Built in 1914, the Cathedral of the Ascension still stands and functions as one of the primary Russian Orthodox churches of Novosibirsk. The other primary Cathedral, the Nevskij Cathedral built the century prior and in a Neo-Byzantine style, I included in a post a few days back.
I visited the Cathedral of the Ascension on a Sunday evening as the sun was setting. Fresh snow covered the golden domes and blue shades reflected from the sky onto the exterior walls seemed to melt into the darkening evening. Entering the grounds and circling the buildings was cold, but magical as I watched individuals enter and exit this sacred threshold making the sign of the cross through the frozen air.
At last Gleb and I entered the church, which was completely packed and in the middle of a service. This didn’t seem to hinder people from just stopping in for 5 or 10 minutes– some toting a child and others with a few plastic sacks of groceries. Some were standing mesmerized following every motion of the Priest. Other were independently whispering as they lit a candle, and myself standing in the background trying to take in everything around me surrounded by this dark candle-illuminated space. One of the first things I noticed was a familiar favorite scent, that specific of Russian Orthodox cathedrals: fresh beeswax candles. Then my eyes wandered across the walls and ceilings, which were covered from corner to window sill and the central dome with images of deeply saturated tones and gilding. Then I listened. The service being chanted was in a Russian that was extremely difficult to understand. I asked Gleb if he could understand it and he said just a bit, but that was because it was being delivered in Old Russian. We stayed for about 20 minutes and then tucked out with a few other individuals and families. Even with the temperature so frigid outside, between those wooden walls it was plenty toasty, however too toasty after 20 minutes in a down coat and wool layers.