December 23, 2011

Church of the Hodigitria Icon of the Virgin (1763), Southwest View, Kimzha, Russia

This southwest winter view of the Church of the Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God, in the village of Kimzha (Mezen'sky District, Arkhangel'sk Oblast), was taken in 2000 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. The village of Kimzha arose in the early 16th century, on the right bank of the Kimzha River, a tributary of the Mezen' River, which flows into the White Sea. In 1699, a lightning strike and an ensuing fire caused the destruction of the 17th-century Church of the Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God. Work then began on the present church. Due to the village's meager resources, the church was consecrated only in 1763. It is the sole surviving example of a type of church distinctive to the Pinega River area, with a high "tent" tower (shatër) and cupola closely flanked by four cupolas on barrel (bochka) gables. The apse (on the right) has a similar gable. In the 1870s the church's durable larch logs were covered with plank siding, painted white with blue and green trim. At that time a bell tower was erected over the west porch. (An earlier bell tower stood on the riverbank.) Soviet restoration practice frowned on 19th-century plank cladding, and in the 1980s part of it was removed. Lack of funds halted the process. Since 1993, various attempts have been made to restore this unique monument, but with limited results.

Church of the Hodigitria Icon of the Virgin (1763), South View, Kimzha, Russia

This south view of the Church of the Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God, in the village of Kimzha (Mezen'sky District, Arkhangel'sk Oblast), was taken in 2000 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. The village of Kimzha arose in the early 16th century, on the right bank of the Kimzha River, a tributary of the Mezen' River, which flows into the White Sea. In 1699, a lightning strike and an ensuing fire caused the destruction of the 17th-century Church of the Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God. Work then began on the present church. Due to the village's meager resources, the church was consecrated only in 1763. It is the sole surviving example of a type of church distinctive to the Pinega River area, with a high "tent" tower (shatër) and cupola closely flanked by four cupolas on barrel (bochka) gables. The apse (on the right) has a similar gable. In the 1870s the church's durable larch logs were covered with plank siding, painted white with blue and green trim. At that time a bell tower was erected over the west porch. (An earlier bell tower stood on the riverbank.) Soviet restoration practice frowned on 19th-century plank cladding, and in the 1980s part of it was removed. Lack of funds halted the process. Since 1993, various attempts have been made to restore this unique monument, but with limited results.

Log Church of the Epiphany (1787), Northeast View with Bell Tower, Oshevensk, Russia

This northeast view of the log Church of the Epiphany at Oshevenskoe (Kargopol' District, Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1999 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Oshevenskoe, located along the right bank of the Chur'iuga River, developed near the Dormition Monastery, which was founded by the monk Alexander Osheven in 1453. This large village consisted of three hamlets, each with its own name. The Church of the Epiphany presided over the hamlet of Pogost, also a term for the sacred territory of an ancient enclosed cemetery. The Church of the Epiphany, built in 1787 on the site of an earlier church, consists of a massive log octagon culminating in a "tent" tower (shatër) and cupola. Attached to the east side of the church is a large rectangular apse (here visible on the left) with two small cupolas to designate altars on the interior. A refectory (trapeznaia) extends from the west side. Standing separately to the northwest of the church is an octagonal bell tower, also with a "tent" roof. Both the tower and the church were covered with whitewashed plank siding in the 19th century. The church interior is remarkable for its iconostasis and painted ceiling. The Church of the Epiphany is now used for worship by the local parish.

Church of the Epiphany (1787), Interior, View East with Icon Screen, Oshevensk, Russia

This interior east view of the log Church of the Epiphany at Oshevenskoe (Kargopol' District, Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Oshevenskoe, located along the right bank of the Chur'iuga River, developed near the Dormition Monastery, which was founded by the monk Alexander Osheven in 1453. This large village consisted of three hamlets, each with its own name. The Church of the Epiphany, built in 1787, presided over the hamlet of Pogost, also a term for the sacred territory of an enclosed cemetery. The church interior is remarkable for its four-tiered iconostasis and painted ceiling, visible here. Many of the icons on the Local (first) Row, the Festival Row, and the Deesis Row are missing from the elaborate carved frame of the iconostasis, thus exposing the large pine logs of the central octagonal structure. The Prophets (fourth) Row has at its center an icon of the Mother of God of the Sign (Znamenie). The Royal Gate (in the center) has been partially restored. On the left side is the entrance to a second altar space. The Church of the Epiphany, now used for worship by the local parish, is one of the most impressive examples of the artistic culture of the Russian north.

Cathedral of St. Prokopii of Ustiug (1668, 1720), East View, Velikii Ustiug, Russia

This east view of the Cathedral of Saint Prokopii of Ustiug at Velikii Ustiug (Vologda Oblast) was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Ustiug played a critical role not only in northern trade, but also in the missionary activity of prelates such as the 14th-century Saint Stefan of Perm. This church is the second major component of the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin ensemble. Saint Prokopii was a 13th-century German merchant (possibly from Lübeck) who converted to Orthodoxy in Novgorod in the 1240s and eventually moved to remote Ustiug, where he undertook a 30-year period of self-abnegation as a iurodivyi (Fool in Christ). Accounts of miracles accumulated after his death in 1303, and in 1547 he was canonized (the earliest iurodivyi to be recognized by the church). A church in his memory was apparently built of wood in 1495. This brick structure dates from 1668, and was built with the support of Metropolitan Jonah of Rostov and a local merchant. Subsequent modifications, including the five baroque cupolas, were made in the 18th century. In 1867, a chapel dedicated to Blessed Tikhon, Bishop of Voronezh, was added to the south side (visible on the left). The exterior wall paintings date from the 19th century.

Church of the Epiphany (1787), Interior, View East with Nebo ("Sky," or Painted Ceiling), Oshevensk, Russia

This interior view of the log Church of the Epiphany at Oshevenskoe (Kargopol' District, Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Oshevenskoe extends along the right bank of the Chur'iuga River near the Dormition Monastery, founded by the monk Alexander Osheven in 1453. The interior of the Church of the Epiphany, built in 1787, has a remarkable four-tiered iconostasis and painted ceiling. This view includes the fourth tier--the Prophets Row--with an icon of the Mother of God of the Sign (Znamenie) in the center. The painted ceiling, known as a nebo (sky), here consists of 16 ribs attached to the octagonal walls and extending at a slight upward incline toward a central ring, which frames an image of Christ Pantokrator (Ruler of All). The 16 panels are laid upon the ribs; no nails are used. The main panel of the ceiling is the Crucifixion, placed above the center of the iconostasis. To the left of the Cross in this view are Mary the Mother of God, Mary Magdelene, and Archangel Michael. To the right are Saint John the Divine, Longinus the Centurion, and Archangel Gabriel. This interior is among the most impressive examples of the artistic culture of the Russian north.