Search This Blog

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cathedral Saint Demetrius, Vladimir, Russia

This is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is truly spectacular to see.  Sadly I have not managed to capture much of that with my photos, but let me tell you more about the church.
The hardest thing about looking at it is that it is white on white, and very tall.  A telephoto lens on a camera or some very good binoculars would be useful, because it has a fascinating carved surface that should definitely be savored rather than looked at from on far.

cathedral's carvingsWhy was the church built in the first place?   None of the chronicles mention exactly when this royal church was built. However, there are many reports that in 1197 the icon of St. Demetrius of Salonica was brought here from Byzantium, so it is assumed that it was around this date that the cathedral was constructed.
The next mystery involves the cathedral itself. Numerous relief images of lions, centaurs, snow leopards and exotic ornaments--over a thousand--are carved on the white-stone walls. The sculptural decor also incorporates subjects from the Bible as well as Classical mythology. In the central parts of the facades the image of King David is repeated. In medieval times he was associated with the celebration of beauty and harmony in the world. Though all these carved images may seem to be only mere decorations, they are also meant to inspire.  At the time, the influence of myths must have held equal sway with the people, because Hercules, and other traditional Greek mythological tales are also displayed intertwined.  Why?  There is no definitive answer to this question. Each of us are free to contemplate the possibilities.

No comments:

Post a Comment