St. Cyril (Kirill)-Belozersk Monastery, Church of the Transfiguration over the Water Gate (1595), Northeast View, Kirillov, Russia


This northeast view of the Church of the Transfiguration over the Water Gate at Saint Kirill Belozersk Monastery (Vologda Oblast) was taken in 1991 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Formally dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, the monastery was founded in 1397 on the north shore of Lake Siverskoe by Kirill (1337-1427), a Muscovite monk canonized in 1547. The monastery soon acquired significance as a major religious center with connections to the Muscovite court and as a fortress on Muscovy's expanding northern flank. Located over the Water Gate in the monastery’s south wall at the edge of Lake Siverskoe, the Church of the Transfiguration over the Water Gate was built of brick and completed in 1595. Its style resembles the Gate Church of Saint John Chrysostom (also 16th century) in the north wall. Elevated on vaulting that leads to the Water Gate, the well preserved church has a large tripartite apse (on the left) containing the primary altar. The upper structure has ornamental brick bands and pointed gables (kokoshniki). The structure culminates in decorated drums supporting three cupolas. The two lesser cupolas over the east bays mark secondary altars dedicated to saints Irene and Nicholas.

Last updated: January 11, 2016