Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra

Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra

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The Trinity Lavra
Lavra
In Orthodox Christianity and certain other Eastern Christian communities Lavra or Laura originally meant a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center...

 of St. Sergius
is the most important 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...

n 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...

 and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

. The monastery is situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad
Sergiyev Posad
Sergiyev Posad is a city and the administrative center of Sergiyevo-Posadsky District of Moscow Oblast, Russia. It grew in the 15th century around one of the greatest of Russian monasteries, the Trinity Lavra established by St. Sergius of Radonezh. The town status was granted to it in 1742...

, about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 by the road leading to Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

, and currently is home to over 300 monks.

14th century


The monastery was founded in 1345 by one of the most venerated Russian saints, Sergius of Radonezh, who built a wooden church in honour of the Holy Trinity on Makovets Hill. Early development of the monastic community is well documented in contemporary lives of Sergius and his disciples.
In 1355, Sergius introduced a charter which required the construction of auxiliary buildings, such as 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...

, kitchen
Kitchen
A kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking and food preparation.In the West, a modern residential kitchen is typically equipped with a stove, a sink with hot and cold running water, a refrigerator and kitchen cabinets arranged according to a modular design. Many households have a...

, and bakery
Bakery
A bakery is an establishment which produces and sells flour-based food baked in an oven such as bread, cakes, pastries and pies. Some retail bakeries are also cafés, serving coffee and tea to customers who wish to consume the baked goods on the premises.-See also:*Baker*Cake...

. This charter was a model for Sergius' numerous followers who founded more than 400 cloister
Cloister
A cloister is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth...

s all over Russia, including the celebrated Solovetsky
Solovetsky Monastery
Solovetsky Monastery was the greatest citadel of Christianity in the Russian North before being turned into a special Soviet prison and labor camp , which served as a prototype for the GULag system. Situated on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea, the monastery braved many changes of fortune...

, Kirilov
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...

, and Simonov
Simonov Monastery
Simonov monastery in Moscow was established in 1370 by monk Feodor, a nephew and disciple of St Sergius of Radonezh.The monastery land formerly belonged to Simeon Khovrin, a boyar of Greek extraction and progenitor of the great clan of Golovins. He took monastic vows in the cloister under the name...

 monasteries.

St. Sergius supported Dmitri Donskoi
Dmitri Donskoi
Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy , or Dmitry of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitry I , son of Ivan II the Meek of Moscow , reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in...

 in his struggle against the Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 and sent two of his monks, Peresvet
Alexander Peresvet
Alexander Peresvet, also spelled Peresviet , was a Russian Orthodox Christian monk who fought in a single combat with the Tatar champion Temir-murza at the opening of the Battle of Kulikovo , where they killed each other.He is believed to have hailed from the Bryansk area and took...

 and Oslyabya
Oslyabya
Rodion Oslyabya was a Russian monk from Saint Sergius's Trinity Abbey who became famous for his part in the Battle of Kulikovo. According to Oleg N. Trubachev, the nickname "Oslyabya" is a hypocoristic for "donkey". His Christian name has been given in various sources as Roman, Rodion, Andrian and...

, to participate in the Battle of Kulikovo
Battle of Kulikovo
The Battle of Kulikovo was a battle between Tatar Mamai and Muscovy Dmitriy and portrayed by Russian historiography as a stand-off between Russians and the Golden Horde. However, the political situation at the time was much more complicated and concerned the politics of the Northeastern Rus'...

 (1380). At the outbreak of the battle, Peresvet
Alexander Peresvet
Alexander Peresvet, also spelled Peresviet , was a Russian Orthodox Christian monk who fought in a single combat with the Tatar champion Temir-murza at the opening of the Battle of Kulikovo , where they killed each other.He is believed to have hailed from the Bryansk area and took...

 died in a single combat against a Tatar bogatyr
Bogatyr
The bogatyr was a medieval heroic warrior of Kievan Rus' and the Novgorodian Republic, akin to a Western European knight errant.- Kievan Rus' :...

. The monastery was devastated by fire, when a Tatar unit raided the area in 1408.

15th century


St. Sergius was declared patron saint of the Russian state in 1422. The same year the first stone cathedral was built by a team of Serbian
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 monks who had found refuge in the monastery after the Battle of Kosovo
Battle of Kosovo
The Battle of Kosovo took place on St. Vitus' Day, June 15, 1389, between the army led by Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović, and the invading army of the Ottoman Empire under the leadership of Sultan Murad I...

. The relics of St. Sergius still may be seen in this cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The greatest icon painters of medieval Russia, Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev is considered to be the greatest medieval Russian painter of Orthodox icons and frescoes.-Biography:...

 and Daniil Chyorny
Daniil Chyorny
Daniil Chyorny was a Russian iconographer.Together with his companion Andrei Rublev and other painters, Daniil Chyorny worked at the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir and Trinity Cathedral in the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra in Sergiyev Posad . Some icons for these cathedrals are believed to have been...

, were summoned to decorate the cathedral with fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es. Traditionally, Muscovite royals were baptized in this cathedral and held thanksgiving services here.

In 1476, Ivan III
Ivan III of Russia
Ivan III Vasilyevich , also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus"...

 invited several Pskov
Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

ian masters to build the church of the Holy Ghost. This graceful structure is one of the few remaining examples of a Russian church topped with a belltower. The interior contains the earliest specimens of the use of glazed tiles for decoration. In the early 16th century, Vasily III
Vasili III of Russia
Vasili III Ivanovich was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1505 to 1533. He was the son of Ivan III Vasiliyevich and Sophia Paleologue and was christened with the name Gavriil...

 added the Nikon annex and the Serapion tent, where several of Sergius' disciples were interred.

16th century


It took 26 years to construct the six-pillared Assumption Cathedral, which was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible
Ivan IV of Russia
Ivan IV Vasilyevich , known in English as Ivan the Terrible , was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres,...

 in 1559. The cathedral is much larger than its model and namesake
Cathedral of the Dormition
The Cathedral of the Dormition is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. It is located on the north side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where a narrow alley separates the north from the Patriarch's Palace with the Twelve Apostles Church....

 in the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

. The magnificent iconostasis of the 16th–18th centuries features Simon Ushakov
Simon Ushakov
Simon Fyodorovich Ushakov was a leading Russian graphic artist of the late 17th-century. Together with Fyodor Zubov and Fyodor Rozhnov, he is associated with the comprehensive reform of the Russian Orthodox Church undertaken by Patriarch Nikon.-Biography:We know almost nothing about the early...

's masterpiece, the icon of Last Supper. Interior walls were painted with violet and blue frescoes by a team of Yaroslavl masters in 1684. The vault contains burials of Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov
Boris Fyodorovich Godunov was de facto regent of Russia from c. 1585 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605. The end of his reign saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles.-Early years:...

, his family and several 20th-century patriarchs.

As the monastery grew into one of the wealthiest landowners in Russia, the woods where it had stood were cut over and a village (or posad
Posad
A posad was a settlement, often surrounded by ramparts and a moat, adjoining a town or a kremlin, but outside of it, or adjoining a monastery in the 10th to 15th centuries. Usually it was inhabited by craftsmen and merchants, known as posadskiye lyudi .In the Russian Empire a posad was a small...

) sprang up near the monastery walls. It gradually developed into the modern town of Sergiyev Posad. The cloister itself was a notable centre of chronicle-writing and icon painting. Just opposite the monastery walls St. Paraskeva's Convent was established, among whose buildings St. Paraskeva's Church (1547), Introduction Church (1547), and a 17th-century chapel over St. Paraskeva's well are still visible.

17th century


In 1550s, a wooden palisade surrounding the cloister was replaced with 1.5 km-long stone walls, featuring twelve towers, which helped the monastery to withstand a celebrated 16-month Polish-Lithuanian siege
Siege of Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra
The Siege of Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra was an abortive attempt of the Polish-Lithuanian irregular army supporting False Dmitri II to capture the Trinity Monastery...

 in 1608–1610. A shell-hole in the cathedral gates is preserved as a reminder of Wladyslaw IV's abortive siege in 1618.

By the end of the 17th century, when young Peter I
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 twice found refuge within the monastery from his enemies, numerous buildings had been added. These include a small baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 palace of the patriarchs, noted for its luxurious interiors, and a royal palace, with its facades painted in checkerboard design. The refectory of St. Sergius, covering 510 square meters and also painted in dazzling checkerboard design, used to be the largest hall in Russia. The five-domed Church of John the Baptist's Nativity (1693–1699) was commissioned by the Stroganovs
Stroganovs
The Stroganovs or Strogonovs , also spelled in French manner as Stroganoffs, were a family of highly successful Russian merchants, industrialists, landowners, and statesmen of the 16th – 20th centuries who eventually earned nobility.-Origins:...

 and built over one of the gates. Other 17th-century structures include the monks' cells, a hospital topped with a tented church, and a chapel built over a holy well discovered in 1644.

18th and 19th centuries


In 1744, Empress Elizabeth conferred on the cloister the dignity of the Lavra. The metropolitan of Moscow was henceforth also the Archimandrite of the Lavra. Elizabeth particularly favoured the Trinity and annually proceeded afoot from Moscow to the cloister. Her secret spouse Alexey Razumovsky
Alexey Razumovsky
Count Alexei Grigorievich Razumovsky , was a Ukrainian Cossack who rose to become lover and, the morganatic spouse of the Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna.- Early life :...

 accompanied her on such journeys and commissioned a baroque church to the Virgin of Smolensk, the last major shrine to be erected in the Lavra. Another pledge of Elizabeth's affection for the monastery is a white-and-blue baroque belltower, which, at 88 meters, was one of the tallest structures built in Russia up to that date. Its architects were Ivan Michurin
Ivan Fyodorovich Michurin
Ivan Fyodorovich Michurin was a Russian architect whose designs marked a transition of Russian architecture from early Muscovite Baroque to mature Rastrelliesque style....

 and Dmitry Ukhtomsky
Dmitry Ukhtomsky
Prince Dmitry Vasilyevich Ukhtomsky, Дмитрий Васильевич Ухтомский was the chief architect of Moscow, Russia during the reign of Empress Elizabeth.-Biography:...

.

Throughout the 19th century, the Lavra maintained its status as the richest Russian monastery. A seminary founded in 1742 was replaced by an ecclesiastical academy
Slavic Greek Latin Academy
Slavic Greek Latin Academy was the first higher education establishment in Moscow, Russia.-Beginnings:...

 in 1814. The monastery boasted a supreme collection of manuscripts and books. Medieval collections of the Lavra sacristy
Sacristy
A sacristy is a room for keeping vestments and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records.The sacristy is usually located inside the church, but in some cases it is an annex or separate building...

 attracted thousands of visitors. In Sergiyev Posad, the monastery maintained several skete
Skete
A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but alsoallows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection...

s, one of which is a place of burial for the conservative philosophers Konstantin Leontiev
Konstantin Leontiev
Konstantin Nikolayevich Leontyev was a conservative, monarchist reactionary Russian philosopher who advocated closer cultural ties between Russia and the East in order to oppose the catastrophic egalitarian, utilitarian and revolutionary influences from the West...

 and Vasily Rozanov
Vasily Rozanov
Vasily Vasilievich Rozanov was one of the most controversial Russian writers and philosophers of the pre-revolutionary epoch. His views have been termed the "religion of procreation", as he tried to reconcile Christian teachings with ideas of healthy sex and family life and not, as his adversary...

.

20th century


After the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, the Soviet government closed the lavra in 1920. Its buildings were assigned to different civic institutions or declared museums. In 1930, monastery bells, including the Tsar-Bell of 65 tons, were destroyed. Pavel Florensky
Pavel Florensky
Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky was a Russian Orthodox theologian, philosopher, mathematician, electrical engineer, inventor and Neomartyr sometimes compared by his followers to Leonardo da Vinci.-Early life:Pavel Aleksandrovich Florensky was born on January 21, 1882, into the family of a railroad...

 and his followers could hardly prevent the authorities from stealing and selling the sacristy collection but overall many valuables were lost or transferred to other collections.

In 1945, following Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's temporary tolerance of the church during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Lavra was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. On April 16, 1946 divine service was renewed at the Assumption Cathedral. The lavra continued as the seat of Moscow Patriarchy until 1983, when the patriarch was allowed to settle at the Danilov Monastery
Danilov Monastery
Danilov Monastery, in full Svyato-Danilov Monastery or Holy Danilov Monastery , is a monastery on the right bank of the Moskva River in Moscow, Russia...

 in Moscow. After that, the monastery continued as a prime centre of religious education. Important restoration works were conducted in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 World Heritage List.

The Lavra has a number of "outreach offices" (podvorie) in its vicinity and throughout Russia. The Lavra's hieromonk
Hieromonk
Hieromonk , also called a Priestmonk, is a monk who is also a priest in the Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholicism....

s have manned a number of skete
Skete
A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but alsoallows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection...

s at remote locations (such as the Anzer Island in the Solovki
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: ....

 Archipelago in the White Sea), as well as the Trinity Church
Trinity Church, Antarctica
Trinity Church is a small Russian Orthodox church on King George Island near Russian Bellingshausen Station in Antarctica. It is the southernmost Eastern Orthodox church in the world....

 on the King George Island in the Antarctic
Antarctic
The Antarctic is the region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica and the ice shelves, waters and island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence...

.

Burials

  • Innocent of Alaska
    Innocent of Alaska
    Saint Innocent of Alaska , also known as Saint Innocent of Moscow was a Russian Orthodox priest, bishop, archbishop and Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia. He is known for his missionary work, scholarship and leadership in Alaska and the Russian Far East during the 19th century...

  • Patriarch Alexy I of Russia
  • Tsar Boris Godunov
    Boris Godunov
    Boris Fyodorovich Godunov was de facto regent of Russia from c. 1585 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605. The end of his reign saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles.-Early years:...

    and family

Further reading

  • William Craft Brumfield. A History of Russian Architecture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) ISBN 9780521403337

External links