Sketch design of the facades of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste church

This facade decoration design was developed by Prohram Studio as part of the project group of the Guild of Church Builders under the leadership of Andrey Anisimov.

The building of the orthodox church of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste in Krasnodar consists of the main temple, the baptistery, and the bell tower.

The facades of the church are decorated with stone bas-reliefs. They are made of limestone, which was used in the construction and decoration of many Old Russian churches. Some examples are the Intercession Church on the Nerl, the Transfiguration Cathedral in Pereslavl, Saint Demetrius Cathedral and the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir, the Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal, and Saint George Cathedral in Yuryev-Polsky. The bas-reliefs are decorated with a mosaic of golden smalto. This material has been used for this type of Christian art since Byzantine times.

The dominant feature of the building is the high tetrahedral bell tower. On its western facade, to the right of the entrance to the main church, there is a single multicolored element of the design. This is the mosaic panel in a carved frame depicting the Ascension of the Lord. The image of the Ascension of Jesus Christ - the God-man who rose human nature to Heaven - recalls the spiritual exaltation to which each of us is called. Above the panel is a bas-relief with carved words that the Savior said at the moment of His Ascension: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The carved inscription is surrounded by images of the Seraphim. According to Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, these are incorporeal forces representing the highest angelic rank and capable of elevating lower beings, and spiritually inflaming their hearts. The composition is crowned by the Cross.

Location: Krasnodar, Russia
Architecture: Andrey Anisimov Studio
Façade decoration design: Prohram Studio together with Andrey Anisimov Studio
Artists: Dmitry Ostroumov, Tatiana Agafonova, Alesia Petsko, Irina Brel
Year: 2022
On the southern facade of the bell tower, there is a bas-relief with the image of the patron saints of the church - the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, depicted at the moment of their agonizing death. According to tradition, they were warriors who accepted death in icy water for their fearless confession of the faith in Christ, circa 320.

On the arches of the bell tower, there are symbolic images of the evangelists. On the western facade, there is Matthew in the form of an angel. On the northern facade, there is Luke in the form of a calf. On the eastern facade, there is Mark in the form of a lion. On the southern facade, there is John in the form of an eagle.

The entrance to the basement is decorated with a carved inscription: “The building of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste Orthodox Church.” Higher, above the entrance to the main church on the south side, there is a carved icon of Our Lady of the Sign. In the conch of the main church, there will be the same iconographic image of the Mother of God. The entrance group is decorated with carved waist icons of the Archangels. On the western side, there is Archangel Michael, and on the eastern side, there is Archangel Gabriel.

On the western side, above the entrance to the main church, there is a carved icon of the Savior, known as Acheiropoieton or Mandylion. It reproduces the first icon in Christian history, the imprint of the Savior’s face on the canvas. Above the entrance to the baptistery, there is a carved half-length icon of Saint John the Baptist, with kneeling angels standing by.

On the apse of the main church (the eastern facade), there is a carved full-height image of the Mother of God. It is inspired by the Valaam icon of the Mother of God. On the apse of the baptistery, there is a carved Cross.

On the north side, there is a covered gallery with a portal. On the arch of the portal, there is a carved icon of the Holy Trinity. Its composition refers to the famous image painted by Saint Andrei Rublev.

The windows have ceramic framing. Its color scheme is dominated by cool shades of blue, reminding us of the water element and thus referencing the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. On the northern facade, the windows are framed with carved floral ornaments with images of the Cross and the Chi Ro sign.