Medieval Russians Built Churches in One Day to Ward Off Epidemics

In the middle ages, many Russian communities, especially in the Novgorod and Pskov regions, believed in building churches as response to calamities raging at that time, most often epidemics. The tradition known as obydennye khramy requires that the church be completed within the course of a single day. These one-day votive churches were built by communal labor and were simple in design and small in size. Construction usually began at night and ended before sunset of the following day. By nightfall, the church had to be consecrated. Made of wood, they stood no more than 40-50 years.

obydennye khramy church

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A “modern” one-day votive church being erected in Chersonesus, near Sevastopol, Crimea, in 2015 in a bid to revive the ancient tradition.


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