before and after? ( the details are mixing up now ) the forest walk we also visited two catherdrals. The catherdral of St Nicolas and the Spassky catherdral. The first was awaiting renovation and even Olga had never been inside it before. The women have to wear an apron over trousers and something over their head upon entering churches, there is usually a selection to borrow at the door. So beautiful, the crumbing plaster work adding to the sense of history and timeless devotion.
The church of t Nicolas has two floors so that they could accommodate the big congregation, to get upstairs we walked across dry crumbling timbers, through narrow walkways and up tiny narrow stairs. Health and Saftey would not have allowed us at home, nor is their any wheelchair access for visitors.
The top floor contained a high dome with faded murals, Shishkin ( or his father ? ) had gathered all the finest and best artists to work on this. There was a philosophy that if you do works oof charity you do them for your sould, not for advertisment ( good PR ), so it was only many many years later when going through archives that people discovered what large sums of money that the rich merchants of Yelabuga had donated to the churches and town projects.
During the communist era they had used the buildings as store houses and let them crumble. Seeing the religious devotion in people it seems to me that they never broke with their religious it must have continued underground just waiting to burst free again. At the moment the buildings Are all requiring reonovation, slowly slowly to bring them back to their former glory.