Cathedral of St. Prokopii of Ustiug (1668, 1720), East View, Velikii Ustiug, Russia


This east view of the Cathedral of Saint Prokopii of Ustiug at Velikii Ustiug (Vologda 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. Ustiug played a critical role not only in northern trade, but also in the missionary activity of prelates such as the 14th-century Saint Stefan of Perm. This church is the second major component of the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin ensemble. Saint Prokopii was a 13th-century German merchant (possibly from Lübeck) who converted to Orthodoxy in Novgorod in the 1240s and eventually moved to remote Ustiug, where he undertook a 30-year period of self-abnegation as a iurodivyi (Fool in Christ). Accounts of miracles accumulated after his death in 1303, and in 1547 he was canonized (the earliest iurodivyi to be recognized by the church). A church in his memory was apparently built of wood in 1495. This brick structure dates from 1668, and was built with the support of Metropolitan Jonah of Rostov and a local merchant. Subsequent modifications, including the five baroque cupolas, were made in the 18th century. In 1867, a chapel dedicated to Blessed Tikhon, Bishop of Voronezh, was added to the south side (visible on the left). The exterior wall paintings date from the 19th century.

Last updated: January 11, 2016