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


This southeast 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 a trading network that led from the Russian heartland northward to the White Sea. 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 upper, two-story church was used only in the summer. The apse, projecting from the east (on the right), is also on two levels, with an altar for each. The pilasters that segment the facade, the scroll ornament 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. The lower church is now used as a museum.

Last updated: January 11, 2016