From the history of the Church of the Transfiguration repairs and restoration
In the course of its almost 300-year existence the Church of Transfiguration has undergone a lot of repairs and restorations.
In the beginning of the 19 th century the church was significantly changed when in 1818 its log walls were planked and in 1822 the domes were covered with roofing iron.
In 1865 the walls settling was recorded as well as the floor deformation caused by the lack of foundation.It was necessary to repair all of the 22 domes and to lay the foundation under the settled walls. Next year a secretary of the Province Construction Department Petrov prepared the schedule and estimated the costs for the repair of the Church of the Transfiguration. During the repair works in 1870 the walls were covered on the outside with «new sawed boards» and painted with oil paints. Inside the church the walls were planked and new floors were laid. In 1897 the inside planking was painted.
In 1900 the roof covered with iron was also painted.
In 1965 due to the significant deterioration of its condition, the Church of the Transfiguration was closed to carry out the repair aimed at strengthening of those sections of the upper octahedrons which were in the poorest condition, installing the stiffeners and replacing some logs.It was also planned to dismantle the iconostasis and the sky icons as well as to lay the foundation under the walls.
During the repair the widening walls’ logs of the upper octahedrons were temporarily strengthened by fixing them to the walls of the inner octahedrons with the help of steel wire ropes.
In April 1965 the walls were strengthened with stiffeners, the buckling and shifting of the altar walls were eliminated; inserts were made, some logs of widening walls were replaced.
In July 1966 the restoration was completed. The church interior was ready for visitors
But in 1968 it was again stated that the Church of the Transfiguration was in an emergency condition.
In 1971 K. K. Karlsen, a professor of the Military Engineering Academy named after V. Kuibyshev, prepared his conlusion concerning the engineering design for restoration and strengthening of the bearing members of the Church of the Transfiguration. He emphasized the need for emergency measures to be taken due to the very poor condition of the connecting quadrangle. In 1973 E. Gendel, a specialist from Moscow recorded the poor condition of all structures and members of the Church of the Transfiguration in general. He confirmed the need for carrying out strengthening of the building. On the basis of the above-mentioned conclusions the walls were additionally stiffened, the bearing members of the domes and of the ceiling («the sky») structures were strengthened. Next year the emergency repair of «the sky» was carried out including re-construction and strengthening of its radial elements («tyabla»). In September 1974 the basic and middle wall zones of the church as well as its corners were subjected to chemical treatment. In 1975 a group of speciaists of the Wood Working Industry Research Institute under the guidance of I. Kopaev started the study of the condition of the church with the aim to develop the chemical treatment measures to be carried out without dismantling the church walls.
In February 1979 the emergency condition of some members was again recorded. In accordance with the Order of the Karelian Republic Council of Ministers dated August 6, 1980 the Church of the Transfiguration was closed due to its poor condition for the period of the emergency work carrying out. In September 1980 the preparation work started according to the Project developed by the specialists of the «Spetsproektrestavratsia» (‘Special restoration projects») Institute.
In 1980 the critical condition of the church as a whole was recorded. The total dismantling and reconstruction was of the church was offered with maximum use of ald logs.
Cutting and storing of high — quality timber was foreseen.
In February 1981 the emergency work was started.It included installation of counterforts and rigidity panels, strengthening of the ceiling, dismantling of the choir stalls, floors and installation of the foundation for the metal structures. In 1982 the wall logs and floor boards were marked. The installation of metal structures was performed with serious drawbacks: numerous cuts were made in logs, unnecessary through holes were made for fixing metal brackets; the log elements hindering the metal frame installation were removed…
In 1984 the installation of wall supporting structures was completed.It was carried out under the guidance of N. Smirnov, Chief Engineer of the «Spetsproektrestavratsia» Institute, B. Zaitsev Chief Architect, and Ju. Naumov, the foreman of the Kizhi construction team. The assembly team was headed by V. Dovgard.
In December 1984 it was found out that the roof details are in a poor condition and require urgent repair and restoration measures. Carpenters-restorers from Karelia, Moscow, Leningrad, Kazan and Kostroma took part in the roof restoration during the period from 1986 to 1988.
Simultaneously with the roof restoration, some members were repeatedly treated with chemical solution (grating of the central dome, the cross and other details) and the cross-bar ends of the crosses were coated with the mixture of colophony and turpentine.
The shingles of the domes and ‘bochka-roofs» of the 3 rd tier were fixed upon the layer of ruberoid. Birchbark layer was used while reconstructing the drains, as well as on some domes. Details made of new material, e. g. crosses, ridge beams, gutters, drains and shingles were treated with oleoresin (its composition: colophony, turpentine and drying oil). In August 1987, 16 sections damaged by lichen, death-watch beetles and high-degree sapwood destruction underwent a preventive treatment including 7 coating with 6% solution of special chemical performed by brush method. The total area of 16 sections treated was 191 m 2.
Later some other zones of the church were treated against fungi with pentachlorophenol manufactured by Kemira Company (Finland) with the help of a paintsprayer and brush. In 1992 while repairing the refectory roof it was decided to prevent the damage by fungi with the help of «Ermet» — a fire-and-bioprotective chemical manufactured by «Latvia KONS» Company (250 liters of solution were used).
In 1988 the installation of wall stiffeners was completed, the refectory and the porch were repaired, the latter being completely dismantled and reconstructed.
In 1989 the floor in the refectory was reconstructed to arrange the exhibition «The history of the Church of the Transfiguration restoration» prepared for the ICOMOS Meeting.
By the beginning of the 1988 navigation season the scaffolding was removed from the Church of the Transfiguration. The roof reconstruction work was carried out under supervision of Kizhi Museum (A. Jaskelainen, Technical Superviser and S. Kulikov, Chief Architect).
During the period from 1988 up to the present time the Projects for Restoration and Engineering Strengthening of the church have been discussed and developed by the Russian and foreign specialists. (See Section: «Researchers of the Church of the Transfiguration»).