Church of Elijah the Prophet (1698), Southeast View, with Wooden Houses on Zasodimskii Street, Vologda, Russia


This southeast view of the Church of Elijah the Prophet in Kamen'e (a district of 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. 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 has numerous churches still standing, in various states of preservation. The Church of Elijah the Prophet was built in 1698 as part of a small monastery of the same name. After the monastery’s disbanding in 1738, the church served the needs of the parish. Its form is a simple cuboid structure with an apse on the eastern side, a decorative band at the top of the walls, a four-sloped roof, and a single onion dome. This late-afternoon winter view, with wooden houses on either side of the lane (present-day Zasodimskaia Street), conveys a sense of the relation between these whitewashed brick churches and the milieu of traditional dwellings that surrounded them. Closed in 1930, the Church of Elijah the Prophet was eventually converted for use by an icon restoration workshop located in the nearby Church of Saint Varlaam Khutinskii.

Last updated: January 11, 2016