Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The White Sea

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.

This monastery 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 Island.

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!