Nilov Monastery

Image of Nilov Monastery

Nilov Monastery (Нило-Столобенская пустынь) is located on the shores of Stolbnyi Island of picturesque lake Seliger in Tver Oblast in Russia. The name of the island literally means "a column".


Location: Stolbnyi Island Lake Seliger     Map

Found: 1594


Description of Nilov Monastery

According to some version it describes the overall shape of the island. Another legend claims that this site was used by pagan Slavic tribes for their temple. A column once stood in the centre of this religious complex, giving the name to the island itself. Eventually the temple was abandoned along with the old pagan religions and forgotten. The island was uninhabited until the first Orthodox monk Saint Nilus (Saint Neal) settled here. Eventually more monks have followed him. A small community grew even after death of their original leader. Under leadership of brother German from Monastery of Saint Nicholas Rojok they have found a monastery in 1594. Originally it consisted of wooden structures. Starting from the 17th century the wooden churches and buildings were replaced by stone. The embankment and a causeway was completed in 1812 and large Epiphany cathedral was completed in 1821- 25. Peter and Paul Church was completed in 1764, Church of the Nilus in 1755 and All Saints Church was constructed in 1701. It became one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in the Russian Empire. It accepted up to 40,000 pilgrims every year. The number of people who lived here reached over 1000 men. After Soviet Revolution everything changed however. In 1919 it was looted by the Bolsheviks. In 1927 it was closed completely and transformed into a commune colony for juvenile delinquents. From 1939- 40 it served as a camp for Polish prisoners of war after Red Army invaded Poland in 1939. In 1941- 45 during years of the World War II it was converted to a military hospital. In 1945- 60 it was transferred to penitentiary system and served as a prison. In 1960- 71 it served a nursing home, and yet again it was transformed into a hostel from 1971 to 1990. After the collapse of Soviet Union the monastery was returned to Russian Orthodox Church. The body of its spiritual leader brother Nilus was returned in 1995.


Image of Nilov Monastery  Image of Nilov Monastery

Actual colored picture made in 1908 (S. Prokudin- Gorsky)