Church of St. Nicholas (1584?), Southwest View, Liavlia, Russia


This southwest view of the ancient Church of Saint Nicholas (Dormition), in the village of Liavlia, on the right bank of the Dvina River (Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Liavlia was one of the first Russian settlements in the area of the lower Dvina, established by the medieval trading city of Novgorod as early as the 14th century. This log church originally was built in the 1580s for the small Dormition Monastery, founded in the late 14th century. In 1641 the monastery was subordinated to the Saint Antonii-Siiskii Monastery (further up the Dvina). After 1765, the Church of the Dormition served the local parish. With the construction of a brick Church of the Dormition in 1804, the log Church of the Dormition stood empty for 40 years. In 1844, Alexander de Travers, governor of Arkhangelsk, visited the church and decided to save it. Subsequent repairs eliminated the decayed lower log courses (thus reducing its height by some two meters) and destroyed a gallery attached to the exterior. But the basic octagonal structure of this remarkable monument survived, together with an apse and small vestibule. Its "tent" tower and cupola were restored in the 1960s.

Last updated: January 11, 2016