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This heartrending book provides a glimpse into the culture of Russian religious faith and its expression in the fragile wooden churches that hover in the northern landscape imparting presence and deep meaning. Heartrending because these churches and the religious civilisation they represent are now abandoned and disappearing through neglect. They will soon be extinct. Silhouetted against grey skies in the vast northern emptiness their onion domes, tent-shaped steeples and eccentric bell towers silently recall the relationship between earth and sky, between man and Eternity. Delicate, harmonious and utterly unpretentious, their beauty is unimaginable by the standards of our corrupting materialism. They are the last echo of the great spiritual resurgence in the late 14th century emanating from Saint Sergius of Radonezh whose followers founded four hundred monasteries, many of them in the Russian North.
To enter such a wooden church is like boarding a great galleon that has landed from the sky and in which, with all oneâ€™s senses attuned to new possibilities, one feels ready to ascend into Infinity.