Pühtitsa Convent

Illuka, Estonia

The Pühtitsa convent is located on a site known as Pühitsetud ("blessed" in Estonian) since ancient times. According to a 16th century legend, near the local village, Kuremäe, a shepherd witnessed a divine revelation near a spring of water to this day venerated as holy. Later, locals found an ancient icon of Dormition of the Mother of God under a huge oak tree. The icon still belongs to the convent.

A small Orthodox church was built in Pühtitsa in the 16th century. In 1888, the Russian Orthodox Church sent a nun from Kostroma Ipatiev Monastery to establish a convent in Pühtitsa. The convent was founded in 1891. The main Cathedral of the convent was built to a design by Mikhail Preobrazhensky in a Russian Revival style and was fully completed in 1910.

There are six churches in the convent dedicated to a number of Orthodox Christian Saints such as St. Sergius of Radonezh, St. Simeon the Receiver of God, St. Nicholas, St. Anna the Prophetess and others. Prince Sergei Shakhovskoy governor-general of Estonia was convent's patron and protected it from local nobles, mostly German Lutherans, who tried to resist its construction. The convent was first Orthodox monastery built in Estonia to the delight of mostly Orthodox local Estonian and Russian peasants of Jõhvi county.

In 1919, after Estonia became independent from Russia, the new government confiscated most of the convent's land and transferred the convent to the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, independent of Moscow. During the Second World War the battlefront was at times only a few kilometres away from the convent and Germans organized a concentration camp for Russian prisoners of war inside the monastery compound.

Following the second invasion and occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in 1944, the convent managed to survive despite the uneasy co-existence with the Communist authorities. Patriarch Alexius II who was the bishop (later the archbishop) of Tallinn and Estonia in the 1960s was instrumental in the fight to keep the convent from closure. In 1990 the Pühtitsa Convent was placed under the direct authority of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexius II. By 1991, the Pühtitsa monastic community consisted of 161 nuns.

Reference: Wikipedia


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Kuremäe küla, Illuka, Estonia
See all sites in Illuka


Founded: 1891
Category: Religious sites in Estonia
Historical period: Part of the Russian Empire (Estonia)


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Eva Hancock (2 years ago)
Lovely place to go and have a look around. Completely different way of life in there .
Marina Nekrassova (2 years ago)
A must-see place in Eastern Estonia, even if you are a nonbeliever. Beautiful and well-maintained monastery yard, definitely worth to take a 30-45 min walk. Watch out for signs and avoid getting too close to wooden houses where nuns live. Parking lot near the main entry seems to be only for guests who agreed their visit in advance, so best to park your car a bit further.
Birgit Joonas (2 years ago)
Nice historical place to walk.
Siim Ernits (2 years ago)
Beautiful and peaceful place. You can visit freely, no tickets required, but since its an active monastery, one must remember to be respectful and not disturb the nuns living there.
Istvant T1ch1 (4 years ago)
With Snow on the ground, wearing fur jacket walking hand in hand with your Love. Singing In native tongue For Peace On Earth Good Will for man in a crazy Time. Is majestic. This is not an average tour stop. In case you did not know my entries are not average. The Rich History of going thru Nazis then Horrible Communist. And the endurance of Women who Loved the People is Off the Charts. So many have no idea what real Nuns were and some are today. I honor them, And the Holy mother who Gave birth to our Lord. And my own birth mom and my dear New mom or step mom. Merry Christmas World. If your around come here. We are the folks that have some fun stuff going on in this region. We are part of something special and your welcome to join us. may your Family be filled with Love as we step into 2021.
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