Beautiful White Sea monastery turned GULAG camp

[IOANNIKII, I.F., Archimadrite]

Istoriia pervoklassnogo stavropigialnogo Solovetskogo monastyria

[History of Stavropegic first-class Solovetsky Monastery]

Publication: Evdokimov, Skt Peterburg, 1899.

[IOANNIKII, I.F., Archimadrite], Istoriia pervoklassnogo stavropigialnogo Solovetskogo monastyria

Very good copy of this uncommon illustrated history of one of the most famous monasteries of Russia. With two large folding plans.

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Detailed illustrated history of this celebrated fortified monastery founded in the 1430s on an island of the White Sea – before becoming the first corrective labour camp of the Communist regime after the Revolution, and an early member of the GULAG system.

With many full-page photographic plates and two large folding maps: of the Solovki islands and of the surrounding region. The author of the book, being the head of the monastery, represented the monastery historiographic school. Before him, Archimandrite Dosifei published a major work on the history of the monastery in 1833. Both authors relied on a wide range of archival documents: letters of honour and imperial letters, decrees, orders of the Synod, diplomatic correspondence, monastery household documentation.

Archimandrite Ioannikii, unlike his predecessor, paid great attention to the internal, everyday life of the monks, the construction and development of the monastery, the work of various monastery services, workshops and schools.


Ia. D. Iagunov, 1936 (dated stamp to title); Avenir Nizoff (émigré, musician, and book collector who lived in Edmonton, Canada).

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Physical Description

Quarto (30 x 23 cm). VIII incl. title and t.o.c., 225, [2] pp., with 27 plates of photographic reproductions, some double-page, and 2 folding plans loosely inserted.


Publisher’s maroon cloth with gilt lettering to upper cover, flat spine lettered in gilt.


A bit rubbed, more on the edges and corners, bumped, spine lettering oxidized; minimal occasional foxing, but overall very fresh internally.

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