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Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (Кирилло-Белозерский монастырь)

Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery

 

 

 

Location: Belozersk, Vologda Oblast  Map

Established: 1397

 

10 largest cities of Russia
Moscow
St. Petersburg
Novosibirsk
Yekaterinburg
Nizhny Novgorod
Kazan
Chelyabinsk
Omsk
Samara
Rostov-on-Don

 

 

 

 

 

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Description of the Kirillo- Belozersky Monastery

Kirillo- Belozersky Monastery is located in a small town of Belozersk (literally "white lake"), 130 km from Vologda, Vologda Oblast in Russia. It was found in 1397 by two monks from Moscow's Simonov Monastery, Cyril (also Kirill) and Ferapont following the advice of their spiritual father and teacher Saint Sergius of Radonezh. Originally it consisted of a single cave dug on the shores of Siverskoye lake and a wooden cross erected by the two men. Later they added a wooden Uspensky (Assumption) chapel here. It was later replaced by a stone structure by the master from Rostov in 1497. A the time it was the largest church in Medieval Russia.
 
Kirillo- Belozersky Monastery was defended by thick walls and towers. It protected a large community of monks and peasants that lived near by. Monasteries in Russia played an important role in keeping knowledge and documents. It contained a huge library. Additionally many artisans, both monks and lay men, worked here. Moscow princes helped the abbey with donations and tax breaks. Ivan the Terrible came here many times leaving large donations. This helped Kirillo- Belozersky monastery grew and expanded. The complex consists of two monasteries: Uspensky (Assumption) and Ioanovsky (John's). Eleven churches stood inside. The whole complex was defended by eight towers and walls that were expanded in the late 17th century.
 
Empress Catherine the Great stripped the monastery of its lands in 1764. Parts of the monastery were turned into prison. The things really got worse in 1924 then atheist government of Bolsheviks closed the monastery down. Monks were either executed or arrested and later died in Gulags. Unlike most of other monasteries in the Russian North, Kirillo- Belozersky Monastery wasn't turned into a concentration camp for political prisoners. It was kept as a museum.
 
Today the community of the Kirillo- Belozersky Monastery is being revived. Several churches and buildings on its ground was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.

 

Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery Map1. Kazan Tower with main entrance gate
2. Vologda Tower
3. Kuznechnaya aka Blacksmith Tower
4. Gluchaya Tower aka Blind End Tower
5. Svitochnaya Tower
6. Vodyanaya Tower aka Water Tower with Church of Transfiguration
7. Chlebnaya Tower aka Bread Tower
8. Povarennaya Tower aka Cook Tower
9. Malaya Merezhennaya Tower
10. Belozerskaya Tower
11. Kosaya Tower
12. Feropont Tower
13. Holy Gate with a church of Saint John Lestvichnik and Treasury
14. Monks quarters- Northern Wing
15. Monks quarters- South Wing
16. Church of Saint Euphimia and a hospital
17. Bell Church of Archangel Gabriel
18. Dining Hall and a kitchen
19. Uspensky Cathedral and a Church of Saint Vladimir, Cyril and Epiphany
20. Church of Rizopolozheniya
21. Church of Saint Sergius of Radonezh with dining hall
22. Church of John the Baptist
23. Small Hospital quarters
24. Igumen (head of the monastery) quarters
 
A. Ivanovsky Monastery
B. Uspensky Monastery
C. New City

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of Kirillo- Belozersky Monastery

The monastery was founded in 1397 on the bank of Lake Siverskoye, to the south of the town of Beloozero, in the present-day Vologda Oblast. Its founder, St. Cyril or Kirill of Beloozero, following the advice of his teacher, St. Sergius of Radonezh, first dug a cave here, then built a wooden Dormition chapel and a loghouse for other monks. Shortly before the creation of the monastery, the area fell under the control of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Being a member of the influential Velyaminov clan of boyars, Kirill relinquished the office of father superior of the greatest cloister in medieval Moscow, the Simonov monastery. His close ties with the ruling elite can be convincingly demonstrated by his letters to sons of Dmitri Donskoi. It seems that the Muscovite rulers regarded Kirill's monastery as an important strategic point, both for Northern trade and in their struggle with the Novgorod Republic. By 1427, when Kirill died, the prince of Belozersk-Mozhaisk (subject to the Grand Prince of Moscow) was the monastery's patron, and the monastery was administratively subordinate to the Archbishop of Rostov. Under Hegumen Trifon (1434/5–1447/8), social and administrative reforms were undertaken, including the adoption of an Athonite cenobitic rule. A Byzantine-style secondary school was established at which translations of textbooks on grammar, semantics, geography, and history were used. A lasting legacy of the school were bibliographical studies, exemplified by the elder Yefrosin, and text-critical studies, exemplified by Nil Sorsky (1433–1508). Nil also founded a skete on the Sora River near the monastery.

In the 16th century, the monastery was the second richest landowner in Russia, after its model, the Trinity Monastery near Moscow. Ivan the Terrible not only had his own cell in the cloister, but also planned to take monastic vows here. The cloister was also important as a political prison. Among the Muscovite politicians exiled to Kirillov were Vassian Patrikeyev, Tsar Simeon Bekbulatovich, Patriarch Nikon, and the prime minister Boris Morozov. In December 1612, the monastery was besieged by Polish-Lithuanian vagabonds, the Lisowczycy, who failed to capture it.

 

 

 

 


 

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Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

 

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Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

 

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