On August 19, 2014, festivities took place on the Kizhi island, dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the Transfiguration Church—a world-famous architectural monument and gem of the UNESCO World Heritage, the legendary masterpiece of anonymous Onega region carpenters, reports the Information department of the Diocese of Petrozavodsk and Karelia.
In connection with the ongoing restoration of the Transfiguration Church, the rector of this church on Kizhi island Archpriest Paul Lekhmus celebrated a solemn Divine Liturgy at the Church of Protecting Veil of the Mother of God. Head of the Republic of Karelia Alexander Khudilainen and director of the “Kizhi” nature reserve A.V. Nelidov were present at the service.
After the concluding prayer, Archpriest Paul performed the blessing of fruit, then the Zaonezhye residents together with the guests from all Karelia and a number of Russian regions walked in a cross procession round the Kizhi graveyard. After the procession, deputy head of the Republic of Karelia of Regional Policy, Minister of the Republic of Karelia for National Policy Issues, Relations with Public, Religious Associations and Media Yuri Shabanov addressed the parish rector and the congregation with a welcoming speech.
Then followed a concert of spiritual music on the square near the Sergeyev house with the Hierarchal choir of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the “Svir” chamber choir, and the choir of the Kizhi parish (headed by the rector) participating. The symphonic orchestra of the Karelian state philharmonic society, the Russian Horn Orchestra, Russian people’s artist Vasily Gerello, honoured artist of Russia Marina Kapuro continued the concert program.
The extensive cultural program of the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the Transfiguration Church began on August 15. Within the span of five days, numerous folk bands from Karelian districts performed for the visitors to the island, the Kizhi fair, and “The day of Kizhi Volost (in old Russia: a small rural district)” holiday, open-air exhibitions and concerts were held.
In honor of the Transfiguration Church’s 300th anniversary Archpriest Paul Lekhmus performed a solemn prayer service at the Chapel of Sts. Kirykos and Julitta in Vorobyi village on the Big Klimenets island. This chapel’s belfry was chosen for holding of one of the bell ringers—a main part of a project to restore the lost traditions of the Russian North. Some of the best bell ringers from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Rostov, Kargopol, and Sergiyev Posad came to the session.
The exhibition, “The traditional bells of the Russian North”, was opened at the bell-tower of the Kizhi graveyard. The exposition’s author is Viola Gushchina, senior staff scientist of the “Kizhi” museum. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see the ancient bells, collected in various Karelian villages, including the “veche” bell that was cast in 1912 at the Yaroslavl foundry. Veche bells were used to call town assemblies.
On August 18, Archpriest Paul Lekhmus blessed a memorial cross, made by enthusiasts from the “Polar Odyssey” marine club and installed by colleagues of the “Kizhi” nature reserve. From now on, on an isle near Sennaya Guba a large wooden memorial cross dominates over the site of a chapel destroyed in the early 20th century.