Burnt to a cinder

On 10th August 2018, a wooden church at Kondopoga in Northern Russia was burnt down in what appears to have been an act of madness by a teenager. The church sat on a low promontory on the shores of Lake Onega. It was built entirely of wood and without nails. Its wonderful proportions, a tall elegant spire are now reduced to a pile of ashes. The Russians of Karelia know how to build in wood, so hopefully a church will be built to replace it. The inside of the church was blessed with the most wonderful painted dome, which my composite image tries to convey. I was prompted by the tragedy of the fire to write, by email, to the Russian Consul General here in Edinburgh to offer my commiserations. His deputy was kind enough to write back 5 minutes later. Hopefully a fund will be created to rebuild this lovely church which dated to 1774, when it was built in memory of the victims of an uprising, brutally suppressed by the Czar. There has been a sad history of those seeking fame by committing such appalling acts, as my friend Warwick Ball pointed out, when I wrote to tell him the sad news. Herostratus burnt down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus so that his name would become well known: 'Herostratic fame'. The Temple of Artemis had been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, by among other people the historian Herodotus (484 – ca. 425 BC) and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene (ca. 305–240 BC). This church of the Dormition has rightly been called 'the most beautiful wooden church of Northern Russia". Its survival through the Soviet period was all the more remarkable.


Kondopoga ceiling smaller image.jpg