The exhibition “Unique Russia” can bring the revival of the unique temples of the Russian hinterland closer

The business program of the White Iris Charitable Foundation became one of the highlights of the III Art and Industrial Exhibition-Forum “Unique Russia”

The exhibition “Unique Russia” can bring closer the revival of the unique churches of the Russian hinterland

This large-scale event took place from January 24 to February 5 at the Moscow Gostiny Dvor, one of the most prestigious venues in the capital. For the conference “White Iris” symbolically, the “Hall of the Sisters of Mercy” was provided, because the mission of the fund — help those who can already be helped with difficulty. In the case of “White Iris” — these are ancient rural temples, quiet as candles, “fading away” outback. 

Interestingly, within the framework of the forum program, a crumbling, but insanely touching antiquity from 15 regions of our country was presented: the photo exhibition “Holy Cover of the Russian Land”. “White Iris” demonstrated 24 rural  temples participating in the project “Heritage Keepers”. Their guardians —keepers from 15 regions came to the exhibition in Moscow from the regions, who, with great faith and work, are reviving emergency monuments. They received a lot of positive feedback from visitors. 

The exhibition “Unique Russia” can bring the revival of unique churches closer Russian outback

The conference began with a welcoming speech by the moderators of the meeting – Suheil Farah, Doctor of Philology, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Laureate of the State Prize A . S. Pushkin, three times nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize 2018, 2019, 2020, President of the Open International University “Dialogue of Civilizations”, Chairman of the Lebanese-Russian House, and Galina Ananyina, public figure, Chairman of the Board of the Patriarch Hermogenes Foundation and the Women's Patriotic Society, President of the Foundation for the Development of the Art Industry and Jewelry.  

The exhibition “Unique Russia” can bring revival of the unique temples of the Russian hinterland

Together with the participants of the meeting, they considered the topics of preserving the cultural heritage of Russia as a resource for the sustainable development of the country, as well as the formation of cultural heritage objects as a prospect for developing dialogue at the international level.— It seems to me that the spiritual dimension in the Russian soul is multifaceted, — said Suheil Farah. — Among her sources — religion and aesthetics, morality and, of course, messianism. And yet, in my opinion, it is Orthodox spirituality that underlies Russian culture. The spiritual memory of the people was embodied in the construction of temples — heavenly oases on the land of eternal Russia, penetrating into the secrets of the work of Dostoevsky and Gogol, you understand that they owe the diamond brilliance of their literature to their confessor fathers from Optina Pustyn.  

The exhibition “Unique Russia” can bring closer the revival of the unique temples of the Russian hinterland

The experience of restoring spiritual life shared Archpriest Alexei Yakovlev, project manager “Common Cause. Revival of the wooden churches of the North”, rector of the church, Ven. Seraphim of Sarov in Raev:  
— Our project brings together volunteers who strive to preserve churches and chapels in the Russian North, which have no analogues in the world. Today, about 400 wooden churches have come down to us, not counting the chapels. And more than half of them are in disrepair. If urgent restoration work is not carried out, many shrines will turn into ruins in the next 5-7 years. 

In addition, thousands more temples stand desecrated, destroyed, in depopulated villages all over the Russian land. Each such temple, according to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus' Kirill, — “…the only thing that connects us with the past, the only thing that is a real monument of architecture and culture”. If we don't save these temples, “we will turn into scorched earth in terms of history, little will remind us of our past…”.  

The exhibition “Unique Russia” can bring closer the revival of the unique temples of the Russian hinterland

— We don't have time to think, — considers the Director of the White Iris Foundation Olga Shitova. — It is necessary to actively act to save as many old rural churches as possible, since they are already on the verge of irretrievable loss. This is our holy cover of the Russian land, our salvation. I want to remind you that the level of a civilized society is evaluated in the world by its attitude to the memory of ancestors, to historical heritage.

The conference was attended by the participants of the project “Heritage Custodians” Ekaterina Kochubey from Karelia and Maria Pchelkina representing the Tula region. 

The exhibition “Unique Russia” can bring revival of the unique temples of the Russian hinterland

— Preservation of the Iono-Yashezersky Monastery as a spiritual and historical heritage of the small people of the Vepsians — this is a significant task, — considers  Ekaterina Kochubey, project manager for the revival of the named monastery, restorer. — In my opinion, it is important for our people to preserve the ensemble of the monastery estate with the adjacent historical territories, as an integral natural and architectural ensemble of the second half of the 16th century”.  

It was it was decided that the members of the public chamber of the Russian Federation would apply to the highest authorities with a request to create an interdepartmental commission to develop a federal program for the preservation of rural churches — historical objects of cultural heritage. Perhaps this will be facilitated by the All-Russian Forum with the invitation of all temple guardians, scheduled for April.

The photo exhibition and conference were held with the support of a presidential grant provided by the Presidential Grants Fund.

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