Church of St. Dmitrii (1700-09, 1739-47), at Dymkova Sloboda, South View, Velikii Ustiug, Russia


This south view of the Church of Saint Dmitrii Solunskii (Thessalonika) at Dymkovo Sloboda (near 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. Located on the right (west) bank of the Sukhona River, the Church of Saint Dmitrii Solunskii and the adjacent Church of Saint Sergii of Radonezh were first mentioned as built of logs in 1383, a date that has led some to suggest that they commemorate Ustiug's participation in the great battle of 1380 against Khan Mamai on Snipe Field (Kulikovo pole). This idea is further supported by the dedication to Saint Dmitrii, the patron saint of Prince Dmitrii Donskoi, the victor in that battle. The five-domed Church of Saint Dmitrii Solunskii was built in 1700-08. Its high interior was unheated and thus used only in the summer. (In winter, services were held in the Church of Saint Sergii of Radonezh.) The windows have ornamental surrounds in a 17th-century style, and the upper walls are decorated with two rows of curved gables (zakomary) beneath the straight cornice of the roof. The south facade has an arched porch. A small refectory links the church to its dominant element to the west: a bell tower with a “tent” roof. This church is one of the most elegantly beautiful in the Ustiug area.

Last updated: January 11, 2016