July 30, 2011
Our Russian guide Maria Gavrilo
inside the Russian Orthodox Solovetsky
Monastery founded in 1436 by 2 monks on Bolshoy
Island in the White Sea.
is listed as one of the top 10 iconic destinations in all of Russia!
Being allowed inside to photograph monastic life and the Kremlin (fortress) itself was an amazing privilege!
Religious pilgrims come to the island of Belomore
from all over Russia to visit this holy site for the Russian Orthodox Church.
Monastic life is still on display, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the church once again is flourishing in many Russian lives.
During the communist reign of Lenin and Stalin this Kremlin
was soon turned into a prison camp, with the aim to eradicate the Orthodox
Church throughout the land. Prisoners were brought here and the fortress became a gulag under the Stalin Regime.
Today the entire complex is being renovated and Russian
Christianity is revitalising the entire area!
The beauty of the site itself and the conditions we experienced led to fantastic photographic opportunities! Na zdorovye
The National Geographic Explorer at anchor off Zayatsky
Island in the Solovetsky
Group. The ship is the first expedition
vessel to ever visit this area!
A view of the Andrey Pervozvanny
Church built in 1703 on Bolshoy Zayatsky
Our last afternoon in the Solovetsky
Islands brought a hike to the seldom visited Russian Orthodox hermitage on Anzersky
Island. What a wonderful glimpse into the Russian religious way of life, once again legal and flourishing!