On a visit to Sizma people
According to «Vologda Encyclopedia» the old Russian village Sizma was founded in 1460. In old times a road to Vologda laid through Sizma, where handicrafts, trades and commerce were developed.
Today life takes its normal course: stoves are stoked, a cattle is pastured in the meadows, and children study sciences. One can’t notice the originality of this land. It seems that the cultural life in Sizma turns around the Center of traditional national culture with its special creative atmosphere.
Guests are received heartily with bread-and-salt welcome and are certainly taken to the church. Excursions, interactive programs, traditional Russian meals and meetings with interesting people are offered to tourists. And there are a lot of guests arriving to this village.
Sizma people restored and trimmed buildings for museum expositions by their own efforts. So many exponents were accumulated in the Center of traditional national culture – household things, utensils, handicraft articles – that employees of the Center formed special expositions that were named museums – «Bread museum», «Beer museum», «Linen museum», «Museum of Sizma history»…
An iron became the first item in the museum collection that was presented to the Center of traditional national culture by a Sizma native. Today it takes a special place among a great number of exponents. In Bread Museum one can study the secrets of baking and see old tools of a bread-baker such as a millstone, different scales, grain and flour «storehouses» – «dupel’ki» (a container made fr om round timber with hollowed heart). Looking at the size of such «dupel’ki» once can imagine how big trees in Sizma were at those times: one can’t even embrace them with two arms!
In Beer Museum one can study the recipes of making this traditional Russian drink. It’s interesting to know that beer in Sizma was not regarded as an alcoholic drink; it was served in big bowls as a wash-down drink. Guests are treated with special Sizma beer that reminds of delicious kvass.
In Linen Museum one can follow the process of linen production and see different things made from this ecologically pure cloth: towels, table-cloths, garments – from a simple uniform to a smart dress. One can’t stay indifferent to the rich collection of different textile and towels embroidered by a special technique. There are special varieties of towels called as «nakvashniki», «rushniki», «obetnye». The latest ones were made for special occasions: if a child got ill a promise was given to make a towel during one day. The whole family got down to work and then a ready-made towel presented to the church. There were 12 different types of wedding towels in Sizma! Each of them was embroidered with traditional symbolic patterns and has its use. A rich collection of old chests peculiar for their original painting, skills of craftsmen and local colors became a specialty of the museum exposition.
One more museum is «Russian log house». It is a nice two-storied house of old design moved to Sizma from a neighborhood village. In old times the village was built on with such houses.
Center of traditional national culture studies, revives and holds original national holidays and festivities, creates new original programs for everyone interested to take part in. There are a lot of such festivities – X-ms Day, Pancake Week, Easter, Krasnaya Gorka (Red Hill)… Sizma people have their own a fairy-tale character – Emelya. It is the Sizma land wh ere the Pike Lake is. From the reliable sources it is known that the collectors of national folklore borrowed a fairy tale about Emelya from this area.
Icons of the Church of St.Nicolas the Miracle-Worker
This church is very original. It is filled with a spirit of old times and the icons get renewed by some miracle. It’s interesting to know a story about the image of the Icon of the Virgin of Kazan. A Sizma native Klavdia Krutikova brought a big board, black as a coal, that was used by her as a cover to a pan, to the church. The woman remembered that once this board got to her home from the church. That’s why when the church started restored she brought it back. After some time an image of the Virgin appeared on the black board and the icon year by year was renewing without any help of restorers. One more icon renewed by some miracle is the Icon of the Nativity of Christ. The third miracle is the Icon of Seraphim Sarovskiy. Though the edges of the icon are still black the image of the Saint is quite visible.
In the chronicles a holy well was first mentioned in 1678. Due to the legend in the village Kuzminskoye there lived a youth in Gubins’ family who couldn’t walk. Once he dreamed that he would be cured by washing with water that should appear from the ground near the church. In the morning a youth told his dream to his father. His father together with other men put a boy in a stretcher and took him to that place. A miracle happened. Recovery came on the memory date to St.George, Great Martyr and Victory Bearer. That’s why this holy well was named as St.George well. In 2000 the holy well was restored and protected by a tent.
Ringing of church bells flow over the village…
Each Saturday Sizma boys together with their teacher Vladimir Egorov walk up the stairs in the bell tower of Sizma church of St.Nicolas Miracle-Worker. At a height of 5-storied building lessons for bell-ringers are conducted. Vladimir Egorov himself studied the art of bell-ringing from the monks of Trinity lavra of St.Sergius and bell ringers from the Dormition Cathedral of the Rostov Kremlin. Now there are 8 bells in the bell-tower of Sizma church. More than 30 children studied the bell ringing art.
Now the interior of the winter church and the fretted iconostasis are restored. Gradually a summer church is assuming its original appearance. Since August 2006 church services are held. The form of the church is also changing: the domes and crosses are restored; the walls assume a smart whiteness, the second church porch is repaired, a dome with a spire if lifted to the bell-tower.
A Holy Spring of St.Panteleimon Great Martyr and Healer in Pochinok village
The spring is revered because of the icon of St.Panteleimon the Healer painted in Greece in St.Panteleimon monastery on the Aphons. The name of this Saint Great Martyr is called during the sacrament of anointing of the sick, sanctifying of water and praying for the sick. Old-timers of the Minor Sizma remember that the icon was brought from Vologda to the church of Solovarka village. Nowadays the surroundings around the spring are improved. It is one of the most revered places for pilgrims.