Icons and Churches of Russia

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Moscow, Novodeviche Smolensk Cathedral

This picture-album is about the splendor of Russia's icons and churches. Their golden cupolas and towers surrounded by high fortifications dot the landscape like fairy castles from another world. I am fortunate to have spent many months between 1969 and 1989 as physicist in Moscow. This collection of photos is a tribute to the friends who spared no effort to drive me to the towns in its vicinity. This was during Soviet rule, and I was not able to visit places further afield. I, therfore, augment my own photos with new pictures from the internet to show the full Beauty of the Old Rus'. The “Old Rus' “ came to an end at the time of Peter the Great.

Zagorsk, Pilgrims, 1977

Even in 1977 crowds of pilgrims congrated every weekend in Zagorsk, as the Sergiev Posad was called then. They came on foot, by train, and in buses often from great distances to sing and pray at the holy shrines. An unforgettable experience even for my Russian colleagues.

The iconostasis of the Smolensk Cathedral in Novodeviche, Moscow.
Photos RWFG 1977-1980

The objects of veneration in the churches are the icons that decorate the wall separating the Holy of the Holiest from the ordinary world, the iconostasis. In most Russian churches, like this one the iconostases are encrusted with precious gold and silver bemas, repoussé shrouds applied during Baroque times. The "local" icon of this church, the Smolensk Mother of God, is seen on the right side of the Golden Door.

Both the icons and the churches are mirrors of the mysterious Russian soul, a subject which is described
in a the Introduction

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