Church of Saint John the Theologian, on the Ishna, Three Versts from Rostov. Rostov Velikii


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the Yaroslavl province, including the ancient city of Rostov the Great. One of Rostov’s distinctive monuments is the wooden Church of Saint John the Divine, located beyond the town in the village of Bogoslov on the small Ishnia River. Built of logs in 1687–89, the church was founded by Gerasim, archimandrite (abbot) of the Saint Avraamii-Epiphany Monastery, to commemorate a vision of Saint John that appeared to Saint Avraamii at the site. The tall main structure, covered with plank siding and painted dark red, culminates in two octagonal tiers and a cupola. This southwest view shows the attached refectory with a covered staircase descending to the entrance structure, which supports the bell tower. On the east is a similar extension, or apse, containing the altar. Each extension has a curved roof, clad with “fishscale” shingles. Because of difficulties in maintaining the shingles, the upper part was protected with a plank roof. 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

Церковь Иоанна Богослова на Ишне в 3 верстах от Ростова. 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