The Volotovo Church was built in 1352 by Moisey, the archbishop of Novgorod. The church survived the Time of Troubles, when many Novgorod churches were destroyed or damaged by the Swedes. During the World War II, the church was basically at the front line between the Soviet and the German armies for three years and was destroyed. In 1955, Leonid Krasnorechyev performed conservation of the monument. The church was standing as a ruin but was not decaying further. The frescoes were destroyed as well, but the debris were still on the site, and the restorators started work on recovering fresco fragments from the debris. In 2003, the building was reconstructed, The author of the reconstruction project was Ninel Kuzmina.

The chronicles mention that in 1363 a part of the church was painted, but presumably the frescoes in rest of the interior were created later, around 1380. The whole interior of the church was covered by frescoes, which was common for that time, but almost all fully painted churches were eventually destroyed or lost the original frescoes, and so far the only intact church with the fully painted interior is preserved in the Ferapontov Monastery. The Volotovo frescoes were extensively studied, and black and white photographs of every detail, as well as coloured copies, survived and considerably simplified the restoration. In 1977, the frescoes became the subject of a book of Mikhail Alpatov.

The name of the painter is not known. For a long time, the frescoes were ascribed to Theophanes the Greek, however, it was decided later that the 1380 frescoes did not belong to Theophanes and were essentially more dynamic that all the works of Theophanes. At the time of creation, this was a novel style in Russian art.

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Founded: 1352
Category: Religious sites in Russia

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4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Андрей Крысин (4 months ago)
The church is ancient (XIV century) and pretty
Наталья Гудкова (2 years ago)
It works like a museum. In winter, according to the shortened schedule, until 14.00. Adult ticket 100 rubles, children free. Undoubtedly a beautiful unique old church. But still, if you have little time to visit all the churches of Novgorod, you can safely skip it, you will not lose much. Firstly, it is located far from the center and there are no other facilities nearby. Secondly, the church is small, it takes about 15 minutes to inspect. Thirdly, there are no particularly beautiful species, because the modern cemetery, overgrown with trees, is very densely retreating.
Евгений Сорокин (2 years ago)
The Church of the Assumption on the Volotov Field was built in 1352 by Archbishop of Novgorod Moses. According to the annals of "that summer, put Vladyka Moisi’s church to the Kamyan in the name of the Holy Virgin Assumption on Volotov." In the same record nine years later, there is an indication that the church was part of a monastery. The church was painted with frescoes eleven years after its construction in 1362. The frescoes were considered unique and were characteristic of the Novgorod school, combined the simplicity of lines and colors with expressiveness. By the way, according to several chronicles, the legendary elder or prince Gostomysl, whose name is associated with the vocation of Rurik, was buried somewhere in this area. The church is small in size, almost square in plan, cross-domed, four-pillar, single-aisle, single-domed, with a three-bladed pan-zakomarny completion. Two columns are rectangular (at the altar), and the other two are rounded from the bottom to the height of human growth, and then also rectangular. Initially, it seemed that the church, like other Novgorod churches, was not plastered and whitewashed, and the red brick masonry was opened. In its current form, the church has two narthexes. The western wall has wooden choirs, but visitors are forbidden to enter there. During the time of troubles during the period of the Swedish occupation of 1611-1617, the temple was looted, but not damaged. In 1839, the church was significantly rebuilt, the shape of the roof was changed to a four-pitched roof, an apse was added to one of the side chapels. In the middle of the 19th century, a two-tier four-span belfry was attached to the western porch. All these changes are visible in photographs of the late 19th century. But the main room with fresco painting has been preserved in its almost original form. The monastery was called in different versions Volotovsky Assumption, the Assumption on the Volotovsky field, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Monastery on the Volotov Field. The monastery was abolished during the monastery reform of 1764, and the church became a parish. The church remains the only surviving building. The temple was painted with frescoes on the arches and walls starting from the dome on an area of ​​almost 300 m2. Before the war, it was one of the best artistic examples of ancient painting. Its uniqueness also consisted in the fact that the frescoes had almost no flaws, never whitewashed, were not recorded and were not painted over. During the Second World War, the church was on the front line for more than two years and was almost completely destroyed, there were ruins two to four meters high. The frescoes either died or crumbled into many fragments. Only about 40 m2 of murals remained on site, mainly at the bottom of the church. After the war, the remains of the church were mothballed. In 1992, the church was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (it is interesting that they generally had in mind when no church had already existed for fifty years, only piles of stones). Only in 1993, that is, after the Soviet system ceased to exist, work began with the remaining fragments of fresco painting. The church was restored in 2001-2003 (that is, more than fifty years after the destruction - they were not in a hurry). Inside, it is clear that everything above one or two meters is a remake. The church was recreated mainly in its original form, with a three-lobed clerical completion and two narthexes, without a later chapel with an apse and a bell tower (they were dismantled before the war in the late 30s). But at the same time, the church was restored plastered and whitewashed, so that you can get confused about what is original and what is not. Now work is underway to restore the frescoes and in 2008-2010 several collected fragments of frescoes were returned to their former places. This is currently an inactive church. There is a museum there, but in general there is nothing special to watch, since there are very few restored frescoes and they are all fragmentary, damaged and have lost their brightness. It is unclear what is depicted on them (although experts are aware of what biblical subjects are depicted there). And besides the frescoes there is nothing at all, only the very premises of the church.
Vlada Cepich (2 years ago)
Very beautiful! We are delighted.
Елена Великолепова (2 years ago)
It looks beautiful on all sides but restoration is necessary.
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