​St. Dmitry Donskoy

Mass at St Dmitry Donskoy; from Letters from Russia by Field-Marshal Count Helmuth von Moltke.

Sunday August 1855. We drove to the convent of St Dimitri Donskoj, a complete fortress with battlemented walls and towers. The church is very beautiful, high, and unusually light; the Iconostasis, which is covered with gold and pictures up to a hundred feet high, is of exceeding splendor. We heard mass, and had enough of the constant repetition of `gospodi pomiluf as the priest raised the bread high above his head and carried it through the Emperor's door; he shut this behind him and was seen through the golden lattice in a cloud of incense, the sparkling jewels of his tiara flashing here and there as he moved. Then there was a tinkling and some mysterious movements, after which the voices of the singers were heard as they began one of those wonderful melodies, which in Russia alone can be heard in such perfection! Who could have expected to hear in this place such voices and such execution? We remained motionless until the singing ceased, the doors opened, and the priests displayed the miracle to the kneeling multitude.