Iconic wooden church of Russian north to reopen after 30 years and large-scale restoration

Kizhi Island, Karelia, Russia, March 18, 2020

Photo: foma.ru Photo: foma.ru     

The large-scale restoration of one of the most iconic of the famed wooden churches of the Russian north has completed and the church is slated to open for the first time in 30 years this summer.

Holy Transfiguration Church on Kizhi Island in the Republic of Karelia, part of the Kizhi State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture, and Ethnography, is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The church is currently scheduled to reopen on June 1, and museum representatives hope the church will be consecrated on its feast, August 19, by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, reports TASS.

“We have already completed the restoration… We are preparing to open it this summer. We hope the church will receive its first visitors starting June 1, 2020. The official opening is scheduled for June 1. An iconostasis has already been installed in the church—the largest of its kind in the world and very beautiful; 105 icons,” said the Deputy Director of the museum Olga Zharinova.

The interior work is presently being finished, Zharinova noted.

The museum is also hoping that Pat. Kirill and President Vladimir Putin will visit for the consecration on August 19.

“We hope that the Patriarch will hold the service on August 19. Negotiations are underway, and the Patriarch has already given his preliminary consent. The church has been closed for more than 30 years and now we’re opening it again. We’re preparing and we’re very excited,” Zharinova explained.

The gradual restoration of the church began in 2009, for which $6.5 million (508 million rubles) were allocated. An important stage in the work was the restoration of the 16 of the 22 wooden domes that adorn the iconic church.

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