The Project for preservation and restoration of the Church of Nativity of Christ in Krokhino was started in March 2009 after return from an expedition to Belozersk District.
In September 2009 a consultative Project team was formed including representatives of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, the state Institute for Arts Science, the Institute for Archeology of the Russian Academy of Science, the D.S. Likhachev Institute for Historical and Natural Legacy and other organizations.
In parallel, the first Internet community of Project volunteers was established comprising people of various Russian cities (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Vologda, Cherepovets, Belozersk, Saratov and others) united by the idea of preservation and restoration of the unique flooded Church of Nativity of Christ in Krokhino.
Since 2013 we also started a new direction in our volunteer activity – organization of gratis work events together with local inhabitants for clean-up and emergency response operations in abandoned churches of Belozersk District.
The Project volunteers including an expert architect-restorer and engineers of various specializations take part in unrequited counter-emergency work or provide organizational support to the Project (preparation of photo exhibitions, design and development, web-site support, etc.).
Results of the work performed since March 2009.
Organizational part of implementation of the Project:
- gathering of historical and archive information on
the Church of Nativity of Christ in Krokhino;
- study of successful efforts for preservation of
Kalyazin bell-tower of Saint Nicholas Monastery in
Kalyazin, Tver Region, which was flooded during
construction of Volga-Baltic Waterway in 1939 (bunding
and restoration of the bell-tower were carried out
in late 80s of XX century);
- consultations in the Ministry of Culture of RF,
Rosokhrankultura, FGBNIU “State Institute of Art”,
the Institute for Archeology of the RAS and others;
- obtaining of expert opinions of the competent
bodies concerning historical, architectural and
cultural significance of the Church of Nativity of
- examination of physical condition of the Church of
Nativity of Christ, depth measurements, hydrographic
measurements made by engineers-hydrogeologists of
the Project Research Company “Geological Engineering
of Historical Territories”, who in particular were
involved into the activities for fortification of
flooded Kalyazin bell-tower, preparation of the
Expert opinion regarding feasibility and methods of
restoration of flooded structure of the Church of
Nativity of Christ and development of the Plan for
primary counter-emergency operations;
- start of proper Internet site of the Project, http://www.krokhino.ru/;
- establishment of Charity Fund “Center for
Restoration of Cultural Legacy “Krokhino” (current
functioning of the fund is supported by gratuitous
work of the volunteers – director and accountant).
- during the period 2011 – 2013 the Project leader
organized over 15 volunteer trips in which over 120
volunteers took part. The purpose of the trips was
to carry out counter-emergency work in the Church of
Nativity of Christ and other churches of Belozersk
Districts. An expert architect-restorer, stonemason
and volunteers from Moscow, Saint Petersburg,
Vologda, Cherepovets and Belozersk took part in
- in the course of volunteer trips, by efforts of
the volunteers an artificial dam was constructed in
Krokhino, protecting the church from harmful effects
of waves and ice, buttress at northern part of the
bell-tower porch was erected, masonwork in the walls
hollowed out by water was restored in the southern
part of the church, leads were installed to monitor
the deformations of the church, laying of a hiking
trail to the church for pilgrims and tourists was
- four joint work events together with local
residents were organized in the Church of Nativity
of the Mother of God in the village of Sadovaya and
in the Church of of Nativity of the Mother of God on
Public and media activities:
- organization and holding of meetings and
discussions of the Project within the Project team,
in the club of the Architectural Supervision, in the
Cultural Center of the Higher School of Economics –
National Research University (roundtable discussions
“Cultural Legacy Preservation: Public Project”),
hearings of the RF Civic Chamber Committee for
Culture and Preservation of Historical and Cultural
Legacy, and others;
- carrying out of charity activities in support of
the Project at Skryabin Memorial Museum (Moscow) and
Vologda club (Vologda), at charity exhibitions and
- photo exhibition “Towns under Water” created in
the framework of the Project was presented in the
Vologda Region Representative Office at the
President and Government of the Russian Federation,
in the Catherine Palace of Moscow (Frunze Cultural
Center of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation),
the Cultural Center of the HSE – NRU, the Civic
Chamber of the Russian Federation, the Moscow
Architectural Institute Museum, the Trading and
Entertainment Center “Golden Babylon”, the
Exhibition hall of Belozersk Library, the Exhibition
hall of Belozersk Local History Museum, in the
“Ziferblat” Free Space rooms, and others;
- in the period 2010 to 2013 two scenic projects
were created for support of the Project: theatrical
performance about Krokhino suburb history by
creative team “Kult-Art-Surikaty” and performance by
Saratov “Theatre where Children Act Against All Odds”
titled “Bellmen or History not for a Test”,
presented and shown in Moscow, Saratov, Vologda and
- publishing of a series of articles and columns
about the Project in various print media of Moscow
and Vologda, as well as in various web-media (over
- participation in TV broadcasts on Channel One
Russia, “Soyuz” Channel, Vologda TV, participation
in production of Leonid Parfenov’s film “Russia in
Bloom” about S.M. Prokudin-Gorsky’s legacy (premier
screening of the film took place in June 2014 on
Channel One Russia).
It is worth noting, that regardless of availability or absence of funds necessary to carry out the outlined Plan of development, the goals, objectives and basic principles of implementation of the Project for preservation and restoration of the Church on Nativity of Christ remain unchanged. These include transparency of financial expenses and absence of personal vested interests of the participants.
Krokhino is a genuine shrine which, by its existence, sets an example of Love, Goodness and Light. We will manage to preserve all of this if we work honestly, doing our best.
If knowing about our Project you get interested in saving and restoring the unique Church of Nativity of Christ, and probably be willing to take your part in it, we would be happy. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A project of this kind is always a cause pro anima and ex anima, being a personal choice of every being. Anyone who engages in charity, be it social activities to alleviate the problems of children or elder people, environmental protection or tending to homeless animals, does it irrationally and emotionally driven – by love.
When we hear an occasional outsider’s comment or reproachful remark that we put our efforts in saving a church in Krokhino (“You should have paid more attention to ) we want to explain our choice using an illustrative example like this: say, you walk in a street suddenly noticing that a person next to you suffers an attack, you stop to provide help, then look around and realize that there is nobody in the street nearby, and you cannot leave the sufferer alone, because in this very second you are responsible for him/her, and moreover – you both are emotionally bound now. What would your reply be, if some bystander told you that someone else in the neighborhood needs help too, and he/she is younger or prettier, easier to help, so abandon this one and run there, quick?
So, our choice is made – made by love. We, the volunteers, cannot abandon the church in Krokhino and fully engage in something else: we realize our responsibility for its fate and we have feelings. Those who travel to Krokhino to visit the Church of Nativity of Christ either become inspired by its Angel, or see no church at all, seeing “decrepit ruins” instead. The former return over and over again trying to make their contribution, the latter – keep passing by.
What we have:
We have a website, a number of communities in social media and the Live Journal. All activities of the fund, including financial, are carried out by volunteer specialists unrequited, with no office or other material basis required.
How will we use donations not exceeding 500 RUB?
The donations from 100 and up to 500 RUB shall be spent mostly for procurement and delivery of building materials and other insignificant volunteer trips. We plan to use more significant donations to fund the engineering survey work, reinforce the substructure and other tasks.