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Church of the Intercession on the Nerl River (Suzdal)

Town of Bogolubovo, Suzdal Region, Vladimir Oblast.

Amid a water-meadow where the Nerl River disembogues to the Klyazma, the white stone church of the Intercession of 1165 shines, one of most lyrical creations by Old Russian architects. The sweep of meadows is full of rest, and poetry is around. Free-and-easy air, high sky, magnificent grass surround the delicate silhouette of the ancient church which is located on a small hill, on the shore of the backwater. Its white clothes amid tree crowns beckon. Elegance of forms, grace of the silhouette, and carving decor overcome the stone burden. The terrain — a column-type boarder, woman's masks, story groups — form a united system, decorative and philosophical. The centre is taken by the biblical king, David, whose character is associated with the Intercession of the Holy Virgin in theology.

At the time of Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky who built the church, an event of the Byzantine history of the 10th century became popular in Russia of Vladimir. This event was the Epiphany of the Mother of God in the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae in Constantinople to the Saints Andrew the Fool of Christ (or Andrew of Constantinople) and Epiphanius when the Greek Saracens were attacked on the 1st of October — the Miracle of Blachernae. In the same year, the celebration of Holy Mandylion and Ever-Virgin Mary was declared in Vladimir (1 August). In Byzantine, it was the celebration of the Holy Cross. The white stone cross with the rupestrian "Praise to the Cross", standing on the way to the Church of the Intercession in the 12th century, is kept now in the Bogolubsky Cathedral. All these celebrations — the Miracle of Blachernae, Mandylion and Virgin Mary, the Holy Cross — are united with the idea of the divine protection that eventually has become known as the celebration of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin.

"Life of Prince Andrew Bogolubsky" connects the construction of the church with another event — the death of Prince Izyaslav Andreevich after his crusade to Volga Bolgaria in 1164.

The Church of the Intercession worthily crowns the short but very fruitful town-planning period of Andrew Bogolubsky. Perfect beauty, mysterious depth of landscape, memorial, and church and historical idea — so much is combined in this small house of God standing alone for over eight hundred years. The appearance of the temple, perfect and complete now, was different originally. The church was surrounded with a gallery, and the hill was fronted with white stone. This kinglike stepped church continued the Bogolubsky Castle and the capital Vladimir. And the quay on the active river way gave power to the Prince. Now, after the centuries, nothing resembles the political nine-day wonder; however, perfect beauty alleviates and speaks to the heart.

Today, the Church of the Intercession refers to the Bogolubsky Monastery as before and is used by the museum reserve and the church jointly. It is listed as a world heritage site by the UNESCO.

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Church of the Intercession on the Nerl River



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