project received the “Golden Sign” award at the “Zodchestvo 2023” competition.
For Christians, not a single soul is forgotten. The Church lovingly prays for all its children, both the living and those who have already found their eternal rest. Under the prayerful Protection of the Church, there are also soldiers who gave their lives for the defense of the Homeland, regardless of where its borders lay at a particular historical moment.

The Protection of the Mother of God Church in Krasnodar (Kopanskaya village) is dedicated to the memory of soldiers who performed acts of valor for their Homeland at various historical and geographical borders of Rus. Inside the church, the names of those who died on the battlefield will be immortalized. This includes the ancient times of civil strife, the Mongol-Tatar Yoke, and the chronologically closer wars of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the Patriotic War of 1812, the Second World War, and the military operations of the 21st century.

This church should also be a place where relatives and friends of the fallen soldiers will be able to grieve, shed tears, and pray for the departed. The prayers of mothers, loved ones, and relatives for the soldiers who have laid down their lives can become a Protective Veil, both for their souls and for the Homeland as a whole. This prayer should protect us from the inevitable storms approaching humanity with God’s permission. They are sent by God solely as a warning about the wrong choices of each of us and all of humanity.
The church is meant to be a place for preventing wars, a place of harmony between Heaven and Earth. Even in severe times of the Old Testament, the prophet proclaimed the merciful will of the Creator in the psalms: “Hear me, my people, and I will warn you - if you would only listen to me, Israel! […] If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” (Ps. 81:8, 13-14).

The design site is located in the Kopanskaya village of Krasnodar, at the intersection of Tsentralnaya and Berezovaya Streets. The site has a calm topography without significant height variation. Its central part is free from vegetation; the greenery goes along the northern and southern borders. The church will be the dominant feature of the area, thanks to the flat landscape, the level horizon line, and the high-rise advantage of the church over the nearby buildings.

In the western part of the site, there is the functioning house church, the bell tower, and the chapel. The building of the Protection Church with a memorial space is designed in the central part of the site. Its longitudinal axis is rotated 35 degrees from east to south, parallel to Berezovaya Street. This is due to an urban planning and ensures optimal use of the land plot.
The western, northern, and southern facades of the building are framed by a colonnade, which forms a two-level gallery. This distributes the flow of visitors around the perimeter of the facility. Also, this creates an intermediate space, protected from direct sunlight and rain.

The main public space along the northern facade is clearly visible from the intersection. It forms a small square with sculptural compositions, which is a continuation of the memorial hall on the ground floor of the building. The U-shaped open gallery connects the public spaces to the north and west with an area between the existing building and the new church.

The main entrance to the territory should be from Berezovaya Street. The additional entrance is from Tsentralnaya Street. The axis of both entrances is oriented towards the bell tower. There is a 4.2-meter-wide circular fireguard route around the church. Along Berezovaya Street, there is a parking lot for 11 cars, including one larger one for people with limited mobility. In the western part of the site, there is a parking lot for the clergy and a utility area. In the southern part of the site, there is already a children's playground. The project also envisages a playground and a recreation area along the Pokrovsky Garden.

The architecture of the church is quite ascetic. At the same time, it is monumental in scale, which is typical of memorial temples. The tectonics of the church follow a strict grid and represent a frame structure. Along the west-east axis, the church is symmetrical in composition. On the first and second levels, there are open galleries typical of the southern regions.

The monumental character of the building is enhanced by the helmet-shaped dome, reminiscent of Old Russian legendary heroes. The tholobate has two levels of openings. On the first level, there are window openings that let light enter the under-dome space of the church. On the second level, there are arched openings on the top of the tholobate. It is planned to place a memorial bell there. It will be possible to ring it from ground level at the entrance to the church on memorial days.

The roof is covered with seam metal. The dome is covered with lead. The walls are built of bricks, and the base is finished with natural stone. The outside of the church is plastered and adorned with decorative stone elements (limestone) and carved bas-reliefs. The apse conch is decorated with alternating stone bas-reliefs.

On the pillars of the facades, there are bas-relief images of the warriors glorified among the saints (venerable monks, great princes, and martyrs). These saints proved their devotion to God and loyalty to their Homeland, both Heavenly and earthly. On the top of the southern and northern facades, there are bas-reliefs of the holy prophets Elijah and Enoch, whose preaching will be revealed to the world in pre-apocalyptic times. The prophet Elijah is also considered the patron of airborne and space forces.

Above the main entrance, there is an image of the Protection of the Mother of God. There is a large cross on the apse. On the cross itself, there is an image of the Resurrection of Christ. This combination reminds us that in every heroic act when a person “lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and in every death, there is a seed of resurrection if a person met death with faith in God.
The church has three levels. On the ground level, the memorial and exhibition space are planned. It is covered with a system of circular, gently sloping vaults. Adjacent to this space is an open gallery formed by a colonnade. It forms an intermediate zone between the decorated external space and the internal premises of the museum.

The ground floor is designed at level 0.000. Access is provided through two entrances located on the western and northern facades. The narthex separating the western entrance from the main space of the museum hall also serves as an elevator lobby.

In addition to the main hall, there are the following premises on the ground floor: a priest's office with its own bathroom, connected to the second level by a spiral staircase; bathrooms for public use; a cloakroom; a utility room; and an elevator.

Access to the second level is provided by four staircases leading to a gallery connected to the church space by three independent entrances. The main entrance group, located on the central axis of the western facade, consists of a vestibule, an elevator lobby, and a cloakroom. On both sides of the sanctuary and the apse, there are spaces for the prothesis and the sacristy.

The closed spaces adjacent to the sanctuary are separate sexton rooms. The sanctuary is raised from the floor level by three steps of 150 mm each.

All three levels of the facility are connected by a staircase in the thermal envelope of the building. The staircase also fits for evacuation from the building if necessary.

The project takes into account the typological features characteristic of the area because of its climate.
The interior of the upper church will be bright, with a low iconostasis and a large image of the Protection of the Mother of God in the apse. The design of the church will include the names of soldiers who “laid down their souls for their friends” and died for their Homeland in various historical periods. After all, a name is a memory of a person. The names will be immortalized on the walls and the large load-bearing arches; on the fabrics of the symbolic Protective Veil, which will go along the walls of the church; as well as in the open galleries.
The lower church is a memorial space. The mounds were one of the characteristic types of burials in this region. The motif of the mound is reflected in the lower church because the stone base is raised to the full height of the level. The openings in the interior are located directly below the lines of the vaults. This creates the impression of an underground space. The space will be divided into the church (in the eastern part) and the exposition room (in the side and western parts).

In the eastern part, there will be a low iconostasis, similar in structure to the military camp churches. In the center of the church, there will be a large Calvary Cross in memory of the fallen soldiers. To the right and left of the sanctuary, there will be two lecterns with memorial books. One book will record soldiers who returned from the war alive but who suffered in one way or another, as well as civilians. In another book, there will be the names of the fallen soldiers.

There will also be a large exhibition on this level, presenting the valor and heroism of the defenders of the Homeland. It will explain their ideals, the history of wars, and the spiritual and social values these wars were fought for. Selected historical figures will be presented, too.
The very structure and decoration of the church are intended to show the idea of the tragedy of war. The church should reveal the idea that war is grief, suffering, and death where there should be life. War is not the goal of a person’s life but an extreme, although sometimes inevitable, way in which both warriors and civilians are victims. War is a kind of test of a person’s soul, where everyone, one way or another, can face a choice: either to save one's life and lose one's soul, or to do the opposite.

First of all, war must go on the spiritual path of a person, in one's heart, in an invisible battle with passions, sins, and the illusions of the world. "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). This is the war that leads to true spiritual manifestation and formation, followed by liberation. It is to such spiritual warfare that everyone walking the path of salvation is called. The external form, the tragedy of wars between peoples, is allowed by God so that people do not become mired in their illusions. It does not let us relax, immersing ourselves in worldly values, and bids us return to our calling. Our true calling is the peaceful life, the cultivation and transformation of matter through labor and creativity, and the inner work, the warfare on the fields of our own hearts and minds.

At the dawn of our human history, right after the Great Flood, God made a Covenant with the patriarch Noah and his three sons. The Scripture says, "God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth" (Genesis 9:1). The Most Holy Trinity expects from us the true fraternal understanding on this planet Earth, because, in fact, all humans are genetic brothers and sisters. But because of our own wrong choices and our exposure to demonic forces, God is forced to allow wars and other cataclysms to occur. The Apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, declares the true will of God thus: "From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. […] In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:26-27; 30-31).
Remembering the defense of the earthly Homeland and the Church, we must never forget about the Heavenly Fatherland, the Kingdom of God, the highest, truest, and absolute Homeland. Our ancient saints unanimously argued that wars and natural disasters are the result of the lack of human repentance, a consequence of our sluggishness and loss of virtue. If we regress to the Old Testament ethics of “fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Lev. 24:20), we separate ourselves from Christ. By following such principles, we do not stop evil but perpetrate it, although there is often justice in it, according to human standards. Direct confrontation only increases discord and intensifies struggle. The Savior speaks of a different attitude towards embittered brothers: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:43-45). Of course, such an attitude towards enemies is a degree of holiness. But we are called precisely to this, remaining strict with ourselves and being warriors of the spirit on the battlefields of our hearts. Our distance from God, the Spirit of Truth, causes tragic wars, sowing immeasurable suffering for everyone.

The memory of the fallen warriors, revealed in this church, should call a person to deep repentance before the Savior, Who still expects us to show love not only for our neighbors but also for our enemies. It is also intended to remind us of genuine spiritual warfare and of the spiritual path, forgotten because of money, vestments, and the decoration of earthly existence. That is why this church is designed to be ascetic and strict. Let the prayerful memory of the fallen defenders of the earthly Homeland, of all the countless victims of war, and also of those who simply thoughtlessly died on the battlefields, being victims of geopolitical games, be a reminder to everyone of the higher Homeland. It is to the Kingdom of Heaven that each person is called. It is there that one can satisfy the sadness of separation from loved ones and friends. There, the human soul can find true peace and true life with God.

The strength and purpose of many wars in which Russia participated was in doing a good deed: protecting spiritual and moral guidelines, preventing harm to others, establishing peace where there was conflict or injustice, preserving the identity of a culture, counteracting unipolar hegemony with imposed atheistic values, and preserving the sovereignty of countries and traditions. But not everything can happen smoothly, and these goals can be lost behind the obvious tragedy of the means by which they are achieved.

Of course, the idealization of war is impossible. There are always distortions of high goals, but these goals are positioned as the main ones. To support this concept, the exposition will include quotes about peace and war, loyalty to the Homeland, and traditional values. These are the words of the great Russian commanders, saints who took part in battles or served as priests in the Russian army, church hierarchs, elders, and other spiritual figures who went through prisons and wars. The statements by the rulers of ancient Rus and modern Russia will also be presented, including those of great princes, the Tsars, and modern leaders. They deal with the attitude towards wars, the desire to preserve traditional peace, and the efforts that have to be made for this. Excerpts from the Holy Scriptures about the attitude towards wars will also be given.

Work on the concept of the exhibition in the memorial space is already underway. This will be a dedication to military feats and the ideals of our Homeland that have to be defended at historical boundaries. The exhibition will reflect the peacekeeping mission and show the complicated relationships between ongoing political processes and wars within the framework of this mission. Russia's support for other countries, such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Syria, etc., in their conflicts will also be shown. Separate attention will be paid to the fallen soldiers since this church is a place of their memory. Parallels will be drawn with those saints who courageously lived through difficult periods in the history of their country and took part in hostilities while demonstrating the ideals of heroism, honor, courage, nobility, morality, and love.

Throughout their history, the Russian people have strived to preserve the legacy of their fathers, defend their values, and defend their native land, which is also the sacred duty of every warrior. The Russian Christian warrior takes up arms not to kill but to protect the defenseless. He goes to die for the lives of others, according to the words of the Savior: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). At all times, the Holy Church has highly revered military feats, which is why there are so many saints among warriors.
"And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. then the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village". (Luke 9:52-56)

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me". (Matthew 10:34-37)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends". (John 15:13)

"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples". (Luke 14:31-33)

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms". (Ephesians 6:12)

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other". (Matthew 24:6-10)

"A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb". (Revelation 14:9-10)

"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity. He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints". (Revelation 13:10)

"With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?". (Matthew 26:51-54)

"The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?" [...] Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home". (Genesis 18:22-24, 32-33)

"My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. [...] Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. Do not accuse anyone for no reason when they have done you no harm. Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways. For the Lord detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence. The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed". (Proverbs 3:11-12, 29-34)

"I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power. By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; by me princes govern, and nobles—all who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full". (Proverbs 8:12-21)

"The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right". (Proverbs 21:7)

"For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them". (Proverbs 24:16-18)