Church of the Ascension or the Second Life of a Wooden Church of the 16th Century
Hello everybody! Ancient places of worship are architectural time capsules whose walls are silent witnesses of history. Wooden churches are a rare phenomenon in Belarus, but still their presence is of interest. In addition, wooden architecture is distributed mainly in rural areas, which means that little attention is paid to it. By the way, I noticed this church quite by accident when I was driving from Pinsk to Ivanovo. Every time I am surprised how many architectural gems are hidden among the inconspicuous villages. The Church of the Ascension of the Lord in the village of Stavok is not only a unique building, but also one of the oldest places of worship in Belarus.
Getting information about the history of the church located in the village is not so easy. The fact is that such buildings are located "behind the scenes of cities" or in the shadow of other eminent churches. The Brest region is a physical-geographical region of the Belarusian Polesye. Here you can find unique buildings that are typical only for this area. Therefore, studying the architecture of the Polissya region is especially exciting and interesting for me. Imagine you are driving through a typical village and discover something unusual for yourself. In my case, this was the Ascension Church.
Surprisingly, one of the oldest churches was previously located on this site. It was built by Pinsk Prince Fyodor Ivanovich Yaroslavich in 1503. However, after standing for many decades, the temple fell into disrepair and was dismantled. On the same place in 1854 the Church of the Ascension was built which you can see. The surviving wooden temple continued the traditions of the Polissya folk zoo design. In the appearance of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, there are features characteristic of the retrospective Russian style, which was dominant on the territory of modern Belarus.
According to the Polissya tradition, the church has three log cabins: a narthex, a prayer hall and a five-sided apse. Thanks to this combination, the temple has a picturesque and unusual silhouette. Above the narthex there is a two-tiered bell tower, the ringing of which is heard over long distances. Horizontally sheathed facades have rectangular window openings with architraves. The church is painted bright blue, which gives the building a peaceful look. The temple has three separate entrances with gable canopies on high pillars.
The interior of the Church of the Ascension is dominated by the two-height space of the prayer hall, which is based on 4 massive pillars. They are an important basis for the structure and hold the pyramidal vault. According to the ancient tradition of woodlands, the interior of the temple is decorated with folk embroidery (towels and banners) created by talented women of Polissya. But, to my great regret, the church was closed. There was a large padlock at the entrance. The thought flashed through my mind that the temple had long been abandoned, but the locals dispelled my doubts. The temple is open only on rare and holidays.
Despite the fact that I could not go inside (as is often the case) the church, I enjoyed its appearance. This is a historic place overlooked. Drivers passing by the Church of the Ascension have no idea that they are losing sight of the architectural gem. Thanks to my curiosity, I know that the most interesting is most often hidden. The Church of the Ascension of the Lord deserves to be in the spotlight, and not be sunk into oblivion.
Camera: Nikon D5200
Location: village of Stavok, Belarus
Thanks to everyone who reads and supports. Best regards from @danny.green.