Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery

Teryaevo, Russia

Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was the most authoritative and wealthy monastery in Russia in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was founded in 1479 by Joseph Volotsky. Over the next several decades, the monastery played a key role in the political and ecclesiastic life of the 16th-century Russia. It was also a stronghold of struggle against the opponents of church landownership and heretics. Its vaults were used as a prison for dissenters. Joseph Volotsky, Metropolitan Daniel, Archbishop Feodosii, and Malyuta Skuratov are among many notables buried within monastery walls.

In the 1560s, Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was the second largest landowner in Russia, with more than 30,000 desyatinas of arable lands in its possession. Several smaller priories, dependent on the monastery, were founded on these lands. Within the principal cloister, three ponds were kept full of fresh water. After the Assumption Cathedral was constructed in brick in 1486, the great icon-painter Dionisius was summoned to embellish its walls with frescoes. An enormous octagonal bell-tower was constructed in 9 tiers in the 1490s. At that time, it was the tallest structure in Russia. Its design heralded that of Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Moscow Kremlin.

During the Time of Troubles, Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was actively engaged in helping the government of Basil IV in his struggle against Ivan Bolotnikov's rebels. The Polish hetman Prince Rozynski lost his life besieging the monastery in 1611. After the siege, the monks captured a lot of Polish cannons, which were later used for festive fire works.

At the end of the 17th century, the monastery was reconstructed in the fashionable Naryshkin style. The new walls, completed by 1688, featured nine sharp-coned towers of stone. A golden-domed church was built over the main gates to the monastery in 1679. A church of similar design was added in 1682 to the spacious refectory, currently the oldest building in the complex, dating from 1504. The new Assumption Cathedral replaced the old one between 1682 and 1689. Its exterior was elaborately decorated with coloured tiles, and a marvellously carved iconostasis was installed in the interior.

After the October Revolution of 1917, Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was turned into a museum. The Soviet authorities destroyed all the bells and took most of the icons to Moscow. During World War II, the Nazi army seriously damaged the cloister and blew up its famous bell-tower. Although the churches have been subsequently restored, the bell-tower remains a major loss sustained by Russian art during the war.

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Founded: 1479
Category: Religious sites in Russia

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Nikolay Petrov (15 months ago)
Nice place, impressive!
Anastasiya Lyashenko (17 months ago)
Beautiful time spent enjoying the monastery and its surroundings. Peaceful and good. There is a small bakery inside the monastery that has some lovely goods for purchase. Also there is a museum to visit but we came near closing and didn't get the chance.
Simone Cabrino (21 months ago)
Nice monastery. It has a nice history, read it before coming to have a better visit. We enjoyed the Bible's museum.
Firstname Lastname (21 months ago)
Had a nice walk around the lake and monastery walls
Shmuel Rabinovich (2 years ago)
Nice place, kind people. I'm happy, that visited Monastyr'. Maybe be it's not the best where you can go, but if you are some where near it, be sure, the visit of Monastyr' won't be the waste of your time.
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