Church of the Intercession on the Nerl
The white-stone Church of the Intercession on the Nerl, built in 1165 by Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky, still remains a model of beauty and harmony. The occasion for the construction of the temple became dramatic events of medieval history. The army of Prince Andrey in 1164 won a victory in the campaign on the Volga Bulgaria. But in the battle the prince's son Izyaslav was killed. In memory of his son and the victory, gained such a bloody price, a church was built. It was consecrated in honor of the new Feast of the Intercession of the Mother of God, which was established by Andrey Bogolyubsky without the consent of the Metropolitan of Kiev. This holiday claimed the special protection of the "Queen of Heaven" of the Vladimir princely dynasty and the Vladimir land.
Ancient masters built a unique structure. The place for the temple, apparently, was exactly indicated by Prince Andrey himself: ships will sail past the temple along the Nerl through Klyazma – to the Oka and Volga, and also in the opposite direction. Guests should immediately appreciate the dominant role of the Vladimir land in its majestic architecture. But the annual spring overflow would have to flood the church located in the lowland floodplain of the Nerl. However, this never happened, even in the widest spills. This is a miracle, and of course the confirmation of the unconditional skill of ancient architects, arranged a stone-faced artificial mound for a beautiful white-stone temple, so that the foundation went into the ground for almost five meters.
The graceful church is decorated with a skillful stone carving – arcuate-columnar belt, perspective portals, subject reliefs. On the three facades (in the central zakomar) the same composition is repeated: the biblical psalmist David, who sits on the throne, prophesies about the Mother of God to the sound of the gusli. Women's masks below are symbols of the Mother of God, which are depicted on all the churches dedicated to her (both at the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir and at the Bogolyubovo Nativity Cathedral). The figures of lions symbolizing princely power are also unchanging. The carved decoration of the white-stone church, simple and refined, emphasizes its lightness and beauty.
Several times in history, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl was about to be destroyed, but each time it miraculously remained intact. Thus, in 1784, because of the low profitability of the Intercession Church, the abbot of the Bogoliubovo Monastery, to which it was attributed, tried to make out a temple to get the building material for the construction of the monastery bell tower, but did not agree on price with the contractor. Slender as a candle on the palm the beautiful church stood, remaining the subject of poetic inspiration, the ideal of grace and harmony for many generations.
The meadow, on which the church is located, is now a specially protected natural area and is declared a historical and landscape complex of regional importance. The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl since 1992 is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Currently, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl is co-managed by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve. The church holds services for large church holidays, at other times it is open as a museum exposition. October 14, 2015, in honor of the 850 anniversary of the monument, was a celebratory service and a procession. During the year, solemn events dedicated to the anniversary of the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl were held: photo exhibitions, children's creative competitions, the issue of jubilee postal envelopes with a special stamp, anniversary edition of books about the temple, etc.