Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Спасо- Преображенский Монастырь)

 Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Спасо- Преображенский Монастырь)


Location: Bogoyavlenskaya pl. 25

Tel. 4852303 869

Entrance Fee: 20 rubbles, exhibit 40- 50 rubbles


Open: Museum exhibit 10am- 5pm Tue- Sun

Grounds 8am- 8pm daily Oct- May


Description of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery

Holy Transfiguration Monastery is the oldest Russian Orthodox monastery in Yaroslavl. It was first mentioned in official documents in 1186. Originally Holy Transfiguration Monastery was situated outside of the historic Kremlin of Yaroslavl on the left bank of river Kotorosli near a crossing. Over time secular rulers realized its strategic location and invested large sums of money to defend it. Convent became not only a religious complex, but also part of the outer defences of Yaroslavl from the West. Additionally in the 13th century Holy Transfiguration Monastery wooden main church and common Dining Hall was replaced by stone structures with the funds provided by Prince of Yaroslavl Konstantin. He also ordered construction of the first religious school in the North East Russia that became known as the Grigorievsky porch. This religious school became an important site of preparing future priests for the church. Monastery gathered a large collection of Russian and Greek manuscripts pertaining to religious subjects, secular history and even works of ancient pagan writers. In the 1790's Holy Transfiguration Convent became famous for sensational discovery of a medieval manuscript "Word about Igor's army". It was discovered by Alexei Ivanovich Musin- Pushkin and turned out to be one of the oldest example of secular historic documents about history of Russia.


The main church in Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Yaroslavl is Transfiguration Cathedral. It is a stone church that was built in 1506- 16 on a site of much older medieval church that existed here since the original foundation of the monastery. The church was badly damaged in the great fire of 1501 so it was reconstructed. Russian tsar Vasily III of Moscow sent best masters from Moscow to erect this beautiful church.


On the South- East side of the Transfiguration Cathedral you can see the Church of Yaroslavl Miracle- workers. It was constructed in 1827- 31 following a design of P.Y. Pankov. It is situated on the site of an older Vhodoierusalimskaya (Entrance of Jerusalem) Church. In 1463 monks acquired the relics of Saint Prince Theodore and his sons David and Constantine, Yaroslavl Miracle- Workers. Original church didn't suffer from fire of 1501, but it was reconstructed in 1617- 19 and finally in the early 19th century. You can still see remains of the original medieval temple in the base of the current Church of Yaroslavl Miracle- Workers.


The bell tower of the Monastery and the main dining hall in the eastern part of the convent date back to the 16th century. Dining Hall contains a small church dedicated to Birth of Christ in its Eastern part that was built in the 17th century.


Walls and towers of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery date back to the 16th century. They replaced older wooden military defences. They turned out to be very handy in 1609 when the monastery survived 24 day siege by Polish forces. Technically the monks are not allowed to fight or even resist, but the monastery was flooded by refuges from surrounding country side. They didn't have time to flee and hide behind walls of the historic Yaroslavl so they chose second best option, the monastery. Monks and peasant militia proved too much for the Polish army and they had to retreat. In 1612 commanders of Russian militia Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and tradesman Kuzma Minin spent 4 months in the monastery. They went on to defeat the Polish- Lithuanian army and liberate Moscow from invaders. Statue dedicated to both men stands on the Red Square in Moscow. After liberation Moscow and all of Russia neither men tried to claim the throne. Instead Mikhail Romanov was chosen as the new tsar of Russia. He stayed in the Transfiguration convent on the way to his coronation.

In the late 18th century Transfiguration Monastery was abolished by the orders of Empress Catherine the Great. She was born and raised in Germany and grew up in a Protestant country, thus she saw no use in monasteries. Many of the convents were abolished and its buildings converted to other church purposes. Transfiguration Monastery was turned into an official residence of the archbishop of Yaroslavl.


After Russian Revolution convent was completely closed. During Yaroslavl uprising it was badly damaged, but restored shortly thereafter. Medieval buildings were converted to school, recruitment office, residential purposes and other need. In 1950's it became the local historical and architectural museum dedicated to history of Yaroslavl.