Design: Prohram Studio together with the Guild of Church Buildres (Andrey Anisimov Studio)
Project: Sketch design of the interior of the lower church and the mourning hall of the Protection of the Theotokos Church in Mytishchi
Location: Mytishchi, Russia
Managers of the project: Dmitry Ostroumov, Andrey Anisimov
Artists: Anton Daineko, Alesia Petsko, Irina Brel
Architects: Dmitry Ostroumov, Maria Koroleva
3D visualisations: Maxim Kanoplich
Year: 2022
The decoration of the church walls has always been of great importance. The frescoes are both a sermon and a narrative about the life of the world and the path of salvation. Therefore, every plot and every symbol depicted in the temple carries its own idea and has an important meaning for the upbringing of a person in God. The main prayer hall of the Mytishchi church symbolizes the New Testament and the life of Christ and the saints in the new world. The premises of the underground level are designed as a narrative about the Old Testament world. It represents the path from Creation of Man towards the New Testament, when Man meets Christ in person. In this world, there is still death, but there is already hope for Salvation and the new coming of Christ. This theme resonates with the purpose of the mourning hall - the farewell to life on earth and the transition to eternal life.
The main style of stone elements and frescoes is a combination of Northern Art Nouveau and early Christian catacomb churches.
Mourning hall

The general theme of the interior is the Old Testament and the Creation of the World. The walls of the entire hall are united by the River of Life. Its waters pass through all the scenes depicted on the walls: “Creation of the World. Adam and Eve”, “Lord God Almighty (Lord of the World)”, “Noah’s Ark”, “Jonah in the Belly of the Whale”. The scenes are painted in pastel shades against a warm white background (like the surface of a stone cave). The hall itself is brightly lit, and the frescoes are not contrasted. Two large columns are decorated with lighting sconces. The columns are lightly colored, which allows them to fuse with the overall space.

The compositional center of the hall is the image of the Heavenly World on the gates (sliding partitions) of the eastern wall. It symbolizes the opening path to eternal life. From this image of the heavenly city comes the River that flows along all the walls, looping the composition. The gates are made of bleached metal with stained-glass and yellow brass inserts.

On the right of the gates, there is an image of the Savior. On the left, there is an image of the Mother of God, the Life-Giving Spring. On the floor, the center of the composition is an octahedron. On it, a pedestal is installed for the last farewell to the deceased. The floors are made of raw marble slabs with yellow brass inlays.

The ceilings are light, with small reliefs, even lighter than the main color. Above the octagon on the floor, there is a relief of a circled cross, symbolizing eternity. Floral ascetic ornaments extend from it in visibly distinguished stripes, forming a flourishing cross - a symbol of life. The light tone and lighting create the effect of endless space above.

The general theme of the interior is the transition from earthly life to eternal life.

The floors of the rotunda have a circular composition, symbolizing eternity and the wheel of human existence from Adam to the present day. At the same time, this is the circle of a particular human life. In the center, there is a pedestal for the last farewell to the deceased. Further, in front of the doors to the Dormition Chapel, there is another small circle. It symbolizes the beginning of the path from the cycle of life to eternity. From it, brass rays open into the corridor, indicating the direction of movement to the center of the chapel. In the center of the chapel hall floor, there is a yellow brass eight-pointed star, which is a symbol of Nativity in a new eternal life (Resurrection). The flooring material is the same as in the mourning hall: marble with inlays.
In the vault of the rotunda, there is an early Christian image of Christ in the image of Orpheus. It is surrounded by the Old Testament scenes: “The Three Young Men in the Fiery Furnace with the prophet Daniel”, “Jonah in the belly of the whale”, etcetera. The dome of the rotunda rests on carved columns with capitals in the form of owls, which symbolize worldly wisdom. Above the owls there are crosses, symbolizing Christ’s teaching, which transformed human wisdom. At the bases of the columns, there are decorative cypress trees. They symbolize death and life (it is said that Christ was crucified on a cypress cross).

The images in the rotunda are mosaics made of natural stone (crushed marble with some smalt additions). Mosaic rays go upward from the crosses above the owls. Above the entrance to the corridor and the small circle on the floor, there is a mosaic of an angel with open shrouds. It is alike to the angel that Mary Magdalene saw when she came to the tomb of the Savior.

The walls of the corridor are lined with untreated marble. The size of its pieces gradually decreases from very large at the bottom to small on the ceiling. This creates the atmosphere of an underground cave, where the main source of light is ahead, coming from the windows. In the corridor, there are marble slabs, on which the names of the deceased will later be inlaid with yellow brass. On the walls between them, there are mosaic floral ornaments. At the beginning of the corridor, on the same walls, there are peacocks, birds of paradise, symbolizing the immortality of the soul. In the eastern part, it is proposed to consecrate the altar for the celebration of the Liturgy. Above the altar, there is a ciborium. Inside it, on the wall, there is a mosaic of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands (Mandylion). This image can be seen in the distance from the very beginning of the corridor.

The altar has an inlaid yellow brass outline of an eight-pointed star with a white stone inside it. This is a reference to the Book of Revelation 2:17. The stone symbolizes the new name that the soul receives after the Second Coming when it meets the Lord. Along the perimeter of this side of the altar, this text from the Book of Revelation is inlaid with yellow brass. On the sides of the altar, the crossed mallows are depicted, symbolizing the bread of life - the Eucharist. They also symbolize the bread offered during Proskomedia in memory of the dead.

On the walls on the sides of the altar, there are slabs with an excerpt from the Epistle of the Apostle Paul, comforting the faithful about the fate of the departed.

In the Dormition Chapel itself, the main image is in the dome. It is the icon of Christ with four personified rivers of life that are also mentioned in the Book of Revelation. On the four columns of the chapel, there are stone mosaic images of the cherubim and the Heavenly Jerusalem. To the west, a view of the corridor opens up. To the right and left of it, there are marble images of paradise trees on the marble-lined walls. On the southern and northern sides, there are burial niches in the floor. On the walls behind them, there are mosaic images of archangels. Before the descent into the rotunda, on the wall on the left, there is another image of the archangel with a sword. Its prototype is the archangel guarding the gates of Paradise.

The ceilings are wooden beams on stone brackets.

Throughout the space, there are stone or ceramic sconces on the walls, providing muted light. The chapel, on the contrary, is more brightly lit. Its arches are highlighted with additional lighting.

The altar and the slabs with text to the right and left of it are also illuminated. In the rotunda and chapel, there are thin, graceful Corona Lucis.