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Genesis: Historical research
Reference:

New finds of crosses from the churchyard of the Church of the Savior in Tobolsk

Zagvazdin Evgeniy Petrovich

Scientific Associate, Tobolsk Complex Scientific Station of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

626152, Russia, Tyumen region, Tobolsk, Ak. Yu. str. Osipova, 15

kulay_arx@mail.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-868X.2023.12.69331

EDN:

BTPDLK

Received:

14-12-2023


Published:

31-12-2023


Abstract: The subject of the study in the presented article is two crosses from the graves of the Spassky cemetery of Tobolsk. They were discovered during the rescue archaeological excavations in 2022. The range of analogies of the considered finds, as well as their territorial distribution, is considered. A number of issues related to their dating based on typologically identical finds, as well as the chronology of the existence of the churchyard at this church, are touched upon. One of the illustrative specimens in the collection was a rare type of white bronze alloy cross with a crucifixion of Christ on the obverse and an image of an angel on the reverse, originating from burial No. 4. On this cross, the attributes of the Passion Cycle are considered. The analysis showed that such a find, although it has analogies, is still not completely identical to them. It is concluded that the studied type of cross has iconographic origins in the works of European masters. Baroque secular art also had a great influence on the further development of the forms and content of such crosses.The author findings are based on typologies developed by E.P. Vinokurova and V.I. Molodin. The finds were compared with a circle of typologically similar crosses from the territory of Russia and Ukraine, and their chronology was clarified. Identification and comparative analysis of the attributes of the Passion Cycle have been carried out. On the basis of a set of features, their common and distinctive features are revealed. Over the past decades of archaeological research in Tobolsk, a number of archaeologists have collected a representative database of objects of personal piety. For a number of reasons, these findings are not always promptly and fully published, which creates gaps in the source database. The scientific novelty of the presented article is the contribution to the stavrographic collection from the excavations of the churchyard of the Church of the Savior in 2022. Of particular interest is the well-preserved cross No. 4 with a crucifixion, which had not previously been found during excavations in Tobolsk and its surroundings. It is concluded that the studied crosses have iconographic origins in the works of European masters. The further development of the forms and content of such crosses was also greatly influenced by Baroque secular art.


Keywords:

Tobolsk, Spasskaya Church, burial, pectoral cross, crucifixion, staurography, analogies, typology, Passion of Christ, archeology

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Archaeological excavations have become one of the main sources for replenishing and studying the stavrography of Tobolsk in recent decades [2; 3; 1; 8; 15; 17]. Some of the crosses were found during the study of ancient churchyards at the churches of the city, as well as on the territory of the Abalak monastery. There are known finds of crosses from research in the historical center of the city, but already outside the church fences, as well as those obtained during field exploration. Another source for their study is materials from private collections.

One of the first finds of objects of personal piety was a cross from exploratory archaeological work in 2006 on the site of the former village of Vykhodtseva in the Tobolsk district. The authors of the article dated the copper cross with rectangular ends and a radiant crown around the middle cross to the XVII-XIX centuries [4, pp. 245-246, Fig. 2-6].

As the volume of repair and restoration work in the historical part of Tobolsk has expanded since the early 2000s, emergency excavations at the site of cemeteries that previously existed at churches have become an important source for studying not only the funeral rite, but also stavrography.

In 2006, P.G. Danilov studied the burials in the Holy Cross Church. However, when describing the funeral rite, only a brief overview of the two crosses found in adult graves is given. The publication notes the wide range of distribution of these crosses and also the date of their existence 2nd half of the XVII- early XX centuries. The historical context of the burials made it possible to narrow it down to the 1770s - XIX centuries [15, p. 33].

The following year, I.V. Balyunov studied 29 burials at the Spasskaya Church on an area of 10.5 sq.m. Dating of the graves XVII-early XVIII centuries. Four crosses have been found, but they have not been published [8, 9].

The beginning of a new stage of restoration of the Abalak monastery in 2006 prompted an archaeological study of its territory. In 2009, P.G. Danilov presented a short article on the results of excavations in 2007-2008. When studying the burials on the territory of the monastery, 24 crosses were found, which the author dates from the XVII-XVIII centuries. The findings of the crosses are briefly reflected in the publication [16, pp. 13-14, fig. 1].

Then, in 2011, O.M. Anoshko published a collection of 13 crosses from excavations in Tobolsk, which took place in 2007-2010. In her opinion, the finds belong to well-known types of crosses, widely represented both in Siberia and in European complexes of the XVII-XIX centuries[5].

The continuation of these studies was the publication by A.V. Matveev, O.M. Anoshko, T.A. Aliyeva in 2012 of a unique copper-cast gilded panagia discovered during excavations in 2008 near Gostiny Dvor. It has been established that the artifact belongs to an early group of copper-cast stone panagia, which date from the second half of the XVI - first half of the XVII centuries. or a slightly wider period. It is suggested that the appearance of this cult object in Tobolsk is connected with the creation of a new diocese in the early XVII century and the stay of the first Siberian and Tobolsk archbishops in the city [23].

In the same year, 47 burials were studied during the excavations of the lost St. Nicholas Church on an area of 34 sq. m. Copper crosses were found in 17 burials, two more were found in the filling of grave pits. The characteristic of crosses by P.G. Danilov was not given [14].

An interesting study of a rare pectoral cross of the XVII century was made by I.V. Balyunov in 2014. The cross was found during excavations in 2004 in the Tobolsk Kremlin. According to the author, the studied copy was made by local craftsmen [7]. In the same year, he published stavrographic material from a private collection. A total of 23 copies were reviewed. The forms of the analyzed crosses are typical and, in his opinion, date back to the XVIIIXIX centuries [10].

In 2020, E.P. Zagvazdin partially presented the materials of the 2010 excavations at the Abalaksky Holy Sign Monastery. The crosses are considered in combination with 4 burials. In total, the publication analyzed 3 body crosses and a clasp lock. The author dated the crosses of the XVII-XVIII centuries [19].

And finally, the latest study of Tobolsk crosses was presented in 2021 by O.M. Anoshko. Their comparative study was conducted together with the finds of crosses from Tyumen. In general, the author repeated her conclusions of 2011 on a broader basis. Despite the well-known analogies of the analyzed artifacts throughout Russia, in her opinion, the exception in the collections of Tobolsk and Tyumen are pectoral crosses with the figure of the crucified Christ or Our Lady of the Sign on the obverse [6].

The presented review of the study of Tobolsk stavrography showed that over many years of excavations, researchers have published only a small part, which creates certain source gaps in this discipline. Undoubtedly, the main tool in overcoming this problem is to publish these materials as much as possible.

Materials and methods

For the first time, burials from the Church of the Savior were studied by I.V. Balyunov in 2007 [9]. Crosses were found in four burials. As already noted, this collection has not been introduced into scientific circulation. The continuation of excavations at the temple walls was resumed in 2022 in connection with the reconstruction of heating networks. In total, 18 tiered burials of varying degrees of preservation were found on an area of 104 sq. m. The excavations made it possible to replenish the database with two copies of crosses.

During the analysis, the description of crosses was carried out based on typologies developed by E.P. Vinokurova and V.I. Molodin [12, 24]. The considered samples for the design of the ends of the blades belong to type 3 according to E.P. Vinokurova [12] or to type 7 according to V.I. Molodin [24, pp. 69-76].

Cross 1 (Fig. 1, 2). Found in burial No. 4, belonging to an adult, whose upper part of the skeleton was destroyed during the construction of early communications, and the skull was missing. The crucifix was found in the chest area, between the bones. The product is cast in white bronze, four-pointed, two-sided with expanding curly keeled ends of the blades and a transverse eye. Size: 4.1 (without eyelet) 4.9 (with eyelet) ? 3.2 ? 0.26 cm.

Edging stretches along the edge of both sides of the cross. The convex crucifixion of Christ is depicted on the front of the cross. In the upper part there is a figure of the Lord of Hosts sitting on a cloud with his arms outstretched and the Holy Spirit in the form of a flying dove under him. The upper blade is separated by a horizontal belt with vertical lines along its field. On the left and right blades, on both sides of the figure of the crucified Christ, there is a girdle image of saints. Under the figure of Christ there is a stylized image of Golgotha in the form of parallel lines.

The symbols of the Passion of Christ are depicted on the reverse side of the cross. In the upper part of the blade there are two snakes (?) hanging from the crown of a tree, on both sides. They are separated from the rest of the field of the cross by a decorative element in the form of an undulating and several straight lines below it. In the middle cross there is an angel with wings holding a saber on his left shoulder. In the field of the left blade, the instruments of Passion are depicted (from left to right): a hand, a bag (with money), a coin, a saber with a crosshair. The right blade shows (from right to left): pliers and a hammer, four nails. In the lower part of the cross, the elements are less readable due to corrosion. A cockerel is depicted under the angel, sitting on a pole with a wide base. A ladder lying diagonally under the pole is depicted.

A comparison of the Tobolsk stavrographic finds undertaken in the historiographical review with the find from burial No. 4 did not reveal geographically close analogies on crosses depicting the instruments of the Passion of Christ. It is typologically similar to the cross of the XVII-XVIII centuries from the Abalak monastery, but the arrangement of the elements is different [19, p. 138, Fig. 3-5].

On the crosses of the Ilim prison, namely on products of type 7 of subtype 2, elements associated with Passions are widely present in all 8 variants. On crosses of other types, these elements are either absent or very poorly represented. The search for analogies did not reveal the complete identity of the Tobolsk find. Nevertheless, some of the crosses from Ilimsk are quite close to the Tobolsk copy both in the design of its edges and the type of alloy (white bronze, silver plating), and in the composition and location of decorative elements.

On two crosses from burials No. 255 and No. 324, belonging to type 7, subtype 2, variant 6, the Lord of Hosts, the crucifixion, and the saints are present on the obverse. According to V.I. Molodin, the Mother of God with the baby Jesus is depicted on the left blade of the cross, and St. Nicholas is depicted on the right.

The design of the subcrestal space also differs: Adam's skull is present on the Ilim cross, but it is not on the Tobolsk cross. The reverse side of both crosses is reserved for the instruments of the Passion of Christ, but there are few of them on the Ilim copies. These crosses are brought closer by the presence of hanging snakes (?) on the upper blade, which indicates that this element is not accidental and has been repeatedly repeated on the crosses. Unfortunately, it is not commented on on the Ilim crosses in any way [24, pp. 74-75, fig. 125, pp. 190, 220]. Crosses of the 7th type with the Passion of Christ were found in the children's (1-2 years old) and women's (30 years old) burials of Ilimsk [24, pp. 32-33, Table 1].

Cross 2 (fig. 3) was found in adult burial No. 8, at the bottom of the thoracic skeleton. The cross-body is cast copper, four-pointed, two-sided with expanding curly keeled ends of the blades and a transverse eye. Size: 3.4 (without eyelet) 4.3 (with eyelet) ? 2.9 ? 0.27 cm. The cross is heavily corroded. The field elements are difficult to read. On the front side there is a cross and rounded stamps on the horizontal blades.

Close stylistic analogies of crosses from burials No. 4 and 8 of the Church of the Savior are known from geographically close finds from the Tobolsk Irtysh region [17; 10; 19]. In Siberian materials, similar types are present in the materials of the necropolis of the Church of the Savior of Irkutsk, which existed from 1672 [20, p. 133] to the late 60s - early 70s of the XVIII century. [11, p. 165], Sayan prison (from the first quarter to the end of the XVIII century.) [25, p. 241, fig. 1-6]. A cross with a crucifix made of tin-lead alloy was found, similar to the cross from burial No. 4, during the excavations of the camp of Vitus Bering (1741-1742) [22, pp. 54-55, 114-116, fig. 18]. In the monograph "The Millennium of the Cross", a similar type is known in three copies from Central Russia, which are part of a private collection of 40 late Medieval crosses [26, p. 60]. Only for one of them the place of discovery is indicated Smolensk. The same copy is as close as possible in design to the cross from burial No. 4. According to archaeological materials from the territory of Ukraine, this type of crucifix dates back to the XVII- XVIII centuries [21, p. 125, fig. 8].

The dating of crosses from the Spassky churchyard of Tobolsk generally fits into the XVII-XVIII centuries. I.V. Balyunov dated the functioning of the cemetery at this church to the time interval between 1687 and 1772 [9, p. 13]. Thus, the chronology of the crosses of this type from burials No. 4 and No. 8 does not contradict the known dates of similar finds, and date from 1680-1770.

As already noted, the cross from burial No. 4 stands out against the background of the usual forms of these cult products and requires an explanation of its origin. A.V. Ryndina, who studied a similar cross with a crucifix from the camp of V. Bering, came to the conclusion that it was made in Russia according to Western models due to the order of the original owner, who did not belong to the Orthodox world. The abundance of Gothic motifs gave the author reason to assume the origin of the original owner from the Baltic States, Eastern German lands or Northern European countries [22, pp. 114-116].

S.V. Gnutova attributes the beginning of the widespread distribution of images of the instruments of the passion of Christ from the end of the XVII century. The influence of secular Baroque art is especially felt in the ornamentation of Russian crosses of the XVII-XVIII centuries. The iconographic sources were the works of the XIV-XVI centuries, which penetrated through Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. The main center for the manufacture of crosses with this symbolism in the XVII-XIX centuries is Moscow, from where they spread to other regions of Russia [13].

V.I. Molodin, who paid close attention to the few crosses with the crucifixion of Christ from the Ilimsky prison, that is, belonging to the morphological type 7 considered by us, expressed a point of view similar to S.V. Gnutova. He suggested that the roots of the series of crosses he considered were Polish "Latin", which also had the influence of secular Baroque art [24, pp. 84-85].

In general, sharing the point of view of the researchers, it should be noted that the version of the territorial centers for the production of such crosses is insufficiently elaborated, which is due to insufficient documentation of such finds of fine plastics throughout Russia.

Conclusion

The analyzed two identical crucifixes from the materials of the 2022 excavations at the Church of the Savior in Tobolsk are quite rare. The cross from burial No. 8 is made of copper, from burial No. 4 it is made of a white bronze alloy. They are dated by us in the range of 1680-1770. The presented type has analogies in Siberia, European Russia, and Ukraine, and, judging by publications, it is more common in Siberia.

When comparing similar types of crosses, common and distinctive features can be noted. Simple copper crosses had a simple decoration, whereas crosses made using visually eye-catching materials (tin-lead alloy, silver, gilding, enamel) were decorated more efficiently. As a rule, such products, which are unusual in design, have various attributes of the Passion Cycle. The cross from burial No. 4 is from this category.

Its distinctive feature is that no complete analogy has been revealed in the set of elements of the Passion Cycle according to the published stavrographic finds. Similar types of crosses with the image of an angel in the middle cross have not been found. Historiography holds the view that the iconographic source for their creation was European works that penetrated into Russia through Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus, which were greatly influenced by baroque secular art. The center of their manufacture is considered to be Moscow, from where they are distributed throughout Russia. Sharing this point of view, we note that the version of the territorial centers of cross production requires a more serious argument, which is due to insufficient documentation and analysis of such finds.

Fig. 1. The cross from burial No. 4.

Fig. 2. The cross from burial No. 4. Drawing.

Fig. 3. The cross from burial No. 8.

References
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2. Adamov, A.A. (2001). Report on the works on the territory of the Tobolsk Kremlin in 2001. SA THAMR, doc. 1731.
3. Adamov, A.A. (2005). Report on archeological research on the territory of the Tobolsk Museum-Reserve in 2004. Archive of IA RAS.
4. Adamov, A.A., Balyunov, I.V., Danilov, P.G. (2006). Exploration works in the mouth of the Sibirka River. Problems of archeology, ethnography, anthropology of Siberia and adjacent territories (Proceedings of the Annual Session of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography SB RAS 2006), vol. XII, part I, 242-248.
5. Anoshko, O. M. (2011). Kresty-telniki from the cultural layer of Tobolsk. Russian culture in archaeological research: interdisciplinary methods and technologies, 259-267.
6. Anoshko, O.M. (2021). Analysis of cross-telniki from the excavations of the first Russian cities of Siberia. Russian culture in archaeological research: archaeology of the North of Russia, 1, 116-122. doi:10.31630/978-5-6040401-4-0-2021-1-116-122
7. Balyunov, I. V. (2014). Pectoral cross from the cultural layer of the XVII century of the city of Tobolsk . Bulletin of Novosibirsk State University. Series: History, philology, 13(3), 218-225.
8. Balyunov, I. V. (2007). Report on archaeological research at the site «Spasskaya Church» in 2007. Archive of IA RAS.
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11. Berdnikov, I.M. (2012). Cross-bearers from the necropolis of the Spasskaya Church of Irkutsk. Vestnik NSU, 11(7), 164-178.
12. Vinokurova, E. P. (1999).Metal cast crosses-telniki of the XVII century. Culture of medieval Moscow of the XVII century, 326-360.
13. Gnutova, S.V. (1994). Instruments of the Passion of Christ on Russian crosses of the XVII-XIX centuries. Filevskie Readings, 68-86.
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In the late 1980s, under the conditions of the collapse of the official communist ideology that had prevailed for more than seventy years, a spiritual vacuum was formed, which was quickly filled by religion. Already in 1988, during the solemn celebration of the millennium of the baptism of Russia, atheistic literature disappeared from bookshelves, and there was a need for serious scientific research of Christian doctrine. And today, the increased attention to Christianity causes the importance of research work. These circumstances determine the relevance of the article submitted for review, the subject of which is the finds of crosses from the churchyard of the Church of the Savior of Tobolsk. The author aims to show an overview of the study of Tobolsk stavrography, analyze the excavations at the walls of the Church of the Savior in Tobolsk, and describe two copies of the crosses found. The work is based on the principles of analysis and synthesis, reliability, objectivity, the methodological basis of the research is a systematic approach, which is based on the consideration of the object as an integral complex of interrelated elements. The author also uses a comparative method. The scientific novelty of the article lies in the very formulation of the topic: the author seeks to characterize the new finds of crosses from the churchyard of the Church of the Savior of Tobolsk. Considering the bibliographic list of the article, its scale and versatility should be noted as a positive point: in total, the list of references includes 26 different sources and studies. Among the works attracted by the author, we note the works of O.M. Anoshko, E.P. Zagvazdin, whose focus is on the study of archaeological finds of crosses. Note that the bibliography is important both from a scientific and educational point of view: after reading the text of the article, readers can turn to other materials on its topic. In general, in our opinion, the integrated use of various sources and research contributed to the solution of the tasks facing the author. The style of writing the article can be attributed to a scientific one, at the same time accessible to understanding not only to specialists, but also to a wide readership, to anyone interested in both the history of Christianity in general and stavrography in particular. The appeal to the opponents is presented at the level of the collected information received by the author during the work on the topic of the article. The structure of the work is characterized by a certain logic and consistency, it can be distinguished by an introduction, the main part, and conclusion. At the beginning, the author defines the relevance of the topic, shows that "as the volume of repair and restoration work in the historical part of Tobolsk has expanded since the early 2000s, emergency excavations at the site of cemeteries that previously existed at churches have become an important source for studying not only the funeral rite, but also stavrography." The author draws attention to the fact that "during the analysis, the description of crosses was carried out based on typologies developed by E.P. Vinokurova and V.I. Molodin." At the same time, the dating of "crosses from the Spassky churchyard of Tobolsk generally fits into the XVII-XVIII centuries." The work shows the common and distinctive sides of the crosses found: "Simple copper crosses had a simple decoration, whereas crosses made using visually eye-catching materials (tin-lead alloy, silver, gilding, enamel) were decorated more efficiently." The author notes that "such extraordinary products, as a rule, have various attributes of the Passion Cycle." The main conclusion of the article is that this type of crosses "has analogies in Siberia, European Russia, Ukraine, and, judging by the publications, it is more common in Siberia." The article submitted for review is devoted to an urgent topic, is provided with 3 drawings, will arouse readers' interest, and its materials can be used both in lecture courses on the history of Russia and in various special courses. In general, in our opinion, the article can be recommended for publication in the journal Genesis: Historical Research.