was originally found in 1330 by Tatar Christian prince Chet. According to
historians he deserted Golden Horde and defected to the Russian prince Ivan Kalita of Moscow. Tatar prince converted to Christianity started a family
that became known as Godunovs. It was quickly fortified by oak timbers
against invasions from the Golden Horde. In the second part of the 16th
century more durable stone walls were erected to defend monks and pilgrims
who lived here. Aristocratic family of Godunov greatly helped Ipatiev
Monastery by providing money and working hands during its construction.
Boris Godunov later became Russian tsar. His death coincided with Polish
invasion that was headed by man who claimed to be son of Ivan the Terrible-
Dmitry. Some sources claim that he was a former monk Grishka Otrepev.
Regardless of his true identity his arrival to Russia with the help of
Polish army resulted in the death of Boris' son Fedor and several years of
chaos and anarchy that came to be known as the Troubled times.
It is here that Ipatiev Monastery started to play an important role in Russian history.
Many women, elderly and children abandoned their urban housing and moved
to monasteries. Since these were Christian complexes, no one was suppose to
enter the monastery with a weapon. Thus many thousands of Russians flocked
here. Among them were members of the aristocratic families. Among them was a young man Michael
Romanoff (Romanov) who joined his mother who lived here as a nun. On
13th of March, 1613 Zemsky Sobor elected young Michael to became a new Russian czar
in the Trinity Church. Unfortunately the original structure was destroyed by
a blast in 1648. A new Trinity Cathedral was constructed in 1650- 52.
According to eye witnesses mother of Michael Romanoff begged his young son
to deny Russian crown, fearing for his life. He chose otherwise. His dynasty
will continue to rule Russia for 300 years and will make his country a
Ipatiev Monastery became known as the "cradle of the
Romanovs", so no expenses were spared to support the monastery and its
pilgrims. It also contained one of the largest libraries in medieval Russia.
Most of them were transferred to Saint Petersburg. In 1919 the monastery was
closed as it happened with many abbeys across the country when atheistic
Bolsheviks came to power. Today it is reopen and returned to the Russian
Orthodox Church. Recently many buildings underwent renovations. This
included the bell tower (1601- 1604) constructed by the orders of D.I.
Godunov and Palati Romanovish (Romanov Quarters) at the Western Wall where
Michael lived with his mother during his forced exile.
Church of Birth of Mother of God (1910).
The Church was destroyed in 1934 by the Commies. The color is
not a modern enhancement. This is an original color picture by
Sergey Prokudin- Gorsky.