The Watch

Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign

Podol’sk, Russia

2010 World Monuments Watch

Perched high on a hill at the confluence of the Pahra and Desna rivers, the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign surveys the surrounding topography of Podol’sk, a Russian industrial city just south of Moscow. Cast against an often bleak winter terrain, the church and its octagonal tower emerge from the landscape as would a lighthouse at sea, capped by a blazing, golden crown. Completed in 1704 by order of Boris Alexeevich Golitsyn and supported by then Russian Czar Peter I, the church’s unique architecture and design place it among the most significant of its period in Russia. Religious figures peer from atop the richly hewn stone façades, among the first demonstrations of religious sculpture in a country and culture that had long believed statuary to be idolatrous. Inside, rich blues accent interior walls saturated by religious paintings, iconic reliefs, and gilded wooden carving. Religious repression under the Soviet Russian resulted in the closing of the church regime in the 1930s, and it fell into heavy disrepair in the last 80 years. When it was finally returned to the local community in the early 1990s, extensive ground and atmospheric water damage had already exacted a heavy toll.

Since the Watch

Since Watch listing, the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign received a 2010 award from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation for restoration efforts. August 2010

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