Phelonion Vestment from the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century, from a Very Old Fabric Called Kamka Silk Brocade with Shoulders Embroidered with Pearls on Crimson Velvet. In the Rostov Museum. Rostov Velikii


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the town of Rostov the Great, located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow, where he took many photographs of churches and church antiquities. This image shows  a richly decorated phelonion, an Orthodox priest’s vestment similar to a chasuble. The upper part is burgundy-colored velvet decorated with gold embroidery and stone insets. In the center is a crown figure with a cross. The lower part consists of patterned brocade with gold-embroidered velvet trim. The photograph of this phelonion was taken on the background of the west wall that supported a decorative metal fence at the Church of Saint Nicholas in Podozerye (1745). The museum of antiquities in the Rostov kremlin (also known as the White Chamber) also contained rich examples of phelonion, but the location of this view suggests that the example seen here was used by the priest of the Church of Saint Nicholas. At the beginning of the 20th century, Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Фелонь второй половины ХVIII в. из древней материи камки, с оплечьем, расшитым жемчугом по малиновому бархату. В Ростовском музее. Ростов Великий

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: October 24, 2017