Northern Fortress - Kirillo-Belozersky monastery

History of Kirillo-Belozerskiy Monastery

The monastery was founded in 1397 by St.Kirill nicknamed Belozersky. St.Kirill descended from one of the most distinguished boyar families Veliaminoff. He ruled by the monastery more then 30 years. The Uspensky monastery was erected originally. Than small Ivanovsky monastery was constructed alongside in XVI cent. Kirillo-Belozersky monastery was outpost of Moscow state in hostile Novgorod's lands.

Vasilij II "Dark" (in meaning - blind) from his exile in Vologda visited the monastery. The head of monastery Igumen Trifon set him free from promise not to pretend to the Moscow throne. Prince Vasilij awarded generously the monastery afterward.

Vasilij III with wife visited the monastery in 1528 and prayed here for birth of their heir. The heir named Ivan VI "Grozny" (in meaning - formidable) has been born and it was connected with holy graces of the monastery.

Wealth of monastery has grew and despite of big fire in 1557 the monastery become the greatest stone grange in Russia, except only Troitze-Sergiev monastery. First brick fortress wall and eight towers were built in 1600. There were 9 stone churches and bell-towers inside the fortress. Monk's cells and other economic buildings were wooden.

In 1612 Poland invaders appeared under the walls of the monastery. They did not make their minds for the immediate attack but fired and ruined the vicinities of monastery. December, 1612 the reinforcement from Poland and Litva was arrived and began the fierce storm. All attacks were beaten of by monasteries strelets (fire armed guards), monks and apprentices. Enemy chief colonel Pesotsky was killed in that battle.

New stone walls were erected in 1654-80 and the monastery become one of the most powerfull fortress in Russia. This fortifications remained till this days.

In 1722 emperor Peter the Great visited the monastery. The monastery possessed more than 21 thousand peasants in 16 uezds (district) in that times.

In 1764 the monastery was deprived of all it's peasants and lands by edict of impress Ekaterina II. In 1764 the town Kirillov was formed from monasteries settlements. The town jail was placed in the chambers of fortress walls. The gradual decline of monastery began from that moment.

In 1924 the monastery was closed by decree of Soviets and museum was formed on the monastery territory.


My impressions are huge, colour, bright and very diverse although entrance to the walls and towers was restricted because winter. There were not tourist crowd and mob in the monastery. It was empty and quiet and it was good. I could walk and snap excellent monastery panoramas from the ice of Siversky Lake. I can say, the winter is the best time for the trip to this wonderful place.

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