Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wooden Beauty – Churches of the Russian North

Every now and then you come across something that enlivens the mind’s eye, and the photographs that follow certainly do that for me.

Inspired by the work of an artist from a previous century, photographer Richard Davies, along with Matilda Moreton, have traveled the provinces of Northern Russia capturing on “film” the beauty of Russian churches of old. Their work not only documents the architecture of these wondrous buildings, it also tells the tale of the people who remain, and the tale of those who previously worshipped there.

Like the previous Russian commoners that suffered under the heavy hand of Communism, many of these churches have little that remains, ravaged by time, abandonment, and the unforgiving Russian winter, yet some of them are being restored. Like a remnant of the Israelites returning from the diaspora, decrepit wooden church buildings are returning from the brink.

The onion domes, three-barred crosses, and icons bear witness to the uniqueness of the Russian Orthodox Church, and for those who understand their meaning, they bear witness to the proclamation of an eternal Gospel.

Later this year Richard Davies and Matilda Moreton will be publishing a book titled Wooden Churches – Travelling in the Russian North, where they’ll be sharing what they’ve seen. In the mean time, enjoy these photographs, used with the permission of Richard Davies. You can view more of Mr. Davies work at his website Wooden Churches: Travelling in the Russian North 100 years after Bilibin. His photos have been exhibited in Russia, England, and Finland.

Church of St Alexander Svirsky, Kosmozero

Church of the Resurrection, Rakuly

Church of the Assumption, Kondopoga

Church of the Virgin Hodigitria, Kimzha

St Blaise's Church of the Intercession, Liadiny

Church of the Transfiguration, Turchasovo

Church of the Prophet Elijah, Polya

Church of God's Purification, Shelokhovskaya


Fallhiker said...

if you want to see a really beautiful wooden church check out the Stave Church in Oslo, Norway.


Timothy C. Schenks said...

This reminds me of a website I saw somewhere a few years go filled with pictures of abandoned and crumbling Lutheran churches in East Prussia (now part of Russia).