3 Striking Village Churches Being Restored NW of Moscow Where Orthodox Immigrants from US, EU Are Settling

Originally appeared at: Global Orthodox

The project "Revival of Rural Pearls" aimed at preserving cultural heritage objects was completed in three old villages of the Yaroslavl region. It was implemented by the White Iris Charitable Foundation with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund.

The social project is a continuation of the initiative of the same name in 2019, when the Foundation and its supporters carried out a significant amount of volunteer and conservation work. This time, one of the main results was the appearance of the restoration project of the Kazan Cathedral in the village of Kurba, developed by a team of professionals under the leadership of Alexander Rybnikov, an engineer and architect of the highest qualification, honored worker of culture of the Russian Federation.

- The Kazan Cathedral, built in 1770 in the Baroque style, is a legendary monument of Russian architecture," says Professor Tatiana Yurieva, Doctor of Cultural Sciences. - The centrally-planned 16-leaf church is the only building of its kind in the world. The wall paintings are also unique: frescoes, perfectly executed by Yaroslavl masters, decorate the church walls from floor to ceiling and contain over 350 biblical subjects. This masterpiece must be saved, and as soon as possible.

In the early 30s of the last century, a tractor workshop was placed in the church. It is not surprising, that up to us the relic has reached in an acutely precarious condition.

- Restoration of the Kazan Cathedral we started with registration of the building in the federal ownership and development of the project of conservation works, - recalls the director of "White Iris" Olga Shitova. - In 2020, we were able to carry out these works, thanks to which the temple was protected from the effects of destructive weather phenomena. Fortunately, the restoration project is now ready - if funds are available, it can begin next year. We believe that the temple complex in Kurba, which also includes a graceful bell tower and the Church of Resurrection, will regain its former glory, become a spiritual support for the local residents and a starting point for the development of Kurba settlement.

In the past, Kurba was a colorful fiefdom of Princes Kurbsky. Andrey Kurbsky conducted correspondence with Ivan the Terrible from here, Fedor Kurbsky a century before Yermak made a campaign to Siberia, Lev Kurbsky participated with his squad in the Battle of Kulikovo. Villagers make their own furniture, embroidery, knitting, weaving doormats, there is a singing choir "Kurbovichanka", and recently revived weaving vines. In "White Iris" we are glad that there are many residents in Kurba who care about the church revival and help the Foundation in the restoration of the sanctuary.

Not far from Kurba is Degtevo, whose landmark is the Korsun Church. It is an empire style building with love for God and people, built by our ancestors in 1819. It has reached us in a ruined state. The cylindrical rotunda was covered with a dome, which ended with a drum with a cupola, later the dome was lost, and the roof over the refectory was destroyed. Nevertheless, locations with partially preserved ancient paintings look picturesque: not so long ago here filmed the military series "Night Swallows," where the main role played by film star Tatiana Arntgolts.

Three years ago, volunteers, together with White Iris, cut down trees in the refectory and removed the remains of the collapsed vault. As part of a new social initiative, the Foundation developed a project for conservation and repair work and carried out the work. The central part of the church and the refectory were covered with a temporary roof and the windows were nailed shut. The church seems to have been given new clothes, becoming inaccessible to the ravages of snow and rain. Interestingly, during the preservation work, students worked under the mentorship of professionals, while local residents and visitors volunteered to participate in subbotniks.

In the future Kurba and Degtevo, located in Yaroslavl district, may become part of the unified tourist and pilgrimage route. Degtevo, where they produced tar and coal, has an interesting historical background. Korsunskaya church, for example, is part of the estate, which appeared in the early 17th century and is associated with the name of Prince Shaydok. The manor house, where the impressive signs of the past have miraculously survived: moldings, paintings on the ceiling, tracery remnants of tiled stoves.

One of the owners of the house was Nikolai Filimonov, a playwright who knew Pushkin and was a friend of Nekrasov. His plays were successful on the stages of Moscow and St. Petersburg. After Filimonov went bankrupt, the estate passed into the hands of landlord Kalachev. The building once housed a boarding school, but later fell into disrepair. An initiative group of local residents is working to ensure that the manor house, where chaos now reigns, will finally find a thrifty owner.

The landmark of the Novy Nekrasovsky district, the third village in which the social project was implemented, is the Trinity Church. This is one of the most original rural churches of the Yaroslavl region. It was built in 1776. Interestingly, worship services here continued even in times of persecution for the faith. And the church is also famous for its luxurious baroque iconostasis and examples of monumental painting.

The project to restore the Holy Gates of the Trinity Church, a remarkable example of early classicism, was developed as part of a grant.

- The site is dilapidated and partially lacks plaster. At the same time, the general appearance, the wrought iron gates and wickets have been fully preserved. The task of restorers is to try to bring the gates to their original appearance with preservation of identity, - commented the director of Yaroslavl art workshop "Restorer" Denis Poleshchuk.

"White Iris" made documentary films about the villages and the sanctuaries being revived. For example, a warm and heartwarming film "And Kurba will live!"

is dedicated to local old-timers. The Foundation believes that their memories are valuable for today's youth.

"White Iris" held a press tour, which was attended by 25 Moscow journalists and bloggers. Thanks to the stories and articles, several million people learned about the state of rural monuments.

- I am glad that villages are beginning to form their own volunteer teams to take care of cultural heritage monuments, - comments Olga Shitova. - Preservation of sites of cultural heritage motivates people to take an active part in restoration of rural pearls, generates interest to the history of Russia and its architectural heritage

Source: pravoslavie.ru (Russian)

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