Khutyn Monastery of Saviour's Transfiguration and of St. Varlaam used to be the holiest monastery of the medieval Novgorod Republic. The cloister was founded in 1192 by the monastery's first hegumen, the former Novgorodian boyar Oleksa Mikhailovich, whose monastic name was Varlaam. The main church of the monastery was consecrated by Archbishop Gavril of Novgorod the following year, the same year Varlaam died. He is buried in the main church of the monastery, the Church of the Transfiguration, to the right of the altar. He was the patron saint of Novgorod and the patrilineal ancestor of many families of Russian nobility, including Chelyadnins and Pushkins, of which Alexander Pushkin was a member.

According to Varlaam's saint's Life, Ivan III visited the cloister and wished to see the relics of Saint Varlaam in 1471. When they opened the saint's tomb, it was full of smoke and fire. Afraid of inflicting divine wrath, Ivan III fled the monastery and Novgorod altogether, leaving his staff as a curiosity to local monks. This staff was exhibited at the cloister's sacristy for centuries to come.

Ivan's son Vasily III ordered the old main church of the monastery demolished and replaced with a noble six-pillared edifice. The new church, completed by 1515 and consecrated by Metropolitan Varlaam (the archiepiscopal office in Novgorod was vacant from 1509-1526), was evidently patterned after the Assumption Cathedral in Rostov. It was the first piece of Muscovite architecture in the Russian North-West and a venerated model for many subsequent churches in the region.

The annex of St. Gabriel, added to the cathedral in 1646, received its present name after the poet Gavrila Derzhavin had been interred here in 1816. The refectory with St Varlaam Church was built on behest of Ivan IV in 1552. The Neoclassical belltower dates from the reign of Catherine the Great.

The vicar of the Novgorodian diocese was, at times, titled Archbishop of Khutyn and lived in the Khutyn Monastery. For example, Archbishop Aleksei (Simansky) was Archbishop of Khutyn from 1926-1932. He administered the diocese while Metropolitan Arsenii was imprisoned and in exile in Central Asia. Aleksei was briefly Archbishop of Novgorod (in 1933) and then Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus' (1945-1970).

During the first decades of Soviet rule the monastery housed a lunatic asylum. It was later a vacation home or hostel for visitors to the area. It was restored to the church in 1993. While for most of its history it was a male monastery, it is currently a women's convent.

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Founded: 1192
Category: Religious sites in Russia

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4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Дмитрий Кобзарев (8 months ago)
Quiet, calm, peaceful place. It is warm in the temple, even in winter. A place steeped in history. For restoring peace of mind - a great option. Sincerely, Dmitri.
Natalia Egorova (11 months ago)
7 km from Novgorod. We were on a tour bus. During this time, I have never seen a regular bus arrive. Very beautiful area. Even in October, all varieties of roses feel great. There are rare in color. I learned that here is the grave of Derzhavin and his second wife (right in the church, floor slab and vase on a pedestal). There is also a pink tuff cross in memory of the Armenian victims of the genocide. I noticed that many young Armenians come and ask for protection. Monastery bakery products are actively sold. The women mostly took the wheat bread with a brick. But I was treated to a piece of honey gingerbread - I did not like it at all (although it says "very tasty"). I didn't want to buy. They also sell milk in plastic bottles, sour cream and butter. But somehow it all looks unreliable ...
Vadim Ruchnov (11 months ago)
Commercial place.
Anastasia Vitkovskaya (13 months ago)
An amazingly beautiful place. Flowers are fragrant, butterflies flutter. It smells like roses, phlox, fresh buns, lightly salted cucumbers and ... periodically, manure))). It depends on where the wind comes from. They bowed to the relics of Saint Barlaam. They say that many miracles are performed after the pilgrimage to him. I did not know that inside the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord I would meet the grave of Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin. I strongly advise you to stop by, if possible, spend the night in a hotel for pilgrims, taste the purest monastery products.
Ольга Кондратьева (13 months ago)
Very beautiful area. And it would seem that nothing can spoil the impression. But no. The granddaughter was baptized in this monastery. Everyone was invited by 11 am. Asked without delay. The nun explained their duties to the godparents. And for 2 hours, everyone with small children waited for the service to end. Explain to me why then invite exactly at the time? When the large pot of tea was brought out, naturally the children were thirsty. To which they replied in a very boorish way that it was for parishioners, and if your children want to drink, buy water in our kiosk. So I want to ask you: where is the mercy, kindness and self-denial of earthly aspirations.
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