Kirillo-Belozerskiy 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 than 30 years. The Uspensky monastery was erected originally. Then 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 the monastery Igumen Trifon set him free from a 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 grown and despite a big fire in 1557 the monastery become the greatest stone grange in Russia, except only Troitze-Sergiev monastery. The 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 the 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. These fortifications remained till these 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 its 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, color, bright and very diverse, although entrance to the walls and towers was restricted because of winter. There were no 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.

But in the summer a lot of things are open here - museums, exhibitions, walls walks, bell towers, etc...; but there can be an abyss of pilgrims on religious holidays and idle tourists during all sorts of historical festivals, which there are many here in the summer. Therefore, the monastery is recommended for visiting in winter and summer, with families and alone, as part of a rifle company or bandit band...

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Land forts and fortress:
Bip Castle Gatchina Ivangorod Izborsk Kexholm Kirillov Monastery Koporye Novgorod Pechorskiy Monastery Peter&Paul Fortress Porkhov Pskov Schlisselburg Staraya Ladoga Tikhvin Vyborg Hameenlinna Hamina Kastelholm Kymenlinna Lappaenranta Raseborg Castle Savonlinna Tavetti Turku Visby Fredrikstadt Fredriksten Hegra Fort Hoytorp Fort Arensburg Narva Tallinn Antipatris Caesarea Jerusalem Latrun Fort Masada
Sea forts and fortresses:
Alexander Fort Ino Fort Krasnaya Gorka Fort Kronstadt: Kotlin isl. Kronstadt: North Forts Kronstadt: South Forts Trongsund Hanko Svartholm Sveaborg Marstrand Siaro Fort Vaxholm Oscarsborg
Artillery batteries and individual guns:
Coastal Artillery Hemso Fort
Fortified areas and defensive lines:
Karelian Fortified Area (KaUR) KrUR Leningrad Mannerheim Line Nevsky Bridgehead VT Line Harparskog Line Salpa Line Gothland
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