St. Nikolay Church

The small village church of Listvyanka can look back to an ever-changing history. A legend from the 19th century has it that the Russian merchant Xenofont Serebjakov was on a journey through the Baikal region when his ship became non-seaworthy as a result of an accident. At the time being there was no alternative to the ship, therefore Serebjakov had to stay in Listvjanka for an undetermined period of time. But he never gave up, he prayed for protection and to St. Nikolai, the patron saint of the seafarers. It seemed like a miracle when St. Nikolai appeared before the eyes of Serebjakov to help him find a ship.

He was so grateful that he began to build a wooden church at the source of the Angara river. He never lived to see the completion of this church, his wife Natalja, however, pressed ahead with the construction of the church, so that it could be hallowed in 1864.

However, only a few years later the church was relocated to the shore of Lake Baikal and as soon as 1957 the church had to change its location again. With the construction of the hydroelectric power station in Irkutsk the water level of Lake Baikal rose and the church had to be rebuilt in the safe valley of Krestovskij.

Religious Russians and Mongolians used the church despite the change of location, but it only when it was used as a setting for the film "Swesda Plenitelnowo Stschastja" about the history of the decabrists at Lake Baikal.

In contrast to the fate of many other churches in the former Soviet Union, the church survived de-christianization during the communism period and was completely restored in the 1950s. Beside the original icons from the 18th century, the opportunity was used to move icons from churches in Irkutsk to this church.

There are still regular services on Sundays as well as on Bank Holidays.


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17 Feb 2006

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