Church of the Intercession (1764), Icon Screen, Kizhi Island, Russia


This interior view of the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God on Kizhi Island (Karelia) was taken in 1993 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Located within an archipelago in the southwestern part of Lake Onega, Kizhi Island is one of the most revered sites in the Russian north, with a pogost, or enclosed cemetery, containing two wooden churches, one dedicated to the Transfiguration (1714) and the other to the Intercession (1764). This photograph of the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God interior shows the icon screen, which encloses the altar in the east end of the church. Many of the original icons from this church are missing, but the Kizhi Museum of Wooden Architecture has brought in other icons from the Lake Onega region. In the center is the Royal Gate (Tsarskie vrata), leading to the altar. The first, or "Local," row (mestnyi chin) contains icons of special local significance and here includes an icon of the Intercession (on the right) to which the church is dedicated. Above is the Festival Row, a tier of small square icons devoted to church holy days. The third, Deesis, Row centers on Christ Enthroned, flanked by Mary and John the Baptist. The Prophets (fourth) Row has an icon of the Virgin of the Sign in the center.

Last updated: January 11, 2016