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The Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior in Kovalevo

The Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior in Kovalevo (1345) When entering Novgorod from the direction of Moscow one can immediately spot the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior in Kovalevo which stands on a high hill on the bank of the Small Volkhovets river. It was constructed in 1345 by a Novgorod boyar, Ontsifor Zhabin, and belongs to monuments of the transitional period.

The southern vestibule of the church served as a burial-vault of the Zhabins family. During the excavations archaeologists found ancient interments in chiseled wooden logs and stone tombs, repeating the shapes of the wooden ones.

The wall-paintings of the church, finished in 1380, were financed by a certain Afanasy Stepanovich and his wife Maria. The drum fresco and huge figures of warriors in the lower parts of the walls were especially impressive and became the personification of the epoch which had started with the Russian victory at Kulikovo Field.

In 1941-1944 the church, which stood on the front line, was brought to ruin. Only the skill of the Novgorod restorers brought life back to both the church (architect L. Krasnorechiev) and its paintings (restorers A. Grekov and V. Grekov).

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