One thousand years of faith in Rus’


‘Organized by the Centre for Russian Christianity Studies. In July of the year 988, so tradition goes, the Russian prince Saint Vladimir was baptised in the waters of the Dniepr, together with his people, thus opening a new chapter of European History, which was the advent of a newly-converted people, the Rus ‘, who took their name from the Byzantine ecclesiastical province of the same name. The exhibition reviews the thousand years that have passed since that great historical moment, following the dual rhythms of death and resurrection which have marked the spiritual story of the Russian people, where death often coincides with the despotism of the powerful, and resurrection with the shining splendour of sainthood, in which prayer is linked with a faith which has often withstood the very farthest extremes of martyrdom. From their earliest days the monasteries of Rus’ have been centres for the radiation of that spiritual force which has generated the national indentity and the social programmes of the Russian people. A series of giant-sized photographs, slides, models, reconstruction plans and designs of buildings and sacred objects, of either liturgical use or associated with daily life in the monasteries, bears whiteness to the most profound experience of all times, that which is generated by the ‘love of the saints’, capable of unforeseeably renewing itself through the miracle of sainthood. Using several important monasteries as examples, the exhibition illustrated some of the Grottoes at Kiev, founded soon after the baptism of Saint Vladimir by a hunble community of monks who dug their caves on the rocky banks of the Dniepr; the Monastery of the Trinity of Saint Sergei, founded in the XIV century during the terrible period of the Tartar invasion upon the principles of love and unity (—Contemplating the Holy Trinity we can overcome the hateful divisions of this world ‘), becoming the focal point of the alliance between princes and citizens which was to result in the defeat of the Tartars; the Monastery of the Solovski, in the far north, near the Arctic Circle, a miracle of human creativity and finn faith, closely linked with the Russian Orthodox Archbishop Philip, martyred for having dared to oppose Ivan the Terrible, which was later transformed into the first ” model-concentration camp of the USSR; and the Hermitage of Optima, scene in the last century of the beginnings of a spiritual renaissance guided by the starcy “, white and clear-sighted monks who unequivocally illustrated the treasures and values of the Christian faith and culture to the intellectuals and lowlier people who flocked to hear their teachings. The monastic civilization, presented in is sacred, liturgical and even realy aspects, becomes the parable of the progress of a people who have found in the Holy Mother of God a new being daughter of the Church and Mother of the Chosen People. The central part of the exhibition present a collection of icons presenting he Mother of God, work of the masters of the Seriate School, conceived as the central point of oriental spirituality. These icons of the Virgin Mary have blessed and mitigated every step of the trues and sufferings of the people, as an ancient legend narrates, according to which the Mother of God eternally roams the world, seeking out the most derelict and downtrodden, who mistakenly believe that they can no longer hope for the balm of Divine Mercy.’


20 Agosto 1988 - 27 Agosto 1988


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions