Zverin Monastery

Veliky Novgorod, Russia

The Zverin Monastery is one of the oldest Russian monasteries, founded not later than the 12th century. It was first mentioned in the chronicles as a female monastery in 1148. By that time, the monastery already existed, and the wooden Intercession Church was destroyed by lightning. The name of the monastery, which derives from the Russian wordзверь - a mammal - originates from Zverinets, a wooden area where the monastery was built. Zverinets is mentioned in the chronicles in 1069, but the monastery was still not built. Archbishop Vasily Kalika built a stone Intercession Church in 1335. This is the oldest building of the monastery which survived. The present stone Church of St. Simeon the God-Receiver was built in the monastery in 1467 on the site of an earlier wooden one, which was built in 1399. The stone church was built to commemorate victims of the plague.

Between 1611 and 1617, during the Time of Troubles, Novgorod was occupied by the Swedes, and the monastery was considerably damaged. In 1721, it was abolished as a separate entity and subordinated to the Syrkov Monastery. In 1727, it was re-established. Between 1840 and 1860, a wall was constructed, and in 1899-1901 the new Intercession Cathedral was built. In the end of the 20th century, about forty nuns lived in the monastery. In the 1920s, after the October Revolution, the monastery was abolished. The buildings were badly damaged during World War II. The restoration works started in the 1960s. Currently, the monastery hosts a seminary for the Novgorod eparchy.

Today three churches have survived. The Church of Saint Simeon, constructed in 1467, is a small church with one apse and one dome. In the 19th century, a secondary building was added from the western side of the church. Frescoes of the 15th century survived.

The Intercession Church, built in 1399, was before 1682 consecrated to the Holy Virgin. It was considerably rebuilt in the beginning of the 17th century, after the Swedes devastated the monastery, and again in 1899-1901, when the cathedral was constructed next to the church.

The Intercession Cathedral was constructed in 1899-1901 in the eclectic style. It is the tallest building in the monastery and has five domes.

The Zverin Monastery is on the World Heritage list as a part Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Russia

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4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Денис Рамзаев (29 days ago)
We got here on foot, but it was late, everything was already closed. The area around is pleasant for walking.
Valentin Orlov (3 years ago)
A small but well-kept area of ​​the former Zverin-Pokrovsky Monastery. At the time of our visit (July 2021), there was some construction going on in the area. The Intercession Cathedral (beginning of the 20th century) is wide, squat and not too impressive with its “beauty”. However, the inside is very bright and positive, despite the fact that all the paintings and iconostasis were completed quite recently (remodel), since everything original was joyfully destroyed in Soviet times. The cathedral is closely adjacent to the much older and very small church “In Honor of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos” (XIV century), which it functionally replaced, but which, thank God, was not demolished due to this. Subsequently, this small church was reconsecrated in honor of the icon of the Tikhvin Mother of God, as indicated by the fresco above the entrance to it.
Надежда Петрова (4 years ago)
Temple of the Intercession, a prayer temple. One of the oldest temples. A beautiful parish, there is a playground, there is a Sunday school for children and adults at the church. My kids have been attending school for about 6 years, wonderful teachers choir, drawing, theater studio, all free + free lunch.
Недобрый из ватастана (4 years ago)
A remake of the beginning. 20th century, large and pompous. Nearby there are 2 churches at the end of the 14th and the middle. 15th century - they really are of historical interest, in contrast to the Church of the Intercession.
Vic Post (4 years ago)
They say that inside is the second largest temple of Veliky Novgorod. Opposite the fence and the entrance to the territory were seated several kalik passers-by of a decent but drunken appearance. Mat from them spread to the doors of the temple - something they did not share. The service was conducted in turn by four male priests, forty years old, and seven "pioneers" (from ten to 18 years old in appearance). I remember when one of them walked around the hall with a smoking censer, and his gaze fell on a young Armenian woman, who was decently dressed, but in everything tight-fitting and strongly emphasizing her lovely shapes and silhouette. The priest literally stripped her with a glance - still, the lack of female attention affects. The service was classic. Of the differences, towards the end of the middle, a female chorus sounded from invisible speakers. Thanks to the good acoustics of the hall and the perfectly matched volume, it harmoniously blended into the service. Because of the pandemic, the confession was common (they gathered in a bunch and the priest absolved of sins in bulk). Under almost every icon there are disinfectant sprayers. The sacrament was in two parts to two priests. They used one spoon for all (more precisely, two for all) spoons, probably relying on the fact that viruses die from holy prayers. In the center of the room was a table with a dozen small porcelain mugs, into which tea was poured from a large teapot, and next to it was a bowl of finely chopped dried white bread. Probably it was a spirits. Since the mugs were three times less than the people, they were allowed as a challenge prize in a circle. Someone wrote that they sell bakery and dairy products produced by a local monastery, but they found only noun-name honey at a price of about eight US dollars per kilogram.
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