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Moscow Oblast , Istra

The New Jerusalem Monastery

Воскресенский Ново-Иерусалимский Ставропигиальный мужской монастырь
Екатерина Лобанок
Воскресенский Ново-Иерусалимский Ставропигиальный мужской монастырь
Министерство культуры Правительства Московской области

The New Jerusalem Monastery, or Novoiyerusalimskiy Monastery, also known as the Voskresensky Monastery, is a male monastery, the image of holy Jerusalem sites near Moscow. The founder of the monastery, Patriarch Nikon, sincerely wished as if to move one of the main Christian shrines — the Temple of the Holy Sepulcher — a little closer to the believers, living in Russia.

Nikon founded the Voskresenskiy New Jerusalem Monastery in 1656. The construction of the monastery was preceded by lengthy discussions about the rights to the land, owned by holders of patrimonial estate at the time, and then it took a long time to prepare the plot. The forest on the banks of the Istra River was cut down and the hill on which the monastery was built was fortified. It is symbolic that this hill was named Zion, another one nearby — Mount of Olives, and a third, to the north — Tabor. Moreover, for the monastery servants even the Istra was renamed «Jordan». A female monastery was founded nearby with the New Testament name of Bethany. This is how the names from the Gospel texts penetrated the Russian land.

The monastery's main cathedral — Voskresenskiy (Resurrection) — was created to duplicate the temple of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Builders used a wooden copy of the temple in Jerusalem, brought to Russia by Patriarch Paisius. In the original 17th-century version, the Voskresenskiy Cathedral, as well as other monastery buildings, was made of wood. The consecration of the cathedral was attended by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, who first gave the new convent its famous name — New Jerusalem.

In the 17th century, the monastery had a rich collection of books in its library: genealogical books, printed books of worship, ancient Svyatoslav's Collection of 1073, the 12th-century Yurievskiy Gospel, as well as manuscripts from Athos monasteries with early Christian texts. There was also a printing house at the monastery that Nikon had moved there from the Iver Monastery. Since 1920, the library collection of the New Jerusalem monastery has been stored at the State Historical Museum.

The pilgrimage history of the New Jerusalem Monastery began in the second half of the 18th century. At least 20 piligim descriptions of the monastery have been preserved to date. Largely thanks to these documents modern researchers and art historians have been able to learn how the monastery looked at the time. At the turn of 19th-20th centuries, the monastery became one of the main pilgrimage centers in Russia — before World War I it was visited by about 35,000 pilgrims a year.

Of course, the revolution left its sad mark in the monastery's history. It was closed in 1919, and a museum and exhibition center were established there in 1920. Thanks to this, most of the decoration and household items of the New Jerusalem monastery and local monks were preserved.

The Second World War also struck the monastery hard: the Nazis blew up the Voskresenskiy Cathedral and truly valuable architectural monuments were destroyed. The monastery was restored after the war and the museum began to welcome visitors again in 1959. New Jerusalem received its status of a monastery in 1994.

Today the New Jerusalem Monastery is a place of interest not only for pilgrims but also for tourists. The New Jerusalem Historical and Architectural Museum is the largest museum in Moscow Oblast. It is home to archeological, ethnographic collections, rare books, collections of Russian paintings and drawings, furniture, household utensils, glass, ceramics, pottery, examples of costumes of the 17th — early 20th XX centuries, and handicrafts. The museum building, enclosing such a rich collection, is located just 350 meters from the monastery. To understand the scope of the collection at the New Jerusalem Museum, one only has to imagine how many artifacts can be contained in 10,000 square meters of exhibition space.

In addition to the museum, a local park is certainly worth visiting, as well as the open-air exhibition of the Museum of Wooden Architecture. The Kokorins» manor of the 19th century hosts an exhibition of objects of peasant households.

It is better to devote the whole day to your trip to New Jerusalem: the rich museum collection, the general atmosphere in the monastery, the luxurious architecture of the complex, and the beautiful nature around these site are definitely worth the visit.

Moscow Oblast event poster. The Tourist Portal /

Site on the map

Phone number: +7 (496) 314-68-38; +7 (910) 461-18-57; +7 (495) 994-61-70
Address: 2 Sovetskaya St., Istra, Moscow Oblast,

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