Savior-Prilutskii Monastery, Gate Church of Theodore Stratilates (Renamed the Ascension in 1815) (1590), South View, with Bell Tower (1729-30), Vologda, Russia


This south view of the Gate Church of the Ascension at the Savior-Prilutskii Monastery on the outskirts of Vologda was taken in 1996 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 main points on this route was Vologda, founded in the 12th century. In 1371 a monastic community was established at a bend (pri luki) in the Vologda River. Its founder, the monk Dmitrii (Prilutskii), had the support of Muscovy's grand prince, Dmitrii Ivanovich (Donskoi), who saw the monastery as one of the bulwarks of Orthodox Moscow in the strategic Vologda area. Originally built of logs, the monastery gained a number of masonry buildings in the 16th century, including the Gate Church of Saint Theodore Stratilates, built in 1590 and rededicated to the Ascension in 1815. Gate churches were an important part of Russian monastic architecture, signifying both protection and passage into sacred territory. The two arched passageways are surmounted by a structure whose walls culminate in rounded gables (zakomary) and a cupola. The bell tower was added in 1729-30.

Last updated: January 11, 2016