Solovetsky Monastery

Solovetsky Monastery

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Solovetsky Monastery was the greatest citadel
Citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

 of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in the Russian North before being turned into a special Soviet prison and labor camp (1926–1939), which served as a prototype for the GULag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 system. Situated on the Solovetsky Islands
Solovetsky Islands
The Solovetsky Islands , or Solovki , are an archipelago located in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, Russia. The islands are served by the Solovki Airport. Area: ....

 in the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

, the monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 braved many changes of fortune and military sieges. Its most important structures date from the 16th century, when Filip Kolychev was its hegumen
Hegumen
Hegumen, hegumenos, igumen, or ihumen is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Catholic Churches, similar to the one of abbot. The head of a convent of nuns is called hegumenia or ihumenia . The term means "the one who is in charge", "the leader" in...

.

History



Solovetsky Monastery was founded in 1436 by the monk Zosima
Zosima of Solovki
St. Zosima of Solovki was one of the founders of the Solovetsky Monastery.The origin of Zosima is not exactly clear. By 1436 his parents were both dead, and he decided to live as a hermit. In the mouth of the Suma River he met German, a monk, who previuously spent several years with Savvatiy...

, however, monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s German
German of Solovki
St. German of Solovki was one of the founders of the Solovetsky Monastery. In total, he lived in Solovetsky Islands, at the time, the most remote location, for about 50 years....

 (Herman) and Savvatiy
Savvatiy
St. Savvatiy of Solovki was one of the founders of the Solovetsky Monastery....

 (Sabbatius) from Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery
Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery
Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery , loosely translated in English as the St. Cyril-Belozersk Monastery, used to be the largest monastery of Northern Russia. The monastery was dedicated to the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, for which cause it was sometimes referred to as the Dormition Monastery...

 lived on the island from 1429 to 1436, and are considered as founders of the monastery as well. Zosima also became the first hegumen
Hegumen
Hegumen, hegumenos, igumen, or ihumen is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Catholic Churches, similar to the one of abbot. The head of a convent of nuns is called hegumenia or ihumenia . The term means "the one who is in charge", "the leader" in...

 of the monastery. After Novgorodian Marfa Boretskaya
Marfa Boretskaya
Marfa Boretskaya, also known as Martha the Mayoress , was the wife of Isaac Boretsky, Novgorod's posadnik in 1438-1439 and again in 1453...

 donated her lands at Kem and Summa
Summa
Summa and its diminutive summula are mainly used, in English and other modern languages, for texts that 'sum up' knowledge in a field, such as the compendiums of theology, philosophy and canon law which were used both as textbooks in the schools and as books of reference during the Middle...

 to the monastery in 1450, the monastery quickly enlarged its estate
Estate (house)
An estate comprises the houses and outbuildings and supporting farmland and woods that surround the gardens and grounds of a very large property, such as a country house or mansion. It is the modern term for a manor, but lacks the latter's now abolished jurisdictional authority...

, which was situated on the shores of the White Sea and the rivers falling into it. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Solovetsky Monastery extended its producing and commercial activity, becoming an economic and political center of the White Sea region. Its business activities included saltworks (in the 1660s, it owned 54 of them), seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

 production, trapping
Trapping (Animal)
Animal trapping, or simply trapping, is the use of a device to remotely catch an animal. Animals may be trapped for a variety of purposes, including food, wildlife management, hunting, and pest control...

, fishery
Fishery
Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery. According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats,...

, mica
Mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

 works, ironworks
Ironworks
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and/or steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e...

, pearl
Pearl
A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other...

 works etc., which engaged a large population in the area. Archmandrites of the monastery were appointed by the tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 himself and the patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

. Peter the Great visited the Solovetsky Island in 1694. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?prok:133:./temp/~pp_lWGh::@@@mdb=app,grabill,lomax,pan,wtc,ils,vv,gottscho,detr,bbcards,prok,nclc,fsa

By the 17th century, Solovetsky Monastery had already had some 350 monks, 600-700 servants, artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

s and peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s. In the 1650s and 1660s, the monastery was one of the stronghold
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

s of the Raskol
Raskol
Raskol |schism]]') was the event of splitting of the Russian Orthodox Church into an official church and the Old Believers movement in mid-17th century, triggered by the reforms of Patriarch Nikon in 1653, aiming to establish uniformity between the Greek and Russian church practices.-The Raskol:...

. The Solovetsky Monastery Uprising
Solovetsky Monastery Uprising
The Solovetsky Monastery Uprising was an uprising of Old Believer monks, known as the Raskol, of the northern Solovetsky Monastery against the Tsar's policies...

 of 1668–1676 was aimed at Nikon
Patriarch Nikon
Nikon , born Nikita Minin , was the seventh patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church...

's ecclesiastic reform and took on an anti-feudal nature. In 1765, Solovetsky Monastery became stauropegic
Stauropegic
Stauropegic, also rendered stavropegic, stauropegial, or stavropegial is a title or description applied to Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christian monasteries subordinated directly to a Patriarch or Synod, rather than to their local Bishop...

 (from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 stauros meaning "cross
Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

" and pegio meaning "to affirm"), i.e. it subordinated directly to the Synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

.

Together with the Sumskoy and Kemsky stockade
Stockade
A stockade is an enclosure of palisades and tall walls made of logs placed side by side vertically with the tops sharpened to provide security.-Stockade as a security fence:...

s, Solovetsky Monastery represented an important frontier
Frontier
A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary. 'Frontier' was absorbed into English from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"--the region of a country that fronts on another country .The use of "frontier" to mean "a region at the...

 fortress with dozens of cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s and a strong garrison
Garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

. In the 16th to 17th centuries, the monastery succeeded a number of times in repelling the attacks of the Livonian Order
Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was an autonomous Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and a member of the Livonian Confederation from 1435–1561. After being defeated by Samogitians in the 1236 Battle of Schaulen , the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights...

 and the Swedes
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 (in 1571, 1582 and 1611). During the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

, Solovetsky Monastery was attacked by three British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 ships. After nine hours of shelling on the 6 and 7 July, the vessel
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s left with nothing. Between the 16th and the early 20th centuries, the monastery was also a place of exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 for the opponents of autocracy
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

 and official Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 and a center of Christianization
Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 in the north of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. The monastery also had a huge library of manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s and old books.
The pride of the monks was the monastery's garden which had many exotic flora, such as the Tibetan wild roses presented to the monks by Agvan Dorzhiev
Agvan Dorzhiev
Agvan Lobsan Dorzhiev, also Agvan Dorjiev or Dorjieff , was a Russian-born monk of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, sometimes referred by his scholarly title as Tsenyi Khempo...

, a famous lama.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviet authorities closed down the monastery and incorporated many of the buildings into Solovki
Solovki
The Solovki prison camp was located on the Solovetsky Islands, in the White Sea). It was the "mother of the GULAG" according to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn...

, one of the earliest forced-labor camps of the GULAG
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 during the 1920s and 1930s. The camp was mainly used for cutting trees, and when the trees were gone, the camp was closed. Before the Second World War, a naval cadet school was opened on the island.

Layout


The architectural ensemble of the Solovetsky Monastery is located on the shores of the Prosperity Bay (бухта Благополучия) on Solovetsky Island
Bolshoy Solovetsky Island
Bolshoy Solovetsky Island , or simply Solovetsky Island is the biggest island of the Solovetsky Islands archipelago in the White Sea, northern Russia. The island is home to Solovetsky Monastery, a medieval monastery and a fortress included in the World Heritage list.-Location and geography:The...

. The territory of the Solovetsky Monastery is surrounded by massive walls (height 8 to 11 m, thickness 4 to 6 m) with 7 gates and 8 towers (built in 1584–1594 by an architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 named Trifon), made mainly of huge boulder
Boulder
In geology, a boulder is a rock with grain size of usually no less than 256 mm diameter. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, others are extremely massive....

s up to 5 m in length. There are also religious buildings on the monastery's grounds (the principal ones are interconnected with roofed and arched passages), surrounded by multiple household buildings and living quarters, including a refectory
Refectory
A refectory is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools and academic institutions. One of the places the term is most often used today is in graduate seminaries...

 (a 500 m² chamber
Room
A room is any distinguishable space within a structure.Room may also refer to:* Room , by Emma Donoghue* Room, Nepal* Room for PlayStation Portable, a social networking service* Thomas Gerald Room , Australian mathematician...

) with the Uspensky Cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 (built in 1552-1557), Preobrazhensky Cathedral (1556–1564), Church of Annunciation
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

 (1596–1601), stone chambers (1615), watermill
Watermill
A watermill is a structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process such as flour, lumber or textile production, or metal shaping .- History :...

 (early 17th century), bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

 (1777), and Church of Nicholas (1834).

Today, the Solovetsky Monastery is a historical and architectural museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

. It was one of the first Russian sites to have been inscribed in the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage List. A small brotherhood of monks has appeared in the monastery again and it currently houses about ten monks. The monastery has recently been extensively repaired, but remains under reconstruction.

External links