The Church of the Nativity of Our Lady


Further on upstream the Volkhov are the premises of the former St Anthony Monastery (1106), named after its founder and first hegoumenon, who came to Russia from Western Europe. In 1117 19 the principal church of the monastery, that of the Nativity of Our Lady, was built on his money. Beginning in the 17th century, the church underwent repeated alterations; low annexes were attached, windows were splayed, a hip roof appeared, and huge bulbous cupolas replaced the ancient helmet-shaped domes. In the interior, arches were built in the northern and southern walls, the choir with its windows pulled down, and new murals painted in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the fragments of the 1125 frescoes surviving in the altar section and its anteroom, were seriously damaged by the notches made to fix the new whitewash. As the church was dedicated to Our Lady, it naturally brought about the appearance of a cycle of frescoes depicting the Holy Virgin. This is evidenced by the scene of the Prese ntation in the Temple in the northern apse and a well-preserved, though very small, fragment of the Dormition on the southern wall, and a part of the Adoration of the Magi on the northern wall.