St. Cyril (Kirill)-Belozersk Monastery, Church of Archangel Gabriel (1531-34), with Bell Tower (1761), Southeast View, Kirillov, Russia


This southeast view of the Church of Archangel Gabriel and the bell tower at Saint Kirill Belozersk Monastery (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. 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 monk of noble birth from Moscow who was canonized in 1547. The monastery served as a religious center and as a fortress on Muscovy's northern flank. The monastic ensemble, dedicated to Saint Kirill, consists of two adjacent monasteries: the Dormition and John the Baptist. Pictured here are central structures in the Dormition Monastery, including the Church of Archangel Gabriel, built in 1531-34 with the support of Grand Prince Basil III and his second wife, Elena Glinskaia. (The church has a chapel dedicated to saints Constantine and Helen.) Much of the upper level was rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries, but the main structure of the original church survived, and shows the influence of Italian architects on Moscow Kremlin churches at the turn of the 16th century. The massive bell tower (on the left) was built in 1757-61. In the right background is the Cathedral of the Dormition, under restoration.

Last updated: January 11, 2016