Karelia under the Midnight Sun

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Staraya Ladoga, St George in the Kreml


Photo Panoramio

The Fortress and the Church of St. George 1167

Photo Panoramio

The Church of St. George 1167

According to the Hypatian Codex, the legendary Varangian leader Rurik arrived in Ladoga in 862 and made it his capital. Rurik's successors later moved to Novgorod and then to Kiev, thus laying foundations for the powerful state of Kievan Rus. There are several huge kurgans, or royal funerary barrows, at the outskirts of Ladoga. One of them is said to be Rurik's grave. Archaeological evidence suggests that Ladoga gradually evolved into a primarily Varangian settlement. The Novgorodians built a citadel there with five towers and several churches. The fortress was rebuilt at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, while the mid-12th-century churches of St. George and of Mary's Assumption stand in all their original glory.

Photo Wikipedia

St. George and the dragon. Fresco 1167.
Inside St. George's, some magnificent 12th-century frescoes are still visible.

Ferapontov Monastery

1398 – 1490

Photo Panoramio

High Summer at the Ferapontov Monastery

The monastery was founded by St. Ferapont in 1398 in the inhospitable Russian North, east of the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery. The fame of the monastery started to spread under Saint Martinian, who was to become a father superior of the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra in 1447.

Photo Wikipedia

St Nicholas, the patron saint of Russian merchants, fresco by Dionysius 1490
The newly restored frescoes in the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin (1490) are the only surviving frescoes by Dionysius.

See also the Dionysius Website

Link to the
The Dionysius Deesis in the Iconostasis of the Nativity Cathedral

The iconostasis of the Nativity Cathedral is one of few surviving master pieces of Dionysius. Because of its size it has a seperate page on my website.

Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery

1397 - 18th cent

Photo Panoramio

The Monastery on the shores of Lake Siverskoye is dedicated to the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. The whole medieval town stretches out on the shore of the magnificent Siverskoye Lake. On the territory of 12 hectares there are 11 stone churches of the 15th-18th centuries, numerous service structures surrounded with walls and towers of “The Great Fortress of the Tsar”.

The monastery was founded in 1397 by St. Kirill of Beloozero, following the advice of his teacher, St. Sergius of Radonezh. In the 16th century, the monastery was the second richest landowner in Russia, after its model, the Trinity Monastery near Moscow.

Photo RWFG 1977

Nativity of the Virgin, Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery, 15th cent, now Russ. Museum, St Petersburg

Icon and icon case "St Kirill Belozersky" 1614. Nikita Ermolov, Russ. Museum St Petersburg

Our Lady of the Burning Bush. second half of the 16th century, Russ. Museum St Petersburg

Text and photos from the Official Website of the Monastery

Vologda Kreml

1570 - 1659

Photo Panoramio

Sofia Cathedral in the Vologda Kreml

Consecrated in 1570 and named after Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod, was one of the largest cathedrals built in Russia up to that time. It had been ordered by Ivan the Terrible to be rebuilt in stone in the 15th century. Its superb frescoes were painted in 1686–1688 by Dmitry Plekhanov from Yaroslavl. A lofty octagonal belltower was added in 1654–1659 and built up in the nineteenth century. A local museum occupies the neighbouring Treasury chambers (1659).

Photo RWFG 1977

Christ in Glory with Prophet Daniel, King David, and Solomon, from the deesis of the Vologda Sophia Cathedral, 1497, now in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Photo RWFG 1977 - for reference see icon-art.com

John Baptist the Forerunner (40 × 33 cm, Vologda, early 15th cent). - I saw and photographed this small icon once at the Rubelyov Museum in the Andronikov Monastery in Mocow - and never again. Now I found it on the Icon-Art website. It is kept at the Tretyakov Gallery. Possibly by Rublyov or his workshop.

Kizhi Transfiguration Cathedral in Lake Onega

1714 - 1764

The wooden Church of the Transfiguration on Kizhi Island in Lake Onega, Karelia (1714). The smaller, ten-domed Intercession Church (also known as the "winter church") was built in 1764. The entire island of Kizhi is a museum of wooden architecture (see the many Panoramio photos).

Iconostasis of the Transfiguration Cathedral. At this time the iconostasis is in Petrozavodsk until restoration of the Transfiguration Church is completed (scheduled completion is 2014, the 300th anniversary of the church)

Photos Kizhi Island Museum

Solovetsky Monastery

1429 - 1566

Photo posterous.com

The Monastery on its island in the White Sea in a mid-summer night

Solovetsky Monastery was founded in 1429 by monks German (Herman) and Savvatiy (Sabbatius) of Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery. It was the greatest citadel of Christianity in the Russian North before being turned into a special Soviet prison and labor camp (1926–1939), which served as a prototype for the GULAG system. Situated on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea, the monastery braved many changes of fortune and military sieges. Its most important structures date from the 16th century.

Photo flickr

Iconostasis, Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour, Solovetsky Monastery, 1558-1566