Church of the Entry into Jerusalem (1774-94), Southwest View, Tot'ma, Russia


This southwest winter view of the Church of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem in Tot'ma (Vologda Oblast) was taken in 1997 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 Sukhona River, Tot’ma for centuries was part of an important trading network that led from the Russian heartland northward to the White Sea. This network, and its links to Saint Petersburg and Moscow, sustained the prosperity of such river towns. Tot’ma's range even extended to the New World via Alaska. The Church of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, for example, was erected in 1774-94 with funds provided by the brothers Grigorii and Pëtr Panov, merchants involved in the trade with "Russian America." The imposing height of this structure was dictated not only by aesthetic considerations, but also by its inclusion of two churches, of which the unheated, two-story upper church was used only in the summer. The pilasters that segment the facade, the elaborate scroll work between the window courses, and the detailing of the cornice and drums that support the five cupolas are implemented with an assured sense of proportion. The bell tower attached to the vestibule on the western side of the church echoes the vertical accent of the main structure.

Last updated: January 11, 2016