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Sacred Places and Sacred Icons


For the bored Petrozavodsk inhabitant it is necessary to leave the city and to go to any monastery or on a holiday," - the correspondent of the provincial newspaper wrote in the beginning of XXth century. Such jouneys were always usual here. Whole artels flocked there with knapsacks, stopping continually by numerous chapels and crosses.

To Ilya the Prophet in Mashezero

The pilgrims from Petrozavodsk visited Solovets monastery most frequently. Wishing to visit a monastery "on a vow" officials or workmen submitted the application to their heads and then set out on their hard journey. The journey was simplified by opening of the constant steamship communication with Pvenets, and then by construction of overland road to Sumposad.

The citizens of Petrozavodsk especially aspired to Mashezero where was the monastery was in former times, and one of two wooden churches, devoted to Ilya the Prophet with especially respected Ilya's icon was the overall objective of pilgrims.

...Certificates of XVIIIth century tell about the stone named "Ukko" located near Mashezero, to which inhabitants of neighboring villages came behind to get cured. They cut off slices of the stone and carried away with them for treatment.

Probably, reverence of Mashezero stone related to pagan beliefs has imposed a special impress on the history of Mashezero monastery where one of the icons was made of stone and, on legends, the church behaved as a stone: "The church in it grows deeper and deeper into the ground from year to year. They assure, that the third window is already cut through in the church because previous two have disappeared in the ground..."

Perhaps, none of the cult monuments of the city in ÕVIIIth and in the beginning of XIXth century had such popularity among the townspeople as Iluinskaya church. Petrozavodsk merchants and petty bourgeoises regularly repaired churches, cared of not only their furniture, but also of the road to Mashezero: the native of Petrozavodsk and St.-Petersburg merchant Yankov was engaged in its settling. In the middle of XIXth century this road was reported to be the following: "all one sees on his way is a small narrow strip of the ground, the sky and two walls of century-old woods..."

On the road to Mashezero in 9 versts from Petrozavodsk there was one more memorable place - a chapel with the image of Prelate Feodosiy. The image was drawn at the request of archbishop Nazariy by local icon painter A.S.Mashezersky.

The sacred spring on Neglinka

One more natural object, a spring on the river Neglinka, named "icy cold well with curative water", became an occasion for construction of another cult building - the chapel of Nickolai the Wonderworker (Chudotvorets).

...In the beginning of 1780th water of the spring under the instruction of the builder of Aleksandrovsky factory Anikita Sergeyevich Yartsov was sent to Saint Petersburg for research. Capital physicians have not recognized it as a medical, but people continued to consider it the same.

In XIXth century the small chapel was constructed above the spring where there was an icon of Nickolai the patron of water and the guardian on water. Populous religious procession to this chapel located in two versts from the city on the coast of the cove was made on May 9.

"Though my rank is low, I possess the unvalued treasure..."

Among the citizens of Petrozavodsk (and outside the city) icons with the image of the Three Handed Mother of God (Troeruchitsa) were especially famos among other wonder-working icons. The icon of the Three Handed Mother of God was stored in the family of Daria Nikiforovna Doroyeva, the widow of the workmanof Alexandrovsky factory. The history of this icon by the beginning of XX century was concerned with numerous legends. In 1850 Daria Doroyeva wrote to Olonets and Petrozavodsk archbishop: "Though my rank is low, I possess the unvalued treasure of the icon of the Mother of God, commonly called Troeruchitsa." Daria Doroyeva have managed to convince the bishop of necessity of construction the new stone church for Petrozavodsk (at her expense) where she would want to offer the wonder-working icon. It was decided to construct the church on the spot of the abolished orthodox cemetery on Slobodskaya street.

The plan of the new church was ready by 1850, but construction was never held.

Under legends, Doroyeva has received the icon as a blessing from her father, the participant of war of 1812 who ostensibly "has taken it out of the burning Moscow and has returned safe to Petrozavodsk" (such version was told in 1912).

The image became the family relic, and many townspeople started to come to it. In 1819 the merchant I.N.Kostin has even built the new house for the widow on Shirokaya street (before that the family lived in a sordid house located in the part of the city called Golikovka).

In 1851 the widow has presented the icon to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. The icon was decorated with pearls, had the silver framework. By the beginning of XXth century the icon case for this icon was arranged on means of contributors (silver, 500 roubles in cash, and up to 600 towels).

The image of the Three Handed Mother of God was famous as a healing one.

Tikhvinskaya Mother of God

Among icons the image of the “Tikhvin” Mother of God was especially respected by the citizens of Petrozavodsk, it was kept in the cathedral, in special "star-shaped" icon case. The chapel with the image of Tikhvinskaya Mother of God in Petrozavodsk was one of the oldest cult monuments (probably, contemporary with St.Peter and Paul's cathedral). The families of the citizens of Petrozavodsk could have a few images of Tikhvinskaya Mother of God, It was presented to the churches of the city more often.

In honour of wonderful rescue of the emperor

In XIXth century the icons of Saint righteous prince Alexander Nevsky, the patron of the Russian autocrats, were endowed more often in churches and chapels of Petrozavodsk. Murderous assaults of the emperor Alexander II, anxiety for the life of the tsar and destiny of the state could not but amend the divine service rituals.

The prayer "For the tsar and fatherland, for the health and rescue of alive ones" sounded in a new way, updating of some icon-painting plots occured.

Icons which plots were based on wonderful rescue of the emperor Alexander II were ordered by the citizens of Petrozavodsk, including workmen.

In 1880th the petty bourgeois Korytov had donated funds to build the chapel in Golikovka in honour of wonderful rescue of the emperor.

In 1896 the adviser of Mining board F.I.Valegin has made pilgrimage in Mount Athos monastery where he has asked the prior to draw a copy of a famous icon Mother of God "Quick-to-Hear" (Skoroposlushnitsa). The icon, under the legend, stood for all orthodox christians, and prays of them were executed. In 1900 the copy was sent to Petrozavodsk, and Valegin has presented it to the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation in Petrozavodsk.

In 1909 the solemn secondary glorification of St.Anna Kashinskaya (her canonization was reconsidered), who become famous for liberation of the town of Kashin of Lithuanians in XVIIth century. F.M.Zhuravlev, the head of the choir of Petrozavodsk salesmen, by the end of 1909 has offered the icon of Anna Kashinskaya to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Petrozavodsk.

Unfortunately, none of the icons so much respected by the citizens of Petrozavodsk remained. Other times have come, other objects of worship have appeared, but we should retain these relics in our memory.

Ludmila KAPUSTA,
honoured worker of culture of the Republic of Karelia
Published in the newspaper Karelia N82 on August 8, 2002

Comments of the interpreter: The “Three Handed” Mother of God is a famous Mt.Athos icon, which story tells that in gratitude for his healing, John of Damascus had a commemorative silver hand affixed to the lower part of the image of the Mother of God. Later, painters, copying this image, often misunderstood the added hand and made it a third hand of the Mother of God.


Created November 16, 2000
Last Updated June 17, 2003
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