Unforgettable Flourishing of White Idea
At the exhibition and in the extensive accompanying study, ”Orthodox churches and chapels in Serbia from the opus of Russian emigrant architects” were presented. In addition to architecture, frescoes, iconography, sculpture, woodcarving, scientific and cultural contributions were also covered. There were some exceptional creators, great names. The Slavic and Orthodox spirit, New Byzantium and wide horizons permeated the great renewal of the wounded Serbian lands. That momentum lasted only twenty-three years, and it left amazing fruits

By: Dejan Đorić

It seems that one of the better exhibitions held in our capital during the month of March passed without the media attention it deserves. The exhibition ”Serbian Church Russian Hand” was made possible by the cooperation of numerous participants in the project, whose authors are Ivan R. Marković and Jelena Mežinski-Milovanović. It was organized in the Russian Cultural Center and accompanied by a 216-page publication published by the Heraldic Club from Belgrade. The full title of the book is Serbian Church, Russian Hand. Orthodox Churches and Chapels in the Territory of Serbia from the Opus of Russian Emigrant Architects (Architecture and Frescoes 1918–1941). The large part of the exhibition and the book with a historical introduction and analysis of the work of individual architects was done by Ivan R. Marković and Jelena Mežinski-Milovanović was engaged in ”church painting and sculpture of Russian emigrants in the Kingdom of SCS / Yugoslavia”, including also the origins of learned thought, creators and works. She is the most competent of our art historians to cover this topic because she is of Russian origin, and the topics and ideas presented in the exhibition and the book are deeply connected with the Serbian and Byzantine tradition and events from the first half of the 20th century.
Dragoš Kalajić noticed well – why is the Western world so agitated about Hitler’s killing for racial reasons and not Lenin’s and Stalin’s for class reasons. The utopia of a classless, communist society could, in some other, ideal conditions, take on the attributes of an absolute Christian state, Marxist Karl Kautsky dealt with communism as a form of Christianity, but it turned into the ugliest face of a state of terror and fear, camps and persecution and, what is even worse, as such it has become a model for all dictatorial communist regimes. The imperial Russia was overthrown by plebeians but also by intellectuals and even many aristocrats who had been against the crown since the Decembrists, preparing the revolution and taking an active part in it. The result was Lenin’s bloody terror, the demise of the nation-state, the economy, the villages and the church. From the October Revolution of 1917, 2,000,000 Russian souls were saved by emigrating, and millions were killed. In the homeland, avant-garde atheist art, a form of iconoclasm, triumphed over the traditional Christian and classical one, but there were ways of salvation. The Russians emigrated chaotically in several directions, to the north, through the Baltic states, to the south toward Turkey and Greece, and to the west through Bulgaria and Sofia. Paris and Berlin soon became major centers of Russian expatriates, followed by New York. It is exemplary that they organized themselves, building churches, helping two leading Orthodox theological faculties in the West and launching a publishing house. King Aleksandar Karađorđević was grateful to the Russian emperor for his decisive help in World War One, and his ambassador in Moscow slapped Lenin at a reception in front of the entire diplomatic corps. Thus, since its founding, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was a refuge for numerous Russian immigrants. They were accompanied by 1,200 engineers and over 500 architects, as well as numerous painters ”who will have a prominent role in the future construction of war-torn Serbia in the newly founded Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes” (Ivan R. Marković). However, it was not only artists, photographers, sculptors and comic artists who came here; life in the capital and Serbia was improved by Russian ballet and theater artists, set and costume designers, musicians, doctors, dentists, surveyors and others. Architect Predrag Ristić hung out with their children and remembered that Russian technical draftsmen had been even better than German ones, and the author of these lines remembers his parents telling him about the exceptionality of Russian doctors. As a boy, Nemanja Đorić was seriously ill at the beginning of World War II, when there was no medicine in Serbia. A Russian doctor saved his life, he cured him with suction cups, the ancient oriental method and ammonium chloride powder.


The king acted wisely, allowing the imperial experts to be at the forefront of the renewal of Serbia, giving them conditions for work without any discrimination. Some of the artists who worked in Belgrade were the great architect Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov, who built more buildings than other immigrants here, painter Stepan Feodorovich Kolesnikov, whom Repin considered his best student and whose work is presented in a recently published monograph in Russia, the great Byzantine scholar Okunev and George Ostrogorsky, who would remain the most important scholar in the field of Byzantine studies and Serbian School of Medieval Studies, Nina Kirsanova who founded the Serbian Ballet and others. An official institution, the State Commission for Aid to Russian Refugees, was established, which had the resources, program and mission to take care of the fraternal people, most often arriving through the Yugoslav ports of Dubrovnik and Kotor.
”After 1929, due to the lack of qualified architects, the Russians met sufficient criteria for construction in inland cities, which is why not a small number were employed in the administrative centers of the newly formed counties, but primarily with the majority Serb population, such as Niš, Banja Luka, Cetinje, Skopјe, Novi Sad and Sarajevo” (I. R. Marković). They were also employed at the Department of Architecture of the Technical Faculty, as well as at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade. The most capable, 120 of them, worked in the Architectural Department of the Ministry of Construction, and George Kovalevski was in 1920 entrusted with the task of drafting the General Urban Plan of Belgrade until 1923, as well as a detailed elaboration of the reconstruction of Kalemegdan Park. Belgrade was the center of Byzantine studies, which was finally crowned with the organization of the First Byzantine Congress, and the idea of ​​New Byzantium is present among all Russian architects and some Serbian developers, such as Petar J. Popović, Momir Korunović, Aleksandar Deroko and others. These aspirations will disappear in the new historical circumstances, when after the World War II the Russians again fled from the Soviets and when the aggressive style of international modernism appeared. The national interwar style introduced the aesthetics of the Middle Ages, looking for role models in Studenica, Gračanica and Ljubostinja. Only Vasiliy Androsov built 22 churches here in that spirit, and Viktor Viktorović Lukomski, co-author of the court complex in Dedinje, also stands out. The community of Russian immigrants also had its own Church of the Holy Trinity on Tašmajdan, which was built around 1930 by Valery Vladimirovich Stashevski, along with numerous assignments from his bureau. The Russian clergy actively participated in the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Faculty of Theology.
Russian immigrant artists have also made a great contribution in the field of church painting – iconography and frescoes, wood carvings, stone reliefs and church furniture in Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia. Here they developed the cult of St. Nicholas, patron saint of the Romanovs and St. Alexander Nevsky. There were circles of associates. The most important is the group that, together with Sergei Nikolayevich Smirnov, court librarian, archaeologist, art historian, antiquities researcher, collector, numismatist, cultural representative, artist and civil engineer, furnished the interior of the Karađorđević family mausoleum, the Church of St. George in Oplenac.
Russian restorers and conservators of church frescoes, copyists, photographers, woodcarvers, stonemasons and sculptors also worked in Serbia, and scientists Vladimir Moshin and George Ostrogorski researched Hilandar. In more than 200 churches, mausoleums, chapels, parish homes and monastery lodgings, Russian artists have deeply intertwined the Orthodox spiritual being.


Scientific Testimony
As the architect Stevan J. Mićić writes in the preface to this book, ”it was a time when a strong state motivated work and mind to act, and inspired tradition and brotherhood by its own example”. Authors I. R. Marković and J. Mežinski-Milovanović left a superb scientific testimony about that period, not only because of the scientific apparatus, but also by the scope of research. Thanks to them, the exceptional creativity of the white emigration, which flourished in Serbia for only 23 years and left so much fruits, is more visible.


There were also circles of Andrey Vasilyevich Bishchenko, Pimen Sofronov, Ivan Meljnikov, then independent icon painters and professional painters who occasionally painted icons, such as Kolesnikov and Repin’s student Elena Andreevna Kiseleva.


From now on you
can buy National Review at Trafika sales outlets

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 81 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 80 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 79 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 78 - руски

Serbia - National Review - Tourism 2020

Србија - национална ревија - Број 77

Србија - национална ревија - Број 76

Србија - национална ревија - Број 75
Србија - национална ревија - ФранкфуртСрбија - национална ревија - МоскваСрбија - национална ревија - Москва
Србија - национална ревија - ПекингСрбија - национална ревија - број 74
Србија - национална ревија - број 73

Србија - национална ревија - број 72Туризам 2019.
Србија - национална ревија - број 71
Србија - национална ревија - број 70Србија - национална ревија - број 69Србија - национална ревија - број 68Србија - национална ревија - број 67Tourism 2018
Србија - национална ревија - број 66
Serbia - National Review - No 65
Serbia - National Review - No 64Србија - национална ревија - број 63
Србија - национална ревија - број 62
Србија - национална ревија - број 61

Србија - национална ревија - број 60
Србија - национална ревија - број 59
Serbia - National Review - No 59
Serbia - National Review - No 58

Serbia - National Review - No 56
Serbia - National Review - No 55
Serbia - National Review - No 54
Tourism 2016
Српска - национална ревија - број 53
Српска - национална ревија - број 12-13
Srpska - National Review - No 12-13
Serbia - National Review - No 51

Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 48
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46Serbia - National Review - No 46, russianSerbia - National Review - No 45Srpska - No 6
SRPSKA - National Review - No 5Tourism 2014SRPSKA - No 2
Tourism 2013
SRPSKA - National Review - Special Edition

Battle above Centuries
Legends of Belgrade
History of the Heart


Чувар светих хумки
Србија од злата јабука - друго издање
Orthodox Reminder for 2013
Пирот - Капија Истока и Запада
Беочин - У загрљају Дунава и Фрушке Горе
Србија, друмовима, пругама, рекама
Србија од злата јабука
Туристичка библија Србије

Коридор X - Европски путеви културе
Београд у џепу
Тло Србије, Завичај римских царева
Добродошли у Србију