The island town of Sviyazhsk is famous for its ancient buildings and unique cultural monuments. The Church of the Trinity occupies a special place, since it is the only wooden church on the island.
The true extent of the architectural thinking of Deacon Ivan Vyrodkov who led the construction of the Sviyazhsk fortress, is difficult to comprehend even for readers with the most vivid imagination. In the Yaroslavl oblast, in the winter of 1551, he led the construction of a wooden Kremlin with towers and churches. The town was initially assembled in Yaroslavl, and then disassembled and taken to Kruglaya Gora where Ivan the Terrible’s army was stationed, since it was of vital importance to establish a transfer point on the way to Kazan.
They carried the wooden fortress along a route of 600 kilometres and the precision which they observed during transport would have been worthy even of a modern-day logistical giant such as DHL. The assembly of the Church of the Trinity can be seen as a spectacular finale to the second construction of the fortress. If legends are to be believed, the frame of the church was erected during the daylight hours of a single day. There are few reasons to doubt this legend: since Ivan the Terrible’s entire army, believed to consist of 75 000 soldiers, took part in the transport and erection of the town.
According to the canons of wooden architecture, the church was constructed without the use of a single nail.
During the Soviet era, the church was neglected: the doors and windows were boarded up. However, the church practically did not decay over this time. One of the secrets of immortality of the old church is considered to lie in the larch wood used in its construction. This type of wood becomes only stronger with the passing of time.
In 2011, restoration work began, and after a year the church was reopened for visits, but work is still ongoing. The entire internal décor of the church is currently being restored, and the observant visitor might notice the appearance of nails in the arch over the entrance to the iconostasis.