About Elijah the Prophet Church: Elijah the Prophet Church

The Church of Elijah the Prophet may be quite rightly put among the gems of church architecture and painting. The frescoes performed by the painters of Yaroslavl in the 17 century survives intact to the present day.

The church, called after the Old Testament prophet Elijah, was laid down 1647 on the money of the Skripiny. The merchants and their wealth, as well close relations with the tzar Alexei Mikhailovich are often mentioned in the local chronicles.

Elijah the Prophet Church was finished by 1650. It was on the territory of the Skripiny Estate and was part of its architectural ensemble. By the end of its construction the patriarch Joseph, with the consent from the tzar Alexei Mikhailovich, gave the church a piece of the Robe of Christ. It is believed to be a piece of the chiton Jesus Christ wore when he was crucified, and was then took by one of the soldiers. For a long time the Robe of Christ was kept in Georgia, but after Georgia was conquered by Persia in 1613, Shah Abbas I gave it as a token of friendship to the new Russian tzar Mikhail Romanov in 1625. The Robe of Christ properly is kept at the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, and at first, it was a tradition to give its fragments to other churches. Then the tradition was stopped.

Having got such holy thing, the Skripiny brothers decided to richly decorate the church, although the main decorations were made after their death. All main decoration works were performed by the crews of local craftsmen in the 1670th and 1680th. Icon painters painted the walls and vaults of the church, as well as the icons of the iconostasis. Wood carvers, tilers and silversmiths took part in the creation of icon settings. Other craftsmen also took part in the decoration of the church.

As a result, by the beginning of the 18 century the Church of Elijah the Prophet was one of the best examples of Russian church art. Both the frescoes of inner chapels, as well as those of external chapels and galleries survive in perfect condition to the present day.

At present, the Church of Elijah the Prophet is a museum, and religious services are held only on great holy days. A fragment of the Robe of Christ was given to the Tolgsky Convent. Both the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery and Assumption Cathedral are in the immediate vicinity of the Church of Elijah the Prophet. 

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