- Moscow Region monasteries boast exceptional architectural beauty and miraculous relics and icons are preserved there.
- The layout of the New Jerusalem Monastery in the town of Istra is similar to that of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
- The architectural beauty of the 15th-century Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius - Moscow Region’s largest monastery - inscribed it on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
- Many of the monasteries are former fortresses that guarded access routes to Moscow.
- All of the monasteries are functioning, andvisitors are expected to follow some guidelines for exploringthem.
By the early 20th century, there were dozens of Orthodox monasteries in the Moscow region. Sadly, not all of them were able to survive a century marked with anti-religious campaigns by the Soviet authorities, not to mention the wars which affected every cloister to some extent. Despite the difficulties faced by these monasteries, over the last few years the monasteries around Moscow have been rapidly reconstructed and are now attracting thousands of pilgrims and travellers. Over their history, which spans hundreds of years, monasteries have been glorified by great saints, hermits, and preachers; objects of religious reverence such as miraculous icons and relics are kept in them. The architecture is another attraction; there was heavy investment in their construction and the work of well-known visiting artisans. Medieval monastery complexes will be of interest to those wishing to explore Russian fortification architecture because they played an important role in defending the Russian capital when it was under attack from the west and the south.
You are advised to bear in mind that the monasteries you are going to read about are active monasteries. This means they belong to a particular order and you are expected to follow certain rules. The monks’ living quarters may not be accessible to visitors. According to Orthodox tradition, a woman must enter a church with her head covered, while it is the opposite for a man. Short skirts and revealing clothes are disapproved of. In some monasteries, skirts and scarves can be borrowed at the entrance.
TRINITY LAVRA OF ST. SERGIUS
This is the largest monastery in Russia and one of the most famous sights in Moscow and the Golden Ringa ring of cities northeast of Moscow, that preserve the memory of the most important and significant events in Russian history. Trinity Lavra of St. SergiusRussian: Troitse-Sergiyeva lavra or Троице-Сергиева лавра is located in Sergiyev Posad (Krasnogorskaya squareRussian: Krasnogorskaya ploschad or Красногорская площадь), a town 70 km north-east of the capital. This cloister played a crucial role in Russian history as a spiritual and political centre in the unification of Russian lands around Moscow. It was founded in 1337 by one of the most venerated Russian saints, Sergius of Radonezh (1314 / 1322 – 1392). It was here that St. Sergius blessed Moscow Prince Dmitry Donskoythe first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in Russia before the battle with Tartar Khan Mamai’s army which won Russia the first important victory in its struggle against the yoke of the Golden Hordea Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. The Trinity Monastery of St. SergiusRussian: Troitse-Sergiev monastyr' or Троице-Сергиев монастырь led the stand against conquerors and adventurers in the early 17th century. At the end of the century, the monastery’s support won Peter the Greatruled from 1682 until 1725 the struggle for the throne against Tsarevna (Princess) Sophiaruled as regent of Russia from 1682 to 1689.
The cloister has always been revered by Moscow and Russian rulers who supported it. As a result, a beautiful architectural ensemble was built in the monastery, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993; it includes some unique surviving landmarks of 15th century church architecture. Renowned ancient Russian painters such as Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chyorny worked at the monastery. For example, the world famous “Old Testament TrinityRussian: Troitsa Vetkhozavetnaya or Троица Ветхозаветная” by Rublev was kept in the Cathedral of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius before it was transferred to the Tretyakov GalleryRussian: Tretiakovskaya galereya or Третьяковская галерея. There are many revered relics in the monastery, including the relics of its founder Sergius of Radonezh and his personal belongings.
The New Jerusalem MonasteryRussian: Novoierusalimsky monastyr' or Новоиерусалимский монастырь in the town of Istratown located 40 kilometers west of Moscow is a large-scale project of Russian Patriarch Nikon known for introducing many reforms which eventually led to a lasting schism known as Raskol in the Russian Orthodox Church(1605-1681). As his own residence was being built, he tried to recreate the revered places of the Holy Land. His ambitious project was connected with the idea of building a new centre of the entire Orthodox world from scratch after the weakening of Byzantine. The layout of the monastery Cathedral echoes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The neighbouring localities were also given the names of Palestinian holy sites – the monastery stood on the hill of Sion, adjacent to its wall was Gethsemane; Mount Tabor and the Mount of Olives lay nearby, and the river Istra was renamed Jordan. The monastery is an impressive architectural landmark of the 17th -18th centuries which was constructed and reconstructed afterwards with the use of what was at the time, cutting-edge technology. The best contemporary architects were employed for the project, including B. Rastrelli who designed the Peterhof PalaceRussian: Petergofskiy dvorets or Петергофский дворец in Saint-Petersburg.
This is one of the most interesting, picturesque and well-preserved monasteries near Moscow. It is located on the high hill called StorozhiRussian Сторожи just above the confluence of the river StorozhkaRussian: Сторожка with the river MoskvaRussian: Moskva-reka or Москва-река (Moscow regionRussian: Moskovskaya oblast or Московская область, town of ZvenigorodRussian: Звенигород).
The monastery houses such relics as the holy relics of the founder of the monastery Savva Storozhevsky (died 1407), the founder of the monastery; an icon of St. Panteleimon with a portion of his relics embedded (1915); an icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov with a portion of his relics embedded; an icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh and St. Savva Storozhevsky with portions of their relics embedded; an icon of St. Savva Storozhevsky (17th century), an icon of St. Elisaveta with a portion of her relics embedded, an icon of Blessed Matrona of Moscow with a portion of her relics embedded, an icon of St. Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous with a shoe, the iconostasis of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God (17th century) and the tomb of Blessed Elder Simeon (1748-1812).
The Savvino-Storozhevsky monasteryRussian: Savvino-Storozhevskiy monastyr or Саввино-Сторожевский монастырь was founded in 1398 by monk Venerable Savva Storozhevsky (died in 1407), a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh. The monastery was initially under the patronage of Prince Yury Dmitrievich of Zvenigorod (1374-1434) and of Moscow princes and tsars later. St. Savva Storozhevsky was believed to be patron saint of Moscow rulers, and regular visits to pray and worship his relics became a tradition for them. This generated a substantial flow of capital to the monastery, which provided means for large-scale construction. In the 17th century two tsar’s palaces were added to the monastery: Tsar Alexis I built living chambers for himself (1652-1687) and his first wife Maria Miloslavskaya (1652-1654).
These are unique architectural landmarks because very few palaces built before the 18th century still survive. However, the monastery was not only a spiritual centre and a royal residence but also a fortress whose fortifications stood guard over the western access routes to Moscow. The towers and walls we see now were built in 1650 – 1654. Despite all the upheavals the monastery has witnessed throughout its history, it has survived as a perfectly preserved ensemble of 15 – 19th century buildings. The oldest church in the monastery is the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of GodRussian: sobor Rozhdestva Bogoroditsy or собор Рождества Богородицы built in the early 15th century. This is one of the oldest churches in the Moscow region. Inside, you will find well-preserved fragments of 15-16th century murals which are assumed to have been created by icon painters known to Andrei Rublev. However, most of the buildings appeared in the mid-17th century during the rule of Tsar Alexis I.
Of special interest is an unusually shaped belfry which towers on a kind of original two-story base which houses a church. The largest bells hang in the middle. On both sides there are 4 asymmetrical tent roof towers with smaller bells. Adjacent is a clock tower which used to house a trophy clock and a clock bell returned from the old Russian city of Smolensk which had been captured by Polish armies and won back in 1654.
The Savvino-Storozhevsky monastery is a gem in the crown of Zvenigorod. A great number of tourists visit the town to see it. In addition, the neighbourhood is almost unspoiled by modern buildings and offers a wonderful view, giving an idea of how these places might have looked in the days of the 17th century tsars and monks. Apart from this, the Tsarina’s ChambersRussian: Tsaritsyny palaty or Царицыны палаты house the displays of the Zvenigorod Historical and Architectural Museum-ReserveRussian: Zvenigorodskiy istoriko-arkhitekturnyi i khudozhestvennyi muzey-zapovednik or Звенигородский историко-архитектурный и художественный музей-заповедник.
Besides the gorgeous Kremlin and Red Square, there are a lot of outstanding Moscow historical places. You should visit Novodevichy convent, Moscow cathedral of Annunciation and other unique sights. You can read about them on our website pages “World religions in Moscow” and “History and Architecture”.
Located 100 km south-east of the capital, Kolomna is one of the main tourist destinations in the Moscow Region. Tourists are attracted by the Kolomna KremlinRussian: Kolomenskiy Kreml or Коломенский Кремль, magnificent churches and monasteries, and the famous pastilaa kind of marshmallow. There are two convents on the Kolomna Kremlin premises.
BRUSENSKY ASSUMPTION CONVENT
This cloister was founded in 1552, when, by order of Tsar Ivan the Terribleruled from 1533 to 1584, the Church of the AssumptionRussian: Uspenskaya tserkov' or Успенская церковь was built to honour the capture of Kazan, the capital of the Tatar khanatea medieval Bulgarian-Tatar Turkic state. Its address is 36 Brusensky side streetRussian: Brusenskiy pereulok or Брусенский переулок, Kolomna. Initially, there was a community of monks. Legend has it that the first brethren were soldiers who participated in the Kazan campaign. The origin of the name Brusensky is not known. It is often attributed to the word ‘brusjya’, denoting the beams which the monastery fence was originally made of. In the early 17th century, the monastery fell into disrepair and was later rebuilt as a convent.
It preserves its own relics – a locally revered icon of Our Lady of KazanRussian: ikona Kazanskoy Bozhyey Materi or икона Казанской Божьей Матери, believed to be one of the first copies of the Kazan iconRussian: Kazanskaya ikona or Казанская икона, which miraculously appeared in 1579; the icon “Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Brusensky Convent”Russian: ikona «Svyatye novomuchenitsy i ispovednitsy Brusenskogo monastyrya» or икона «Святые новомученицы и исповедницы Брусенского монастыря», dedicated to the nuns who fell victim to the Soviet repressions; a copy of the icon of the Mother of God “The Inexhaustible CupRussian: Neupivayemaya chasha or Неупиваемая чаша”; an icon of Saint Philaret Metropolitan of Moscow with a portion of his relics embedded and an icon of St. Dimitry Metropolitan of Rostov with a portion of his relics embedded.
The Brusensky Convent had its heyday in the 19th century. The Brusensky nuns were supported by contributions and donations from merchants of Kolomna, which was then an important trading city. The most significant building constructed at the time was the five-domed Cathedral of the Holy Cross (mid-19th century). It is built in the classical style and incorporates elements reminiscent of ancient Russian architecture.
In 1919, the monastery was closed down by Soviet authorities. The nuns were persecuted; five were killed and are now venerated as martyrs in the convent. The architecture of the monastery itself was affected too; the late 18th century gate bell tower was destroyed as well as the domes of the Holy Cross Cathedral. Currently, the monastery is functional again and restoration work is taking place.
The most ancient church in the monastery is the Church of the AssumptionRussian: Uspenskaya tseerkov' or Успенская церковь. It is a sample of early tented roof church architecture. Some other well-preserved monastery constructions are: the fence with narrow decorative turrets in the neo-Gothic style (1820s) and the utility and residential buildings from the mid-19th century. The northern wing of cells now houses a display dedicated to the history of the monastery.
HOLY TRINITY NEW GOLUTVIN MONASTERY
The New Golutvin MonasteryRussian Svyato-Troitsky Novo-Golutvin monastyr or Свято-Троицкий Ново-Голутвин монастырь (11A, Lazareva strRussian: ulitsa Lazareva or улица Лазарева.) is the youngest in Kolomna, founded in 1800. Some of the brethren of the ancient Golutvin monastery located on the outskirts of the town were moved here. Hence the name, the New Golutvin monastery. The main buildings of the surviving complex are older than the monastery as these are the buildings of the bishop’s house, which has been here since 17th century. This church features a combination of old Russian shapes and “Naryshkin baroque” exteriors, i.e., the late 17th century Russian adaptation of the baroque style. Some other well-preserved monastery constructions include the 19th century Church of the IntercessionRussian: Pokrovsky khram or Покровский храм and a number of 18-19th century utility and residential buildings.
The New Golutvin Monastery is one of the jewels in the crown of Sobornaya SquareRussian: Sobornaya ploschad' or Соборная площадь in Kolomna. The small square is also home to the town’s main Cathedral of the AssumptionRussian: Uspensky sobor or Успенский собор, the Church of Tikhvin Mother of GodTserkov' Tikhvvinskoy Bogomateri or церковь Тихвинской Богоматери and the Church of the ResurrectionRussian: Tserkov Voskreseniya Slovushchego or церковь Воскресения Словущего. Its relics are particles of the relics of Evangelist Luke, St. Panteleimon, St. Stephen the Protomartyr, St. George, Prince Alexander Nevskya key figure of medieval Rus' known for his military victories over German and Swedish invaders.
OLD GOLUTVIN MONASTERY
The Epiphany Old Golutvin MonasteryRussian: Bogoyavlensky Staro-Golutvin monastyr or Богоявленский Старо-Голутвин мужской монастырь is located in a picturesque place on the outskirts of Kolomna where the Moskva river runs into the OkaRussian: Ока river (11, GolutvinskayaRussian: Голутвинская str.). This is the oldest monastery in Kolomna, founded in the late 14th century by St. Sergius of Radonezh at the expense of Moscow Prince Dmitry Donskoy. After the memorable victory over the Tatar army in 1380, the prince and his family established a few monasteries to express their gratitude to God for His help in the battle. The monastery’s relics are particles of the Holy Cross and the Crown of Thorns; relics of Bishop Feodosy of Kolomna (16th century); the grave of Gregory Golutvinsky (died in 1405), the first Father Superior of the monastery and reliquaries with particles of a number of saints.
Presumably, the name Golutvin comes from the old Russian word golutva, denoting a timber felling. This refers either to a through-road from the monastery to the ferry crossing or to the place in the woods where the monastery was built. The high neo-Gothic turrets lend an unusual look to the monastery. The cloister enjoyed the patronage of the Moscow rulers, and during the 17-18th centuries, the monastery reached the peak of its power and prosperity. The main church of the monastery, the Epiphany CathedralRussian: Bogoyavlensky sobor or Богоявленский собор was built in the early 18th century on the site. In the basement of the cathedral, there is a kind of sanctuary called “the saint’s stones”. Legend has it that the foundation of the first church on the site was laid by St. Sergius of Radonezh himself and these stones are part of it.
MONASTERIES OF SERPUKHOV
Two other objects of interest are located in the old Russian town of SerpukhovRussian: Серпухов, 94 km South of the capital.
VVEDENSKY VLADYCHNY CONVENTRussian: Vvedenskiy Vladychnyi zhenskiy monastyr or Введенский Владычный женский монастырь
This convent is the oldest one in Serpukhov – it was founded in 1360 (40, OktyabrskayaRussian: Октябрьская str. ). Its establishment is linked to the famous Russian religious and political figure of the medieval principality of Moscow – St. Metropolitan Alexis (1292/1305-1378). Legend has it that the cloister was founded on the orders of the Holy Mother of God who appealed to Alexis through Her icon while he was praying.
The Convent’s relics are the miraculous icon of the Mother of God “The Inexhaustible Cup” (a copy; the original is lost); the miraculous icon “Presentation of the Mother of God”Russian: ikona «Vvedeniye Bogoroditsy vo khram» or икона «Введение Богородицы во храм» (a copy; the original is kept in the town museum); the miraculous icon “Most Holy Mother of God”Russian: ikona «Vsetsaritsa» or икона «Всецарица», the miraculous icon of Tsarevich Dmitry of Uglicha Russian tsarevich famously impersonated by a series of pretenders after the death of his father Ivan the Terrible (a photocopy; the original is in the town museum), a myrrh-streaming icon of St. George (a copy; the original is lost); a myrrh-streaming icon of St. John the Warrior (a copy; the original is kept in the Andrei Rublev MuseumRussian: muzey Andreya Rublyova or музей Андрея Рублева in Moscow); a myrrh-streaming cross of Calvary. A number of other icons are believed to be myrrh-streaming as well.
Initially, there was a community of brethren. In 1598, Boris Godunovwas elected tsar of Muscovy (reigning 1598–1605) after the extinction of the Rurik dynasty, who had just ascended to the throne, made a Tatar army peacefully retreat near the monastery. To commemorate this, Godunov started a massive construction in the Vvedensky monastery, erecting several new churches and defense walls. Many of these buildings still exist today.
In the late 19th century, the Vvedensky convent became a major centre of pilgrimage as it received the miraculous icon of the Holy Mother of God “The Inexhaustible Cup”. Many people believe praying before this icon helps heal those who need it from alcoholism and drug addiction. The 19th century original was destroyed in 1929, but the nuns believe that it has miraculously survived and will be revealed again. Now, believers pray to a copy of the icon, which is also considered to be miraculous.
The Vladychny convent’s attractions are not only its relics but also well-preserved monuments of the late 16th – 17th centuries. In Russia, architecture which dates from that time and has survived without being reconstructed is a rare phenomenon. Among the surviving buildings are the five-domed Vvedensky CathedralRussian: Vvedenskiy sobor or Введенский собор (turn of the 16-17th centuries), the tented roof Church of St. GeorgeRussian: tserkov' svyatogo Georgiya Pobedonostsa or церковь св. Георгия Победоносца (late 16th century) with its belfry and refectory, and the gate Church of St. Theodotus of AncyraRussian: khram sv. Feodota Ankirskogo or храм св. Феодота Анкирского (1599). The convent also features a fortress built in Boris Godunov’s time, whose walls and towers have been partially preserved and partially restored.
On the other side of the river NaraRussian: Нара, there stands another ancient monastery, the Vysotsky MonasteryRussian: Vysotskiy monastyr or Высоцкий монастырь (the town of Serpukhov, 5/3 Kaluzhskaya strRussian: ulitsa Kaluzhskaya or улица Калужская.). It was founded 14 years after the Vvedensky Episcopal convent, with the contributions of St. Sergius of Radonezh on the lands of Serpukhov prince Vladimir the Brave (1353-1410). The Vysotsky monastery was an important cultural centre in Russia in the Middle Ages. The well-known icon painter Andrei Rublev is assumed to have served here as a monk. You won’t find ancient valuables in the monastery as it suffered greatly during various wars; new frescoes were painted on top of the old ones, expensive utensils were either passed over to museums or hidden by the monks after the revolution of 1917 and have not yet been found.
Despite the fact that here, unlike in the Vladychny Vvedensky convent, the early architecture has not survived, the Vysotsky Monastery is also incredibly picturesque. Above the Nara river rises its cube-shaped five-domed Cathedral of the ConceptionRussian: Zachatievsky sobor or Зачатьевский собор (built at the turn of the 16-17th centuries, rebuilt in the late 17thcentury), classic style gate bell tower (1840-1841) and defensive walls with their two surviving towers (late 17th century).
STS. BORIS AND GLEB MONASTERY IN DMITROV
DmitrovRussian: Дмитров is yet another town in close proximity to Moscow, which is worth a visit for anyone who is interested in Russian history and culture and willing to explore the Russian province which retains its ancient look and feel. Once, this city had three monasteries, but only the Sts. Boris and Gleb MonasteryRussian: Borisoglebskiy monastyr or Борисоглебский монастырь survived the secularisation of society forced by Catherine IIEmpress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country's longest-ruling female leader and its most renowned in the 18th century.
Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery is situated in Minina streetRussian: ulitsa Minina or улица Минина, property 4. Its relics are impressive in their antiquity and significance – it contains the following: a particle of the Lord’s Cross; relics of St. Andrew, evangelists Matthew and Luke, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory Chrysostom and others.
The earliest reliable data about the Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery dates back to the second half of the 15th century. Its main cathedral is dedicated to the first Russian saints Boris and Gleb, princes from the 11th century and the sons of Saint Vladimir the Baptist of RussiaChristianized the Kievan Rus' in 988, who were killed by their own brother. The monastery cathedral was built in the mid-16th century and is still well-preserved. By the end of the 17th century, most of the buildings were made of wood. Construction from stone only began after the fire of 1672. The following buildings were erected: the Holy GatesRussian: Svyatye vrata or Святые врата (1672) with the Church of St. NicholasRussian: tserkov' svyatogo Nikolaya or церковь св. Николая with a refectory (1685-1687), the Father Superior’s cells and the fence with four towers (1685-1689). The rebuilding which took place in the 18-19th centuries did not introduce any significant changes to the look of the cloister. The 20th century saw difficult times; the monastery was closed down and its premises were used to house the administration of DmitlagRussian: Дмитлаг (a camp for prisoners who built the canal currently called the Canal after Moscowa canal that connects the Moskva River with the Volga River) and a military regiment. The monastery was revived in the 1990s.
The Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery is located a short distance away from the historic centre of the town in a quiet area. Only the street names serve as a reminder of the area’s work camp past. After seeing the sights of the Dmitrov KremlinRussian: Dmitrovskiy Kreml or Дмитровский Кремль, it is an easy stroll to the monastery.
JOSEPH VOLOKOLAMSK MONASTERY
Not far from the ancient city of VolokolamskRussian: Волоколамск is the Joseph Volokolamsk monasteryRussian: Iosifo-Volotsky monastyr or Иосифо-Волоцкий монастырь (Volokolamsky districtRussian: Volokolamskiy rayon or Волоколамский район, Teryayevo villageRussian: selo Teryaevo or село Теряево). Historically, it was one of the largest Russian cloisters. The monastery relics are a particle of the Lord’s Cross; relics of St. Andrew, evangelists Matthew and Luke, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory Chrysostom and others. The monastery was founded in 1479 by Joseph of Volokolamsk (1440-1515), a famous religious figure who fought against heresies. Joseph of Volokolamsk came from a noble family, and the new community began to live on the land owned by his family. From the 16th century onwards, the monastery became one of the wealthiest cloisters and enjoyed the patronage of the tsars. A stone fortress was also built there. In addition, the monastery served as a prison for political opponents and heretics. Some of its inmates included such critics of church land ownership as Maxim the Greek (1470-1556) and Vassian Patrikeyev (appr. 1470 – after 1531) and deposed Tsar Vasily ShuiskyTsar of Russia between 1606 and 1610 during the Time of Troubles (1552-1612). Prisoners of war were also detained here – first Polish people in the first half of the 17th century and then French people in 1812.
The Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery is an interesting architectural landmark of the 16-17th centuries. In many ways, the landscape around it was shaped by its monks. The monastery is surrounded by ponds dug for utilitarian purposes. Today, Teryaevskie pondsRussian: Teryayevskiye prudy or Теряевские пруды are a protected natural site. The main ensemble dates from the late 17th century. The only building that has survived since the earlier century is the refectoryRussian: Trapeznaya palata or Трапезная палата built in 1504. It copies a fairly rare shape of the Palace of FacesRussian: Granovitaya palata ot Грановитая палата of the Moscow Kremlin: the ceiling vaults are supported by a single pillar mounted in the center. Entrance to the refectory may be restricted and available only on a guided tour (this can be booked in the monastery).
The monastery cathedral built in the late 17th century is dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. A frieze of tiles above the windows and the dome drums lends a special flavour to the cathedral and the monastery as a whole. Unfortunately, the original wall painting has not survived because the cathedral walls were embellished several times in different styles. The current version dates back to 1904. However, the carved gilded iconostasis dating from the 18th century is well-preserved.
The monasteries described below are less significant, not so well preserved or not conveniently located. A visit to the below is recommended for those who intend to do in-depth research into the history of suburban monasteries.
BELOPESOTSKY CONVENTRussian: Belopesotskiy zhenskiy monastyr or Белопесоцкий женский монастырь IN STUPINO
Located in the town of StupinoRussian: Ступино, Moscow region (BelopesotskayaRussian: Белопесоцкая str,), Relics: a miraculous icon of the Mother of God “Soothe My Sorrows”Russian: ikona Bozhyey Materi «Utoli moya pechali» or икона Божьей Матери «Утоли моя печали».
BOBRENEV MONASTERY NEAR KOLOMNA
In the village of Staroe BobrenevoRussian: Старое Бобренево near Kolomna there is a small, picturesque monastery. The Bobrenev monasteryRussian: Bobrenev monastyr or Бобренев монастырь was founded in the late 14th century at the behest of Prince Dmitry Donskoy after his victory in the Battle of Kulikovowas fought between the armies of the Golden Horde, and various Russian principalities under the united command of Prince Dmitri.
The major benefactor of the monastery, the person who made its construction possible, was the military governor of the Moscow prince, hero of the battle with the Tatars Dmitry Bobrok Volynsky (died in 1389). The monastery relics are the Fedorovskaya miraculous icon of the Mother of God, an icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh, a cross with a particle of the Holy Cross, St. Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous’s shoe with his relics and icon with a particle of his relics embedded.
The monastery as we see it today took shape in the 18-19th centuries. It is believed that the fence with its decorative turrets was built to the design of Matvey Kazakov, a famous 18th century architect (1738-1812).
LUZHETSKY MONASTERYRussian: Luzhetskiy monastyr or Лужецкий монастырь IN MOZHAISK
Another ancient cloister is located in Mozhaiska town located 110 kilometers to the west of Moscow (1, Gerasimova strRussian: ulitsa Gerasimova or улица Герасимова.). It was founded by St. Ferapont Belozersky (1331-1426) in 1408. The founder of the monastery is buried here. The cloister has repeatedly suffered from enemy attacks in the 17th and 19th centuries. Most of the surviving buildings in the monastery date back to the 17th century. However, there are two older churches here too – the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of GodRussian: sobor Rozhdestva Bogoroditsy or собор Рождества Богородицы (1524-1547) and the Vvedenskaya churchRussian: Vvedenskaya tserkov' or Введенская церковь with its refectory (dating back to the first half of the 16th century). Another point of interest is the foundation of a church which, as legend has it, was founded by St. Ferapont and is composed of tombstones.
ST. NICHOLAS PESHNOSHSKY MONASTERY
The once wealthy and influential St. Nicholas Peshnoshsky monasteryRussian: Nikolo-Peshnoshsky monastyr or Николо-Пешношский монастырь is located in the village of LugovoyRussian: Луговой, Dmitrovsky districtRussian: Dmitrovskiy rayon or Дмитровский район, at the confluence of the PeshnoshkaRussian: Пешношка river with the YakhromaRussian: Яхрома river. In 1361, Methodius Peshnoshsky (1361-1392), a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh, came here to live as a hermit. In order to build a hermitage for himself, he had to carry (peshnosh in old Russian) logs across a small river. Legend says that this is where the name of the river and the monastery as well as the saint’s nickname come from. The construction of the monastery was first backed by the local Dmitrov princes and later by Moscow princes who annexed the land. In the 16th century, the monastery came into its heyday as it stood on a major route from Moscow to the northern Russian lands and took part in lucrative grain trade. At this time, important religious figures often lived and served there and tsars came on pilgrimage as well.
The St. Nicholas CathedralRussian: Nikolskiy sobor or Никольский собор was built in the 16th century. Some changes were made to it in the 17-18th centuries, resulting in its present look; it is a squat one-domed church, an embodiment of old Russian church architecture. The western wall of the monastery has an unusual look. In fact, the wall is the original – in the 19th century, its place was occupied by residential and hospital buildings adjoining the remaining towers. The result is a vivid piece of architecture which weaves different epochs together.
In 1966, the monastery buildings housed a psychoneurologic dispensary. It still occupies part of the cloister, causing constant conflicts between doctors and monks. The village of Lugovoy where the monastery is located was built specifically for dispensary staff.
BORODINO SAVIOUR CONVENT
For those interested in Russian history, this monastery is important, first of all, as a memorial to the soldiers killed in the 1812 Battle of Borodinobloody battle of the Napoleonic Wars, fought during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. It is located in the Borodino village settlementRussian: Borodinskoye selskoye poseleniye or Бородинское сельское поселение, Mozhaisk districtRussian: Mozhayskiy rayon or Можайский район, Moscow region. The cloister was built directly on the battlefield, on the former site of the Russian army strongholds known as Bagration’s flèchesRussian: Bagrationovy fleshi or Багратионовы флеши. They were called thus after General Prince Pyotr Bagration (1765-1812), who was the commander during the defensive battle and was fatally wounded there.
The construction of the Spaso-Borodino ConventRussian: Spaso-Borodinsky monastyr or Спасо-Бородинский монастырь was due to the personal tragedy experienced by its founder, Margarita Tuchkova (1780-1852). In her second marriage, she was married to a hero of the Napoleonic wars, General Alexander Tuchkov (1778-1812). The couple were happily married, and Margarita accompanied her husband several times on military campaigns. During the 1812 campaign she had to stay at home, and Tuchkov was killed on the battlefield at Borodino. The widow searched for his body, but to no avail. Then she decided to honour his memory; she bought a plot of land and, with the Emperor’s permission, built a church which was consecrated in honour of the icon of Saviour not Made by Hands (this image was on the banner of the regiment which her husband had commanded). After the death of her son in 1826, Tuchkova settled near the church. Over time, a community of single women – widows and orphans – formed there and gradually turned into a convent with Margarita Tuchkova as its abbess.
Now, part of the monastery premises is occupied by the Borodino Museum-ReserveRussian: Borodinskiy muzey-zapovednik or Бородинский музей-заповедник. Tuchkova’s house burned down in 1942 during World War II, but it was rebuilt exactly and still stands today.© 2016-2020 moscovery.com