Prof. Dr. S.V. Zagraevsky
the predestination of choirs (galleries)
ancient Russian temples
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In the study of Professor, Dr. S. V.
Zagraevsky it is shown that the galleries, also called choirs, in Ancient Russian
temples (as in Western Europe and in
The following text
was translated from the Russian original by the computer program
and has not yet been
So it can be used
only for general introduction.
Architectural typology shelf (chorus) - open to the interior
of the temple galleries of the second tier is considered in detail in a number
of scientific works1 and we are here makes no sense to dwell on
these issues. In this study we will focus exclusively on the purpose of the
shelf (in the following, we will show that this is their name in the history of
Russian architecture is the most adequate, although in the modern scientific
and popular literature loft almost universally referred to as choirs). In other
words, we will try to find out what (or whom) in the ancient temples were
The most common stereotype is the purpose of the shelf in the old
Russian architecture is the view of them as the seat of the aristocracy, who
did not want during worship mixed with the crowd of people at the bottom. This
stereotype has been fully decorated in the work NI Brunova 19282.
The investigator wrote that the almost universal presence of the choir in the
ancient temples to the XV century and their almost universal absence, since the
third quarter of the XV century, is because choirs were "privileged part
of the temple", "hall for noble", and in XVI-XVII centuries, NI
Brunow, "feudal aristocracy" disappeared, "building
society" has changed significantly, the inner space of the temple became a
single, kings and patriarchs received a specially allocated places and to know
during the service was standing in front, and the people were crowding
Actually this theory is highly controversial even from
the point of view of Orthodox Marxism, seeking to explain architectural
phenomena development of the productive forces and the change of industrial
relations: "feudal aristocracy" in XVI-XVII centuries, perhaps, has
ceased to be a "feudal" (although in accordance with the same Marxist
theory of "remnants of feudal relations" remained in Russia for a
long time), but by no means ceased to be the aristocracy. Accordingly, it is
unlikely princes, landowners or landowners in the XVI century were more
"democratic"than they were in the XI-XV centuries.
The statement of the researcher that the emergence of
the choir in a large number Palace churches and buildings, private
individuals" (terminology NI Brunov4) second half of the XVII
century, in the temples in taininskoye, Alekseyevka, Dubrovitsa, the Stroganov
Church in Nizhny Novgorod and others, - is connected with the "typical for
this century restoration of the feudal system and the preparation of a new
feudalism of the XVIII century"5, contradicts the very basics
of Marxism, according to which feudalism is one of the basic stages of
development of society, and it cannot be "new" or
In order to show that point of view NI Brunova very controversial with
the positions of Marxism, but also any other socio-economic or
historical-architectural theory, let us remember that in the XVII-XVIII
centuries, the loft was held not only in the Palace churches and buildings of
private persons", but also a considerable number of monasteries and
cathedrals, where feudalism was unlikely any significant impact on the characteristics
of temple architecture. This assumption Cathedral of Goritsky monastery (XVIII
century)and the Cathedral of the assumption of the Iveron monastery (1655), and
the resurrection Cathedral in the New Jerusalem (1656-1697), and the Cathedral
of Holy cross monastery on the Kiy-Island (1660), and others in order
Choirs everywhere erected in the monastery churches of the XIX-beginning
of XX century, - in the Krestovozdvizhensky Cathedral of the Brusensky
monastery (1858), the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Seraphim Diveevo monastery
(1870), the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Pochaev Lavra (1906-1911), the
Cathedral of the resurrection Novodevichy monastery in Saint-Petersburg (early
1860s), Saviour Cathedral joy of all who sorrow monastery in Moscow (1891) and
others of Course, at this time about any "feudal aristocracy, especially
in the monasteries, there could be no question.
In fairness, we note that at the end of their work NI Brunow has made a
reservation, that "it is a mistake to think that every form chorus
certainly explains the elements of feudalism. It is enough to specify in this
sense, the choir in the Byzantine and Western European architecture, where they
sometimes must be interpreted quite differently"6. But this
reservation has not found any development, except for some reason that is
representative of the Novgorod system choir with two closed deaf aisles in the
angular premises connected with each other narrow wooden bridge, which housed
choristers", still has "a deep contrast to the choir feudal architecture"7
(i.e. from the gallery for the nobility). Noted with regret that, referring to
"other times" the purpose of the chorus in Byzantium and Western
Europe, the scientist does not develop this idea, thereby isolating the element
of ancient Russian architecture from its origins.
However, this position NI Brunova predetermined stereotypical view of
the shelves in the ancient temples as the "Royal box"8.
This view was disseminated not only in a huge number of scientific and popular
literature of a General nature, but in the special scientific works, where
architectural history and typology choir was paid special attention9.
Just a caveat: we do not in any way deny the fact that the location of
the nobility during worship, indeed, was one of the functions of the shelf in
the old Russian architecture. There are a number of confirmations in the
Russian Chronicles ("on the shelf" was the service of the Prince of
Galich vladimirka Volodarevich10; "in the Church and on the
shelf" was offered to enter their Gentile foreigners Andrei Bogolyubsky,
that they "saw true Christianity and were baptized"11),
and at the Aachen chapel throne of Charlemagne is located on the gallery of the
second tier, and in Byzantine Chronicles have mentioned many times that the
Emperor and his entourage during the service were in the gallery12.
But this is not the only function of the shelf, and certainly not something for
which they were held in churches.
"Other times" the purpose of the choir in the churches of
Byzantium and, accordingly, Ancient Russia was considered in fundamental
research, which was published in the quarter century before NI Brunova
(unfortunately, a scientist at him not only referred, but completely ignored
the expressed therein point of view). We are talking about the book E.E.
Golubinski dedicated to the history of the Russian Church13.
E.E. Golubinsky, referring to the Byzantine tradition, believed that in
the ancient temples choirs was intended for use in women (in Byzantium in such
cases they were called ginekeev as women's premises in homes), or for people
preparing for baptism, and held the rank of the announcement, i.e. for the
catechumens - catechumenal (E.E. the Golubinsky14; more common
modern writing - the catechumens). Accordingly, the space for catechumens in
the Byzantine churches called katihumeniyami (other spellings - catechumens,
katehumena, katehumenon). However, the researcher in his book has made a
reservation, that the Byzantium emperors, and the old Russian princes had also
been on the shelf15but the main purpose of the chorus he still
believed their use as ginekeev and (or) catechumenal.
The purpose of the chorus on NI Brunow and E.E. the
Golubinsky looks so mutually exclusive, that it becomes clear why NI Brunow not
only referred to the opinion of E.E. Golubinski, but completely ignored it. If
choirs were designed for women involved in the Byzantine Empire, and in Ancient
Rus secondary position compared with men, then stay on the gynoecium
"feudal aristocracy" should be substantially impair the dignity of
the latter. It is the same with the publication: hardly catechumens could be a
worthy place for the nobility during the service.
In this position, E.E. Golubinski is no less legitimate and
historical, liturgical, and from an architectural point of view, than the
position NI Brunova. Both these positions are based on a large number of
historical sources, both satisfactorily explained and mostly separate (not from
the naos of the Church, and through the external stair tower or flush stairs) inputs
to the choir in the Middle ages, and often occurred direct walkways to the loft
of the adjacent Palace buildings (as, for example, in the Church of the
Nativity of the virgin in the hierarchy or in the Vladimir the Cathedral of St.
Demetrius), and architectural design
"To reconcile" point of view, these
scientists, assuming that the right part of the shelf could be used for the
nobility, and left for women and (or) the catechumens (this practice
"longitudinal" separation of the first tier of the temple of the
SPLA, the right men, left women, until recently occurred in some provincial
churches16), it is hardly possible: in old Russian sources, there
are no data on this division choir, also in the future, we will show that the
set of functions of the loft is far more than those that have been named NI
Bronovil and E.E. Golubinsky.
But in fact, these scientists are mutually exclusive
only in case, if you count the chorus of any of these functions they (the bed
for the nobility, gynoecium, catechumens) or all of these functions
simultaneously. But in the future we will see that these functions - not more
than a function and purpose of the shelf was much more versatile.
And we begin our study purpose shelf (chorus, error, the upper
galleries) from Ancient Rome, where there was a Basilica, later played in the
Western Church architecture without significant changes, and in the East with
the changes are significant, but not affecting the main structure of the temple
(the nave, transept, tribune, the narthex, the altar and the like).
As is known, in the pre-Christian era the Roman
Basilica (Alpeeva, Ulieva, Konstantinova and mn. others) were the buildings
that served for the public, judicial or trading purposes. In the Central nave
is usually near the courtroom, in the apse is the Tribunal, and on the benches
arranged in a semicircle (sometimes in some numbers), was designated for the
judges or persons who control the trading process. Secondary, higher, the place
occupied Consul, Quaestor and praetor. Before the apse of the altar for
sacrifices before bidding or trial. 17.
Roman Basilica, as well as their more recent Western
and Eastern Christian counterparts, were in the second tier of the gallery, which
were used for various purposes. For example, with the galleries of the Basilica
Julio Emperor Caligula threw money into the crowd amused arisen stampede. 18.
Later in Western Church architecture (and the
Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque) typology galleries of the second tier in the
Basilica was virtually unchanged. These galleries are located either on the
three sides of the world - in the West, the North and South (usually in the
"sign" of urban and monastic churches), or only in the West (in large
numbers and large, and a small single-nave and three-nave basilicas). These
galleries are gradually acquired the main function, which, apparently, and was
named the chorus - the location of organ and choir.
However, the choir is not only the name of the galleries of the second
level in Western architecture. Although the word "choir" sounds
almost the same in Greek and in Latin, and in English and in French, in German,
in Germany these galleries are called Emporda ("Empore"), and the term
comes from the Latin "empora" and is from the Greek
"emporos": so in Ancient Greece they called shopping area, ranks,
storage of goods19. We see that this word comes from one of the
ancient Roman Basilica of appointments, i.e. in the name of the upper galleries
remained the memory of the original style of the temple. The very Greek word
"choir" means not only of people gathered for singing, but any
meeting or the crowd.
And in Italian choirs called "matroneo",
meaning "female part of the temple". This indicates that the choirs
in medieval Western Europe, at least for some time been used as ginekeev, as in
According to the Abbot Daniel, in Jerusalem during the time of the
crusaders in the loft housed people who do not have enough space at the bottom
during the service20. In addition, "withthe same folder
in it (in the Jerusalem Church of the resurrection of Christ, i.e. the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre - SZ) shelf postranni, and there was sorrow lives
Patriarch"21 (last observation, though made at the time of the
crusaders is related more to the East than to the Western Church, but in the
future we will see that the use of the chorus there was almost the same).
As we have already noted, the choir Aachen chapel located throne of
Charlemagne. And other European rulers often observed during the Liturgy with
galleries, arranged in westerbach22.
In addition, in Western Europe in the upper galleries were arranged
throughout the storerooms, sometimes the sacristy (as in the Tallinn Church of
St. Olaya XIII-XV centuries). In the gallery were located and a small chapel
(as in vestverke Church of Saint-Denis 1130-ies, as in the Florentine Church of
Santa Croce in 1320-1325 years).
We see in Western European architecture is very diverse set of functions
fine But since the latter has a direct, immediate architectural origins in the
form of the upper galleries of the Roman basilicas, we can not consider the
chorus of any of the above functions (like any other function that may escape
our attention). Choirs - a traditional element in the architecture of any of
the Basilica as the nave, transept, or the altar. But the nave in Ancient
Rome, served as a main hall of the building, the altar was the place, with
well-defined, most sacred, functions, and choirs were additional space, extends
the usefulness of the square of the Basilica and used for a variety of
purposes. In this sense, the closest analogue of the choir is the transept,
which also extends the useful area of the building and used chapels, and for
burials, and to accommodate the additional number of believers throughout the
services, and for kiosks with Church literature, etc.
The primary function of the chorus in medieval Western Europe was (and
still is to this day) Church singing, but still there's architectural
tradition, established in the pagan Roman times, has been the primary, and the
main (not only) function, which later, in Christian times, too, gradually
turned into a tradition, is secondary.
The functions of the choir in the churches of Byzantium
were no less, and perhaps more diverse than in the West.
The use of the chorus as ginekeev described in
"Pimenov journey to Constantinople": "Gathered a great many
people, men inside the Holy Church in Sofia, and women in the gallery. And it
was so amazing and lyubomudrenno. All the women stood in the gallery for
sheanime curtains, and their faces are decorated with pretty, and deaths of
people anyone could see them"23.
R. Taft, spending their fundamental study of location
of women in the Byzantine churches24 along the way on a large number of documentary material considered
various options choir and found that using the latter as ginekeev was not
always and not everywhere. By R. Taft, "fessentially,
we see that the gallery perform a variety of functions, relevant or not,
including temporary accommodation and romantic rendezvous. Women and the Royal
entourage were in the gallery during the Liturgy and the sacraments brought
them right there. Mother superior of the convent during menstruation could be
in the choir during the service in the monastery Church. Ordination to the
priesthood, the oath of allegiance, spiritual hearing, miraculous healings and
exorcisms also occurred there.
Concerning the fact that the Byzantine upper galleries at least sometimes
sang in the Church choir, message sources we still could not be found. But
there is an indirect confirmation: Church singing in the choir at present often
takes place in the Serbian Orthodox Church (in particular, in the Nativity
Church in Zemun and in the Dormition Church in Zrenjanin25); later
we will see that the choir was singing and singing and the Russian Orthodox
Thus, in Byzantium options choir were not only not the less diverse than
in Western Europe, but among them were missing and some of the main, priority
function: such cannot be considered a use of the chorus nor for the gynoecium,
neither as katehomena, nor as the "Royal Lodge", and especially as a
place for the Church choir. Hence, there choirs were exclusively traditional
temple architecture and played the role of an additional multi-purpose rooms.
Let us turn to the use of the shelf (chorus) in the temples of Ancient
First of all, as we mentioned, there is some evidence that the princes
during worship stood in the gallery. This message Chronicles ("on the
shelf" stood service vladimirka Volodarevich26; "in the
Church and on the shelf" was offered to enter their Gentile foreigners
Andrei Bogolyubsky27), and is already considered Byzantine and
Western European counterparts.
We must agree with E.E. Golubinsky is that in the ancient temples loft
at least for some time been used as ginekeev and (or) catechumenal: if this was
one of their functions in Byzantium, then it is very likely that this function
took place in Russia (at least in the pre-Mongol epoch). E.E. Golubinsky
brought another indirect confirmation of its position: in little Russia of the
end of XIX century the Western part of the Church was called "the
babynets'"; the Serbs at the same time "male" and
"female" half of the temple was divided by partitions28.
From here, the researcher concluded that in the ancient Church men and women
could stand separately, and in this case it is likely that for women, stood
place not only in the Western part of the SPLA, but also in the gallery. Of
course, this evidence is indirect, but, for example, V.I. Dal was sure that
"old women stood in Church the choir"29.
But if the use in the ancient temples choir as ginekeev and (or)
catechumenal is moot, then stay on the shelf chapels indisputable. The
side-altars in the loft are found in many of the Novgorod churches, beginning
with the pre-Mongolian time30; the chapel in the choir was in the
Church of Peter and Paul in Smolensk XII century31; two side-chapels
- in the gallery of the Dormition Cathedral in Kolomna XIV century32;
Spassky chapel on the shelf Izborsk Nikolskaya Church 1349; many of the chapels
in the choir and Moscow architecture of the XVI century33. The
chapels in the loft there is a direct analogue in the West-European
architecture - the choir Capella34.
Indisputable and has many unique architecture of Western Europe another
fact - finding on the shelf of ancient temples storerooms, vestries and even
libraries. So, in 1391 Novgorod after the great fire took
from the shelf Sophia Cathedral ten thousand silver rubles accumulated by
Archbishop Alexei, and divided by 1000 rubles for each end35. In
the assumption Cathedral of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in pre-Mongol times "are
the same and now their retinue on the chamber and knigi their Greek
We have reason to believe that the shelves in the temples of Ancient
Russia were used as upper choir" - the place for the Church choir. This is
confirmed by the message Vladimir chronicle under the year 1515: "That
same summer, the Grand Prince Vasily Ivanovich at soba in the yard destroyed
the stone Church of Christmas we of the Holy virgin on the door, Yes again get
up from dveri of Vverh and the porch was attached and Pete put at the top, and
the old was on earth"39. What the Church of St. George in Old
Ladoga in the gallery between the aisles were the singers, said NI Brunow40.
Singing on the "top choir" is practiced in our time, especially on
holidays41 (as in Semipalatinsk resurrection Cathedral42,
in the Cathedral of the Iveron monastery in Rostov-on-don43in the
Cathedral Vorontsov monastery near Toropets44 and in many other
churches, where there is an upper gallery).
Consequently, we and Russia can see a variety of functions choir, quite
comparable with Byzantium and Western Europe. This allows us to conclude that the
shelf of ancient temples (as Byzantine and Western) were self-contained
traditional elements of Church architecture and played the role of an
additional multi-purpose rooms. In fact, choirs were "attic
floor" of the temple.
This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that choirs
in all the ancient Chronicles it is called the loft. This is a traditional
Russian word (in contrast to foreign terms "choirs" and
"empore") has one root with the word "gender" means any and
wooden flooring - and choir in the temple, and a couch or a store room in the
house, and combat ground along tikovoi wall from the inside of a wooden
fortress45. This old Russian name of the choir also shows us that
they had additional space, extends the usefulness of the temple area and used
for a variety of purposes.
Another important (although, of course, in any case not primary)
function choir was constructive. The pillars and walls aisles any Basilica
(both Western and Eastern types) extinguish raspor and upstream arch and vault
of the Central nave much better if they are in the middle of the
"intercepted" choirs. In fact, choirs and played the role of the
arc-boutants, transmitting raspor vault of the nave from the middle of the
pillars on the walls, and air links, limiting the spreading of codes aisles. 46.
Why, then number of ancient temples from the shelf, from the XV century,
was sharply reduced?
Apparently, it was in that choir, despite their functional and
structural benefits, yet significantly black and setesdal the inner space of
the temples. The trend towards the abolition of the Church interiors from the
pillars, which also prevented the integrity and illumination of the SPLA, in
Ancient Russia was observed during the XIV-XVII centuries - from the classic
four - and six pillars of the temple's cross to the churches " pylon, then
to pillarless temples, covered with groin vaults47, then to the
tent-roofed architecture, and then to the temples with dense canopy. The same
tendency toward wholeness of the interior could not raise and choruses.
This suggests to us the answer to the question why the collapsing
Moscow's Dormition Cathedral Myshkin and Krivtsov (1472-1474) were bunk, but in
the Cathedral Fioravanti (1475-1479) is not. Aristotle has made tremendous
efforts to create a sense of wholeness (zalnosti) interior: with him in Russian
architecture first appeared and groin vaults of the thickness of one brick, and
metal-wall and communication proemnyh48. With the erection of the
altar additional arches East compartments of the temple Fioravanti has actually
become a monolith, perceiving a significant part of the burden of huge drums,
and, accordingly, the opportunity to build in the Central and Western parts of
the Cathedral on thin round pillars that with equal diameters of
"large" and "small" Barabanov stressed "zolnosti"
interior and ease of construction.
Characteristically, the specifics of the Church warden of the order for
the construction of the Moscow Cathedral of the assumption is not focused on
the presence or absence of the choir, otherwise they are or were, or were not
in both churches, and Myshkin, and Fioravanti.
This once again confirms the fact that the shelves in the ancient
temples (as in Western Europe, as in the Byzantine Empire) had no special
purpose and were self-sufficient architectural phenomenon. The construction of
the choir or rejection of them were primarily the responsibility of the
architect, and when making decisions about their device takes into account both
aesthetic, structural and functional considerations, and architectural
1. The A.I. Komech
in Ancient Russian architecture. M., 1987; Voronin N.N. The architecture of
North-Eastern Russia XII-XV centuries. M., 1961-1962. So
2. Brunow NI ABOUT
choirs in the old Russian architecture. In the book: Tr. section of theory and
methodology (sociological) RAYON. M., 1928. Vol.
3. Ibid. C. 94.
4. Ibid. C. 95.
6. Ibid. C. 96.
9. The history of
Russian art. M., 1953. So
10. PSRL 2:455.
11. PSRL 2:591.
12. For more
information, see: R. Taft Women in the
13. E.E. Golubinsky history of
14. Ibid. C. 241.
15. Ibid. C. 86.
16. Archbishop. Averky
(Taushev). Questions and answers
the explanation of the Church piety
and counselling. In Ukr.: Orthodox
17. Giro P. Private and public
life of the Romans. SPb., 1995.
19. Vlasov V.G. Architecture.
The dictionary of terms. M., 2004.
20. The life and Daniil Abbot
of the Russian land. In the book: Orthodox Palestinian collection. SPb, 1883.
Vol. 3, vol. 9.
22. Chronicle of Christianity.
23. Book journey. Notes of Russian travelers of the
XI-XV centuries M, 1984.
24. Taft P. ibid.
25. Kindly communicated A.
Bokarev on the Internet forum www.sobory.ru.
26. PSRL 2:455.
27. PSRL 2:591.
28. E.E. Golubinsky Decree.
back With. 241.
29. V.I. dal
Explanatory dictionary of the living great Russian language.
30. Sedov VLV
chapel in the choir... S. 52.
32. Voronin N.N. To
the characteristic architectural monuments of Kolomna time of Dmitry Donskoy.
In the book: Materials and researches on archeology of the
33. V.V. Kavelmaher
34. Monitoring CENTURIES
Kavelmahera (see previous. note.).
35. PSRL 3:233;
36. Paterik of Kiev-Pechersky
37. Voronin N.N. To
the characteristic architectural monuments of Kolomna... S. 231.
38. Themselves the
chorus of the Church of the Nativity of the virgin in Gorodnya (probably taken
the form of wooden flooring) is not preserved.
39. Tikhomirov, MN.
From "the chronicle of Vladimir. In the book: Historical notes #
40. Brunow NI
Decree. back With. 96.
communicated L. Kleshnina and M. Meshaninov on the Internet forum
"www.sobory.ru". To quote the message L. Kleshnina: "real parish
life: professional choir holiday is always sings in the choir; constant (few)
daily parish choir usually at the bottom on the kliros on the Solea; if no
permanent singers and singing parishioners whenever possible, by everyday
voices, bottom, side, before the exaltation of the Solea".
42. The information
was taken on web site www.orthodox.kz.
43. The information
was taken on web site www.pravoslavie.ru.
44. The information
was taken on web site www.toropets.net.
45. Kradin I.E.
Russian wooden defense architecture. M., 1988.
46. Voronin N.N.
The architecture... So
47. For more
information, see: Zagraevsky SV Architectural history of the Church Trifon
Naprudnom and origin groin vault. M.,
CENTURIES on the initial appearance of the assumption Cathedral of the Moscow
Kremlin. In the book: Architectural heritage. No.
© Sergey Zagraevsky