Venerable Sergei Radonezhskii's Cross with Which He Blessed the Venerable Irinarkh at the Founding of the Monastery. Borisoglebsk


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed widely in Yaroslavl province, including at the Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb at Borisoglebskii. Founded in 1363 with the blessing of Saint Sergius of Radonezh (1314–92), the avatar of Muscovite monasticism, the monastery was favored by Muscovy’s rulers, including tsars Ivan III (the Great) (1440–1505), Vasilii III (1479–1533) and Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530–84). It is also associated with the memory of Saint Irinarkh of Rostov (1547–1616), a legendary ascetic who incarcerated himself in a cell within the monastery’s east wall and tirelessly supported the Russian struggle against foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century. Seen here from the monstery collection is the intricately decorated crucifix said to have been given by Saint Sergius to the monastery’s founders, the monks Feodor (died 1409) and Pavel. At the top is a medallion with the face of the Savior. The arms of the cross display images of the Mother of God (left) and John the Baptist. 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

Крест Пр. Сергия Радонежскаго, которым он благословил Пр. Иринарха на основание монастыря. Борисоглебск

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