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January-2023: Excursions and Coffeehouses

In these 3 weeks I taught a lot, visited a museum, had numerous meetings with friends and colleagues, and did three excursions in my favourite part of Moscow.

I visited several temples, including a synagogue and a Lutheran cathedral, and discovered several new cafés and restaurants. I walked through GUM twice and had a meal and a coffee at BURO.TsUM.

And now I’m working on launching my community for studying languages and humanities. 2023 promises to become a tremendous year.

The Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in Barashy

The church of the Presentation of the Virgin in Barashy was built between 1688 and 1701. It can be accessed from Pokrovka St, close to the Kremlin.

The church of the Presentation of the Virgin in Barashy was built between 1688 and 1701. However, a church used to exist here as early as the 15th century. It belonged to Andronikov monastery until the tsar Ivan III granted it the lands beyond the Yauza River in exchange of this church. It can be accessed from Pokrovka St and is therefore located fairly close to Red Square and the Kremlin.

Barashy was a special area, a sloboda, where lived the tsar’s servants who accompanied him on his journeys and campaigns. They carried the so called “soft stuff”, or tents, which they put up and took down. The Russian word “barakhlo” is evidently related.

The church that we can presently see was built and decorated in the style of the Moscow Baroque. Its splendid architecture includes corniches, entablements and archivolts, columns and “kokoshniks”. The bell-tower was added during a restoration of 1741. Another round of restorative works took place between 1815 and 1837 when the church was slightly enlarged and a new iconostasis was consecrated.

The church’s two chapels are dedicated to Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion and St Elijah the Prophet. As a matter of fact, close to the church there was lyinskaya sloboda (the sloboda of Elijah) that belonged to Russian tsars.

The church of the Presentation of the Virgin in Barashy stands in the Bely Gorod, or the White City, a historical part of Moscow where resided the aristocracy and the tsar’s (later – the emperor’s) servants.

In the Soviet times the church was to be demolished, and so several icons were saved by the Tretyakov Gallery. Miraculously, it was not destroyed although it first housed a hostel for workers and then – an electric plant. The restoration works began in 1976, and the sermons resumed in 1993. Between 2015 and 2021 here resided the Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova.

Wikipedia: Russian, French.

The church’s official website.

More photos.

More posts in Moscow churches.

A Roman Bath Morning

Encircled by four-legged friends, it’s so tempting to stay in bed longer. But you still have to get up. Now, just about every visitor to this hall in the Louvre stops at this bath to admire it. I and a few tourists from Australia decided that we would happily accommodate this one at our houses. And so, the question: if indeed this bath were yours and you knew it was waiting for you, would it make you more eager to get up in the morning?

A Roman Hall at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Church of St. Nicholas in Pushkino near Moscow (1692-94)


The church of St. Nicholas is the oldest building in Pushkino (Moscow Region). Its construction was blessed by the Patriarch Adrian and started in 1692. Apparently, Pushkino had already existed in the XIVth c. and for a long time belonged to the Church. St. Nicholas’s ensemble consists of two chapels, a bell-tower and a five-dome church. I made the photo from the car, so you can see the bell-tower and all five domes. The church had been rebuilt and restored many times throughout its history; however, uzorochie window frames and the 1912 art nouveau flooring have survived intact. The Classicist bell-tower erected in XIX century culminates in the Yaroslavl-type tent. The graveyard preserves several old burial monuments, including those of the Armand and Kamzolkins families.


Attending a Service On the Russian Easter In Aldgate


It’s amazing what you can find in London! I stumbled upon a lovely church in Aldgate and went in for a “look”. I ended up attending a church service that coincided with the Russian Easter. A mere hour and a half before that I had attended an organ recital by Paul Dean at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was splendid.

At the church I was in for a few surprises. One, it was a Reformed Scottish church, and two, the service rested heavily on reading the Psalter and singing psalms. Last time I sang psalms was at the Advent service in Birmingham in 2008, where the text was projected on large screens. Here we each had a book of Psalms given before the sermon, and I had time to familiarise myself with the text of Psalm 122.
Along with several others, Psalm 122 constitutes the Book of Accents that pilgrims used to take with them, to read and sing during the pilgrimage. It is the story of joy of embracing Jerusalem and of dedication to praising it.
The preacher was one of a kind – slim, light ginger headed Scot, dressed in grey suit, accompanied with a tie with doggy print. I mean, on the tie dogs were printed. The manner was somewhat American, that coachy style of addressing the audience. I cannot say I disliked it, but my first question was if all Scottish Church preachers were like him. Apparently, he’s walking his own line in this.
Although I’m not religious as far as official church doctrines and rituals are concerned, I do like going into a church, either for a visit or even for a sermon. I must admit I prefer foreign churches for this, and as my experience here is by and large limited to Britain, British clergy and believers have always been very nice. They gladly break the ice and start a conversation. In a Russian church you sometimes feel like the building itself is making you a favour, not to mention people. As soon as the sermon finishes, the guards practically drive you out of the building. You will agree this is not the way to feel in what is supposed to be God’s home.
My childhood was marked by reading a book “The Bible for believers and non-believers”, written in late 1920s in the USSR and propagating the ideas, which gist you can easily imagine. In my youth I came across more books that questioned the Bible and various concepts relating to God. However, it was only in England that I began to reconsider certain ideas, and, as I said before, although I still remain outside a church or confession, I’m much more accommodating of an idea of the Higher Reason being involved in our lives. In doing so, I am more inclined to the Judaic concepts rather than Christian, insofar as the figure of God is concerned.  But as yet I don’t observe Saturday!
So, after the sermon I went for a walk around Islington, of which George Mikes wrote that all poor people migrated there and turned it into a fashionable district. I don’t know how “poor” Islington people are 50 years later, but the area is buzzing with building and development, so it certainly remains fashionable.
And near the church there was a fountain with some lovely inhabitants – see in the photo!




Yekaterinburg Academy of Architecture


Apparently, these two buildings that nowadays both belong to the Yekaterinburg Academy of Architecture (founded in 1972) have been a kind of smithy of the future Arts (Cinema, Music) figures. The Academy has a partnership with the University of Huddersfield in student exchange. As for the small wooden building, I invite you to take a good look at the decorated window frames. Yekaterinburgs and its environs are full of houses like this one, offering a great chance to study the timberwork and wooden decorations of the past centuries.

Moscow Churches: Life-Giving Trinity in Sretenka Street

A rather European church yard
Bell Tower (1788)

I had a long walk today in the centre of Moscow, and this time I will be sharing some of the impressions straight away. The first is a visit to the church of Life-Giving Trinity in Sretenka Street. The closest underground station is Sukharevskaya. The history of the church is quoted from the Russian Churches website, but the photos in the post are mine.

The iconostasis and a candelabra
The frescoes and icons

The church was built in 1651-61 (according to other sources – in 1657-71) in the Streletskaya sloboda (settlement of riflemen) on the monetary funds of V. Pushechnikov’s regiment (it was consecrated in 1661) along with the one-sided refectory having a side-chapel of the Protection of the Holy Mary (it was consecrated in 1680). The church was founded by riflemen (Streltsy) in commemoration of the Astrakhan crusade against S. Razin. Its predecessor was a wooden church known since 1635. The name “V listakh” originated from the printers who were living there in the 17th – 18th centuries and who made and sold popular cheap pictures – lists near the church.

The regiment distinguished itself in crusades, including the Chigirin crusade (1677—78), and it was honoured with tsar’s rich contribution into the church that became the memorial of military honour.

Entrance to the church
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In 1689 the cupola of the church cracked in fire and Peter the Great made a contribution to restore it, it was money for capture of the “rebel Fedka Shcheglovitov”. In 1699 the church was given a name Ruzhnaya for distinguished service of riflemen (Streltsy). In 1704 by the decree of Peter the Great the church was awarded a status of the Admiralty and parish church of the Sukharevskaya tower. It was renovated in 1878.

It is a cross-building, four-column, cubical church having five solid helmet-shaped lantern domes. The side portals are decorated with pattern brick.

The church was closed in 1931 as the priest was arrested. In the 1930-ies its dome was destroyed, in 1957 the bell tower was demolished. Since the 1980-ies it was under restoration.

Decor of the tower
Decor of the side door.

In 1990 the church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. It was consecrated in 1991. 

P.S. The decor of the side door may well remind the students of European architecture of the Romanesque cathedrals. 

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