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|
|Church of the Transfiguration, Turchasovo|
|Church of the Prophet Elijah, Polya|
|Church of God's Purification, Shelokhovskaya|