The Kozheozersky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery founded by Niphont of Kozheozero and Serapion of Kozheozero in 1550s. It is one of the most remote monasteries in Russia; there are no roads leading to Kozhozero, and the only way to get to the monastery is 30 kilometres by foot.
In 16th century the valley of the Onega River was already populated, and the ascetic monks were looking for remote places to get away from people. Niphont of Kozheozero, a monk in the Syryinsky Monastery close to the selo of Chekuyevo, in the lower course of the Onega, arrived to Lake Kozhozero. According to the tradition, this occurred in 1552. In 1557, Sergey, a baptized Tatarprince, arrived to Lalke Kozhozero and became a monk, taking the name Serapion. He later became the first hegumen of the monastery. Since the lands around Lake Kozhozero were not suitable for agriculture, the monastery was initially poor. In 1585, Tsar Feodor Ivanovich transferred lands around the lake to the monastery, and two churches were built. Serapion died in 1611. The next hegumen was Avraamy, who was the disciple of Serapion and died in 1634. The only saint ever living in the monastery was Nikodim of Khozyuga, who came to Kozhozero in 1607, and in 1609 left for a remote location 14 kilometres from Kozheozersky Monastery.
Nikon, the future patriarch of Moscow and reformer of Russian Orthodox Church, arrived to the monastery in 1641 and was the hegumen from 1643 to 1646. During his period, he solicited considerable investments from two tsars. In 1646, he left for Moscow for some business related to the monastery, and never returned, getting a new appointment.
In 1670, the monastery served as a place for political exile. In 17th century, it was growing and became rich, however, in 18th century the financial state of the monastery deteriorated. In 1722 the last hegumen, Georgy, died, and subsequently the monastery was headed by a 'builder'. The first builder was Korniliy (1722-1738). In the beginning of 1730s, a disastrous fire destroyed all wooden buildings of the monastery, and it was never able to recover. In 1758, the monastery was subordinated toSpaso-Kargopolsky Monastery in Kargopol, and in 1764, it was shut down. Between 1650s and 1764, 346 monks in total lived in the monastery.
Kozheozersky monastery was reopened in 1853. In 1764, former monastery buildings were turned into a village, and the village population was forcibly resettled in 1853. Until 1880s, the monastery was poorly managed and remained in a difficult financial situation. The situation improved when Pitirim, formerly a monk in Solovetsky Monastery, became a hegumen in 1885. He renewed the monastery buildings and built a road to the moneatery.
During the Civil War in Russia, Kozheozersky Monastery was on the front line between Red and White armies. For some time, it remained on the territory subject to the White gowernment in Arkhangelsk, and a White Army detachment was stationed in the monastery. The front line was close to the selo of Chekuyevo. In the winter 1919/1920, the Red Army underwent a massive attack an, in particular, took the monastery over. The monastery was closed, the fate of the monks is unknown.
For some time, the ruins of Kozheozersky monastery hosted resettled peasants. This settlement was known as Kozhposyolok. In 1954, Kozhposyolok was abandoned, and the monastery was repopulated in 1997 and consecrated in 1999. The only monk permanently residing in the monastery is the hegumen.References:
The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.
In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.
After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.
In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.