Church of John the Baptist in Roshchenie (1710-17), Northeast View, Vologda, Russia


This northeast view of the Church of the Decapitation of John the Baptist in Roshchen'e (a district in Vologda) 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. Before the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Russia depended on a northern route through the White Sea for trade with western Europe. One of the most important centers on this route was Vologda, founded in the 12th century. A rich center of medieval Russian culture, Vologda had numerous parish churches, including one dedicated to John the Baptist. The brick structure was begun in 1710 to replace a log church from the early 17th century. The main, unheated part of the structure, used in the summer, consists of a cube supporting an octagon, a form frequently found in log churches. Extending from the main structure is a low vestibule (trapeznaia) with a secondary altar (marked by a small cupola on the right) used for worship in the winter and dedicated to the Metropolitan Aleksii. At the west end of the church is the entrance and a simple bell tower. The remarkable feature of the church is its 17th-century frescoes, whose quality saved the church after its closure in 1924. In 2006 the church was reopened for worship.

Last updated: January 11, 2016