Valday Iversky Monastery was founded by Patriarch Nikon in 1653. In the 17th century, the Valday Iversky Monastery was one of the most influential monasteries in Russia and a significant cultural center. By the autumn of 1653, two wooden churches were in use. Nikon also ordered to transfer the relic of Saint Iosif of Borovichi to the monastery, which was done in February, 1654. In the same year, all lands around Lake Valdayskoye, including the selos of Valday, Borovichi, and Vyshny Volochyok, were declared the property of the monastery. The monastery became one of the biggest landowners in Russia.
In 1655, all monks from the former Orsha Kutein Monastery, located in the area of the present-day Belarus, moved to the Valday Iversky Monastery. One monk, Dionisy, was appointed a hegumen. This move was related to a difficult situation of the Orthodox Church in Poland.In the second half of the 17th century, the monastery became a center of culture and education. In particular, the monastery started to print books, the second such institution in Russia after the Moscow Print Yard. Production of porcelain tiles, the first one in Russia, started in the monastery. In 1656, the first stone church was completed. Nikon, as well as a number of metropolitans, personally attended the sanctification. For this occasion, a copy of the icon of Theotocos Iverskaya was made and placed in the monastery. Simultaneously, Nikon issued a prohibition to make further copies of the icon.
In 1666, Nikon was deposed, and all monasteries he supervised, including the Iversky monastery, were abolished. However, already in 1668 the monastery was re-established, and the former monks, including the hegumen, Filofey, returned.
In the 18th century, the monastery slowly declined. Between 1712 and 1730, it was subordinated to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, located in Saint Petersburg. Much of the treasure kept in the Valday Iversky Monastery was transferred to the Lavra. An attempt to revive the former importance of the monastery was made in the 1850s. After the October Revolution, the monastery was first transformed into a labour cooperative in 1919, and in 1927, it was abolished. The monastery buildings housed a museum, a workshop, a hospital, a retirement home, and a recreation facility. The icon of the Theotocos Iverskaya disappeared in 1927 and was never recovered.
In 1991, the monastery was reopened. In the Peter and Paul Cathedral in Valday, a copy of the icon of the Theotocos Iverskaya, dating from 1854, survived. This copy was transferred to the monastery and remains there.
The construction of the monastery started in the 1650s. The oldest stone church built in the monastery (1656), the Assumption Cathedral, remains intact. Much of the ensemble of the monastery was created in the 1670s by a local architect, Afanasy Fomin. From this period, the Cathedral of the Epiphany, the Church of Archangel Michael, the St. Michael Tower, and the hegumen's chamber remain. The walls and the remaining towers were built at later periods.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.