Connect with us


In memory of martyred princes

Voice Of EU



This article originally appeared on a new site about the Christian renaissance in Russia, called Russian Faith. Their introductory video is at end of this article.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Russian chemist and photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky devised a complex process for vivid, detailed color photography (see box text below). His vision of photography as a form of education and enlightenment was demonstrated with special clarity through his photographs of architectural monuments in the historic sites throughout the Russian heartland.

As part of his journeys in the upper Volga area in the summer of 1910, Prokudin-Gorsky made numerous photographs in the town of Torzhok, known for its ensembles of neoclassical architecture, A favorable location on the Tvertsa River just above its confluence with the Volga made Torzhok one of Russia’s oldest trading centers. The town’s name derives from the word torg, or “trade.”

Monastery of Sts. Boris & Gleb. Northeast view from east bank of Tvertsa River. Summer, 1910 / Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky

The first reference to the town occurred under the year 1138, but the settlement may have existed as early as the 10th century. As an outpost of the medieval commercial center of Veliky Novgorod, the town was frequently contested. The rise of Muscovite power in the 15th century brought an end to Novgorod’s independence in the 1480s, and in 1478 Torzhok entered the domains of Moscow’s ruler Ivan III (the Great).

A monastery named for two tragic figures          

The dominant feature in the landscape of historic Torzhok is the Monastery of Sts. Boris and Gleb, situated on the high right (west) bank of the Tvertsa River. It was the subject of several photographs by Prokudin-Gorsky. According to church sources originating in the 17th century, the monastery was founded in 1038 by the boyar Yefrem, who had served as equerry to Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev. In 988, Vladimir accepted Orthodox Christianity as the religion of his domains. His death in 1015 unleashed a power struggle among his many sons, one of whom, Sviatopolk, is said to have ordered the murder of three of his brothers, including Boris and Gleb. Church accounts state that rather than take up arms against Sviatopolk, Boris and Gleb accepted death with Christ-like submission. Sviatopolk, known as the”Damned,” briefly ruled in Kiev but after a prolonged struggle was ousted by his brother Yaroslav (the “Wise) in 1019. Boris and Gleb were canonized in 1071 as the earliest martyrs of the Orthodox Church in Rus.

Monastery of Sts. Boris & Gleb. From left: Church of the Presentation, Cathedral of Sts. Boris & Gleb, “Candle” Tower. May 14, 2010. / William Brumfield

Inspired by Boris and Gleb, Yefrem made his way to the area of Torzhok and occupied himself with charitable work, eventually founding the monastic community where he lived until his death in 1053. In this endeavor he was assisted by his disciple Arkady Novotorzhsky.

Originally built of logs, the Monastery of Sts. Boris and Gleb was ransacked by Polish forces in 1617 during the Time of Troubles. By the late 17th century, the revived monastery had a few brick buildings, including the Church of the Presentation (recently restored). In the early 18th century, work began on the Church the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, completed in 1717.

Cathedral of Sts. Boris & Gleb, southeast view. May 14, 2010. / William Brumfield

Increased support for the monastery occurred during the second half of the 18th century during the reign of Catherine the Great. To a certain degree, this increase was related to greater visibility from prominent visitors traveling between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Support from the imperial court also played a significant role.

Neoclassical restoration      

In 1785, work began on rebuilding the monastery’s main church, the Cathedral of Sts. Boris and Gleb, with substantial support from Catherine. The design was entrusted to one of Catherine’s most prominent architects, Nikolai Lvov. Consecrated in 1796, the cathedral is considered a masterpiece of Russian neoclassicism. Lvov’s great neoclassical churches closely follow the manner of the 16th-century Italian master Palladio, whom he idolized and whose work he saw in Italy.

Monastery of Sts. Boris & Gleb. Bell tower & Church of the Miraculous Image of the Savior over Holy Gate, northwest view. Left: “Candle” Tower. Summer, 1910. / Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky

As seen in my photographs from 2010, the cathedral possesses a remarkable harmony of proportions. The hexastyle Tuscan portico on the north and south cathedral facades is balanced by Tuscan loggia at the east and west ends. The columns are of local limestone. The pediments above each façade provide a visual transition to the central dome, which rests on a square base with beveled corners and a large tripartite (thermal or “Palladian”) window.

Bell tower & Church of the Miraculous Image of the Savior over Holy Gate, southeast view. May 14, 2010. / William Brumfield

The cathedral interior was no less imposing, with neoclassical columns and piers rising to the central dome, all decorated in Renaissance forms. This interior — not photographed by Prokudin-Gorsky — was damaged by decades of neglect during the Soviet period, when the monastic territory was used for decades as a prison. Restoration began when the monastery was given to the local history museum. The monastery now belongs to the Orthodox Church, but the large sums needed for a restoration of the cathedral interior are difficult to obtain.  

Bell tower & Church of the Miraculous Image of the Savior over Holy Gate, east view from Tvertsa River. May 14, 2010. / William Brumfield

In the 19th century, the monastery’s wealth was reflected in the construction of the Church of the Miraculous Icon of the Savior over Holy Gate (the main monastery entrance). Built in 1804-11, the neoclassical church is a model of classical symmetry and is considered partly the design of Nikolai Lvov, although its construction was supervised by Yakov Ananin. Carefully photographed by Prokudin-Gorsky, the church was crowned with a high bell tower that is one of Torzhok’s most visible landmarks. Prokudin-Gorsky took an additional photograph of the church’s lower tier, with its unusual marbling pattern on the exterior stucco (since lost, as my photographs demonstrate). 

Bell tower & Church of the Miraculous Image of the Savior over Holy Gate, lower tier, northwest view. Left: “Candle” Tower. Summer, 1910. / Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky

A final decorative accent is provided by the colorful “Candle,” or Library Tower, located at the northeast corner of the monastery walls. The tower was erected in an eclectic medieval style during the 1880s, when the monastery walls were rebuilt by local architect Stepan Grebenshchikov. The upper part of the tower was brightly restored in the 1980s. Despite the unenviable fate of this ancient monastery during the 20th century, a comparison of Prokudin-Gorsky’s photographs from 1910 with mine from 1996 and 2010 shows that at least the exterior of this grand ensemble has survived.

Monastery of Sts. Boris & Gleb. North wall & “Candle” Tower. View east from bell tower across Tvertsa River. Aug. 13, 1995 / William Brumfield

In the early 20th century the Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky devised a complex process for color photography. Between 1903 and 1916 he traveled through the Russian Empire and took over 2,000 photographs with the process, which involved three exposures on a glass plate. In August 1918, he left Russia with a large part of his collection of glass negatives and ultimately resettled in France. After his death in Paris in 1944, his heirs sold his collection to the Library of Congress. In the early 21st century the Library digitized the Prokudin-Gorsky Collection and made it freely available to the global public. A number of Russian websites now have versions of the collection. In 1986 the architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield organized the first exhibit of Prokudin-Gorsky photographs at the Library of Congress. Over a period of work in Russia beginning in 1970, Brumfield has photographed most of the sites visited by Prokudin-Gorsky. This series of articles will juxtapose Prokudin-Gorsky’s views of architectural monuments with photographs taken by Brumfield decades later. 

Read more:

The Medieval Fortress of Belozersk: From Prokudin-Gorsky to the present

Solovetsky Transfiguration Monastery: From Prokudin-Gorsky to the present

St. Nilus Stolobensky Monastery: Resurrecting a great spiritual landmark

Krutitsky Court: Excursion into Moscow’s past

The Terem at Astashovo: Grand dacha in the Chukhloma forests

A video introducing Russian Faith

Source link


All you need to know on getting the Moderna vaccine as a booster

Voice Of EU



People due to receive their Covid-19 booster vaccine in coming weeks will primarily be offered the Moderna dose at HSE vaccination centres.

The HSE is reported to have large supplies of Moderna due to expire next month, so that will be the main vaccine administered over coming weeks to the over-60s, over-50s, healthcare workers, and younger people in vulnerable groups – though it will be restricted to people over 30.

Anecdotally there are indications some people may be reluctant to take the Moderna vaccine. This may be due to Irish stocks about to expire shortly and/or confusion about its efficacy. This follows the company’s chief executive Stéphane Bancel warning last week the Moderna jab may not be as effective against Omicron as it had been with the Delta variant.

The HSE has confirmed recipients will have no choice on what vaccine they are given.

What type of coronavirus vaccine is the Moderna jab?

It is a new kind of synthetic “mRNA vaccine” – the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is from the same stable. They provide excellent protection against severe illness and hospitalisation – and have played a critical role in reducing Covid-19 deaths since being approved. A downside, however, is that the Moderna version must be kept at -20 degrees.

Should people be worried about receiving a soon to be out-of-date vaccine?

Total doses distributed to Ireland Total doses administered in Ireland



In short no, as they retain the ability to boost antibody production within currently approved time spans – though inevitably potency wanes over time. The Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) vaccines were put on the market with emergency use authorisation of up to six months.

This compares with a shelf life of two to three years for most vaccines and other medicines. This is an “inevitable consequence of getting the vaccines out of the door as quickly as possible”, chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Gino Martini told the journal BMJ.

Months later, these “emergency” expiry dates remain in force for these vaccines. For approved Covid-19 vaccines, the initial shelf lives were based on data available at the time of submission for regulatory approval.

The long-term shelf life has not been extended for any of the vaccines. A shelf life extension would require supporting evidence from relevant stability studies. Vaccine manufacturers are monitoring batches of vaccines with the aim of providing a longer shelf life; probably the usual two years.

What about the Omicron threat?

While Moderna said existing vaccines including its mRNA version will probably be less effective against the Omicron variant, most experts believe they will continue to provide significant protection against severe disease and hospitalisation. It should be stressed, however, definitive indication has yet to emerge. That will be a matter of weeks, if not days.

Moderna has confirmed it is developing an Omicron-specific booster though manufacturing the new vaccine would take time. Tens of millions of doses could be available in the first quarter of 2022, but scale-up would not happen until the second quarter – provided it is shown such boosters are required.

What is the latest indication on the benefits of mixing vaccines?

Evidence supporting a mixing of vaccine doses has hardened over recent months. A study this week shows combining a first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with a second dose of either the Moderna or the Novavax jabs results in far higher levels of neutralising antibodies and T-cells compared with two doses of the AstraZeneca jab.

This finding also has important implications for lower-income countries that have not yet completed their primary vaccination campaigns as it suggests you do not need access to mRNA vaccines – and therefore ultra-cold storage facilities – to trigger an extremely potent Covid-19 vaccine response.

The study also bolsters confidence that using the Moderna vaccine as a booster dose in people who have previously received the AstraZeneca jab should result in high levels of neutralising antibodies and T-cells.

It follows separate data published last week suggesting the Pfizer and Moderna booster jabs can dramatically strengthen the body’s immune defences.

Source link

Continue Reading


Woman (90s) dies following single-vehicle crash in Co Clare

Voice Of EU



A woman in her 90s has died following a single-vehicle crash in Co Clare in the early hours of Tuesday.

The incident occurred at about 12.30am at Annagh, Miltown Malbay. The woman, who was the driver and sole occupant of the car involved in the crash, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her body was removed to Limerick University Hospital, where gardaí say a postmortem will take place at a later date.

The road has been closed to facilitate an exam by Garda forensic collision investigators, and local diversions are in place.

Gardaí have appealed for witnesses – particularly road users who may have camera footage – to come forward. Anyone with information can contact Kilrush Garda station (065 908 0550), the confidential line (1800 666 111), or any Garda station.

Source link

Continue Reading


What areas will be worst hit and what is closing?

Voice Of EU



Just how serious is Storm Barra?

Storm Barra is set to hit Ireland fully on Tuesday morning, with Met Éireann warning that the severe weather could pose a threat to life.

The storm will rapidly deepen over the west and south coast on Monday evening, bringing very strong winds and heavy rain on Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Met Éireann have also warned that there is a risk of snow, as well as coastal flooding, due to the combination of high waves, storm surges and high tide.

Southwesterly winds, which will later veer northwesterly, will reach mean speeds in excess of 80 km/h.

Severe or damaging gusts may reach speeds in excess of 130km/h.

Power and travel may be disrupted across the country.

What are the areas most affected?

There is a status red wind warning in place for counties Cork, Kerry and Clare. Cork and Kerry’s warning starts at 6am on Tuesday and lasts until 9pm that evening.

Clare will be under a red alert from 4pm on Tuesday until 1am on Wednesday.

Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo, Wexford, Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and Meath are also under an orange wind warning.

However, Met Éireann have advised that there is a strong possibility that the status orange alerts will escalate to status red.

A red marine storm warning will also be in effect for Irish coastal waters from north Mayo to Cork city.

The rest of the country will be under a status yellow wind and rain warning, with Met Éireann saying that heavy rain may result in surface flooding.

There is also a risk of snow over the entire country, and flooding in coastal areas.

Is it okay to go out in the storm?

People in the affected areas are being advised to avoid all unnecessary journeys, meaning you should stay indoors if possible.

People on motorbikes, cyclists, and pedestrians should take extra care if they have to travel, and they should avoid coastal areas.

Motorists are also advised to be more wary while driving, and to look out for fallen trees and debris on the road.

The charity Alone urged older people to take extra care and called on members of the public to “check in with their older neighbours and relatives and assist them if they need to travel to the local shop, post office or medical appointments during the bad weather”.

What has been cancelled or closed?

The Department of Education, which oversees primary and secondary schools, has advised schools in red and orange alert counties to close.

The Department of Higher Education, which governs colleges, universities and further education institutes, has issued a similar statement, saying education institutions in red and orange alert counties should close also.

Creches, early learning and school-age childcare services in the 12 counties should not open tomorrow, according to the Department of Children. Services that close will receive Force Majeure funding, according to the department.

Bus Éireann services in Co Cork and Co Kerry will be suspended for the full day. Services in Co Clare will be suspended from 4pm on Tuesday until 1am on Wednesday. This cancellation will also apply to all routes operating into or out of the status red warning area including Expressway Route 51.

Some hospital appointments have been cancelled, and Covid-19 testing and vaccination centres in status red and orange counties have also been forced to close due to the storm. A list of the affected health services can be found here. The National Ambulance Service will prioritise emergency calls during this weather event but is urging the general public to think carefully before calling 999/112.

The Courts Service has also confirmed that all sittings in red alert counties have been cancelled.

The Department of Local Government said a large number of national parks and reserves including Killarney National Park and Muckross House would close on Tuesday and Wednesday. Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow will close from 8am until 1pm on Tuesday.

Aldi has also said its stores in Cork and Kerry will be closed all day Tuesday, and their Clare stores will shut at 3pm on Tuesday.

Lidl and Tesco stores in Cork and Kerry will also be closed all day.

How long is the storm expected to last?

According to Met Éireann, Storm Barra will gradually clear Ireland later on Wednesday and winds will slowly ease, with a more settled few days to end the week.

Source link

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!