Skip to comments.The Lost Churches of Russia: Haunting Images of Abandoned Wooden Buildings in Remote Forests
Posted on 12/27/2012 7:37:29 AM PST by marshmallowEdited on 12/27/2012 8:12:52 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
Crumbling and abandoned, the last remnants of Russia's wooden churches lay dotted in the woodlands of the country's north-western corner.
Forgotten by many and in the process of being reclaimed by nature, the few remaining churches are exposed to the harsh elements without any hope of being salvaged.
But one photographer is determined to capture pictures of the forgotten structures - with sometimes haunting results.
Richard Davies spent nine years tracking down the lost churches, and produced a book with the stunning photographs.
Along with the photographs, there are first-hand accounts by Matilda Moreton of their project, and the insights and interpretations of writers and artists, travellers and historians, propagandists and politicians.
In his book Wooden Churches - Travelling in the Russian North, it says that the churches are the few remains of thousands that were built all over Russia from the time of Prince Vladimir, who, on his conversion to Christianity in 988 'ordained that wooden churches should be built and established where pagan idols had previously stood.'
The majority are clustered in the north-west corner, and bunched in certain areas like Leningrad, Vologda, Murmansk, and Archangel Regions and the Republic of Karelia.
Those wooden churches again — circa Vladimir.
Europe in general has become soooooooooo secular, if weren’t for the tourists, even the great cathedrals would become abandoned and fall into disrepair.
The recent photos are touching base with 100 year old photos. Preservation was hit and mostly miss.
Someday, all we will have left are the images as Russia de populates and de Christianizes.
Too bad Christian organizations couldn’t band together some resources and renovate these old churches.
Great pictures. I have heard stories about how the communists went to churches and stole everything of value. They then killed the priests and any parishioners who tried to stop them. It is amazing that these churches survive. It is also amazing how a strong Christianity survives in the former Soviet Union.
Thanks for posting. Those photos are beautiful. There is a revival so to speak happening in Russia today. They are Roman Catholic (obviously) and Putin seems to be allowing them all the freedoms they want in that respect. Nice to see, but bitter sweet as our religious freedoms are being stripped away.
I am a commercial general contractor and log home builder, and the log engineering and detail in these old structures is amazing. Cannot believe how tight the seams are between the logs after so many years. These all had to be built before the revolution which makes them late 1800’s, very early 1900’s.......while some of the higher structures are collapsing, most of the lower structures are amazingly solid and tight.
Wonder if the Russian log builders weren’t better at it than American ones....I’ve seen quite a few 100+ year old log structures here, and none were as tight as these........
Kinda sad tho....seeing their decay.
Thanks for this great post.
Beautiful, thank you
They are Russian Orthodox, not Roman Catholic.
Some them go back to the 17th Century. Of course, maintenance and upkeep would have stopped in the 1920’s or 30’s. They’re all in the Arctic, which accounts for some of their excellent state of preservation.
“am a commercial general contractor and log home builder, and the log engineering and detail in these old structures is amazing. Cannot believe how tight the seams are between the logs after so many years.”
My husband is a custom framer but works now and then building log homes. He tells me the trees they used to use were older and cured longer. Today the trees are younger and not cured as long...so the wood can “bend” as it’s not fully cured and the pitch or tar used in the old days for sealing was MUCH better than the cheap crap used today.
If you look at the captions it tells how old the structures are. Some as old as early 1600’s and I believe one was late 1500’s.
Ok, thx! Being of protestant background I get confused on the flavors of the Catholic church so to speak :>) Regardless...the Catholic churches are normally works of art.
How have so many of these avoided lightning strikes / wildfires?
I don't know, but Communism, at least in Russia, is on the ash heap.
That looks so incredibly cold. I need some coffee now.
I pray that Russians reclaim their heritage.
Looks like some of the churches have had efforts of preservation. Others look like they are being used.
I read MANY years ago that most of these churches were constructed by the village craftsmen using only one tool..a small axe.
It makes their construction even more amazing.
They remind me of the Adobe Missions Churches in New Mexico. Many of them are falling down and in need of restoration. Some are on Indian Reservations and the Natives are Catholic but do not have the resources to fix and restore the old 18th Century Buildings.
Interestingly he and his son, Prince Yaroslav (the wise) hired Byzantine craftsmen to build the beautiful church of St. Sophia (modeled after the Haigha Sofia in Istanbul)in Kiev.
It is a most gorgeous thing built of Byzantine brick and well worth a look if you ever get to Kiev.
"Cold? Madame, you have no idea ... !!"
Bonaparte didn’t go as far to the north, but on the other hand, the climate was colder in those days. Eeeeek!
More coffee ...