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Moscow Oblast , Сергиев Посад

Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

Свято-Троицкая Сергиева лавра
Фотобанк Лори
Свято-Троицкая Сергиева лавра
Павел Пелевин
Свято-Троицкая Сергиева лавра
Павел Пелевин
Свято-Троицкая Сергиева лавра
Павел Пелевин
Свято-Троицкая Сергиева лавра
Павел Пелевин
Свято-Троицкая Сергиева лавра
Павел Пелевин

The history of Russia's largest Orthodox monastery is associated with the name of Saint Sergius of Radonezh. The monastery is said to have been founded in 1337, but some historians place it at a later date.  According to legend, in his early years Sergius, who bore the lay name of Bartholomew, and his brother decided to become monks. After finding a solitary place in the forest, they built a monastic cell and a small church in the name of the Holy Trinity. Soon after, his brother went to the Moscow Epiphany Monastery and Sergius stayed behind alone.

Humility, patience, and a strong work ethic were among the distinguishing merits of Sergius of Radonezh. Striving to achieve the ideal of holiness, the hermit bravely overcame temptations and did not spend a single hour in sloth. A rumor about an ascetic living in Radonezh forest spread in towns and villages. Monks began to come to Sergius. This is how the monastery gradually appeared around his settlement.  At the emphatic request of his disciples, Sergius became a priest and the abbot of the monastery he founded. People came fr om afar to have a word with the Reverend, and Trinity Monastery became a spiritual center of the Moscow lands.

Reverend Sergius passed away on September 25, 1392. Before his death he gave in commandment to the brethren to keep the purity of the Orthodox religion, to preserve the purity of soul and body, to practice unfeigned love, and to strive for humbleness and hospitality. In 1422, during the construction of the Trinity Church inside the monastery, holy relics of the Reverend Sergius were discovered and became the main sacred items in the church.

In 1422, the first stone building of the monastery, Trinity Cathedral, was laid on the location of the old wooden church. Prominent icon painters took part in decorating the temple. Andrei Rublev painted the famous Trinity for the cathedral's iconostasis. The Trinity Cathedral was venerated by Moscow's dukes. Agreements were verified through kissing the cross, and heirs to the throne were baptized here.

The White Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles decorating the Cathedral Square was built in 1476-1477 years by Pskov craftsmen. The construction of the Assumption Cathedral started in 1559, and its history is linked with the name of Ivan the Terrible.

In the 1540s, the construction of white stone walls around the monastery began. In the 1550s a belt in the form of an irregular quadrangle with the length of about 1.5 kilometers was built. At the same time, hammer ponds were built in ravines adjacent to the monastery, and on the southern side a large pond was dug. The monastery had become a powerful fortress. In the middle of the 17th century, fortifications were strengthened and the monastery took its present day shape.

At the end of the 17th century, a chapel was built over a spring discovered in 1644 during repairs of a porch in the Assumption Cathedral. According to legend, its healing water cured a blind monk, and the afflicted started to come to the miraculous spring fr om all over Russia.

In 1699, a gate church was built at the expense of wealthy patrons, the Stroganovs. This is the temple wh ere now sacrament of penance is performed for many devotees and wh ere confession is held for pilgrims who come each morning to the temple.

The monastery attained the title of Lavra in the 1740s. Empress Elizabeth often visited, accompanied by fireworks and luxurious meals. A recreational palace surrounded by greenhouses was built beyond the walls of the monastery. A court architect designed a new monastery bell tower, the same one for which the Tsar Bell was cast. The five-tier bell tower, the highest one in Russia, occupies a central position in the architectural ensemble of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius.

Many buildings of the Lavra were supposed to have been rebuilt. A massive fire, which in 1746 destroyed all the wooden buildings of the monastery, encouraged the renovation works. After comprehensive reconstruction, the appearance of the monastery buildings began to resemble the interior of palaces. The walls were painted in bright colors, decorated with gilded stucco works, and the interiors were lavishly decorated. Inside the monastery, white stone paths appeared, as well as a walkway decorated with wrought iron grills. An obelisk with medallions narrating the history of the monastery was built on the main square.

On the Lavra website, you can choose one of the excursions or pilgrimage tours, including: a highlight tour of the three main cathedrals; «A Day in the Lavra» program; a pilgrimage tour to Gethsemane-Chernigov small monastery; a visit to the springs; and an excursion for students called «Icons and Temples of the Lavra.»

Moscow Oblast Event Poster. The Tourist Portal /

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Address: Московская обл., г. Сергиев Посад

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