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


This interior 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 two-story upper church (seen here) was used only in the summer. During the Soviet era the church was converted to other uses and the interior was gutted, leaving only ghostly traces of 19th-century frescoes and the uppermost element of the 18th-century iconostasis beneath the central dome. Pre-revolutionary photographs show that the iconostasis, only fragments of which survived, was elaborately carved in the baroque manner and covered the now-bare east wall (in the lower part of this photograph).

Last updated: January 11, 2016