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Svyatoyezersky monastery

What a miserable destiny have the majority of nunneries! Each of them has its own story of life, death and renewal. And each story is a life chronicle of many generations.

G. R. Yakushkin, the head of the childish exploratory studio, “VID” (Auxiliary historical disciplines), which is situated in Moscow Municipal Palace of childish and teenage invention, told me one of these stories. Every year (since 1997) their studio holds summer expeditions to Pestyakovsk District of Ivanovo Region. 

Once, during one of the expeditions (in 1998), local inhabitants advised young historians to visit the Saint Lake, which was situated not far from Mugreevsky Village. When they reached the lake, all of them were impressed: there were a lot of semi-ruined churches on its shore, which they had never heard about. It was a Svyatoyezersky monastery which was renewing after many years of desolation.

Later young explorers got acquainted with monastery’s Prioress Georgia and Sisters Dar’ya and Elena. Prioress Georgia told them the history of the Svyatoyezersky monastery. It was so interesting that after returning home young historians found extant historic documents about this monastery. Here are the facts that they have learned.

Long time ago this unsettled place was covered by impassable forests and mosses. At the beginning of the 14th Mitropolit Filaret settled there and made a draw-well, which was filled with saint water. Some years later the draw-well turned into the lake with clear and warm water. Nowadays, the water is chalybeate everywhere, but clear and crystal in the Saint Lake.

In the 14th century Moscow Mitropolit Kiprian, who wished for the solitary confinement, went to that beautiful and abandoned place. It seemed to be especially created for the solitary prayer. Mitropolit spent much time in prayers there and soon founded the Church of the Transfiguration of God.

Young historians also learned from the Nikon’s chronicle of 1411 that Mitropolit Foty liked that place, too. It was written there that on the 2nd of June he went to the church, which was built by Mitropolit Filaret near the Saint Lake, to hide from the Tartar army, headed by tsarevich Talich. Thanking for the rescue, he built a church at the monastery.

The monastery’s history of the next 2 centuries is unknown, except several mentions, concerning, for example, its connection with the Princes Pozharskys.

A great disaster happened in 1903 – a fire damaged Sister’s cells, the church, its railing and a church-owl. Only icons and some utensils were saved. The distance between the monastery and the nearest villages was about 7–10 km, that’s why their inhabitants couldn’t hear the monastery’s bell and come to help.

The nuns managed to rebuild the church and with the help of donations made it more beautiful. Terent’ev, the factories’ owner in Shuya, and his sons gave money for building a new stone temple.

There were 2 churches at the monastery by the beginning of the 20th century: the Church of the Kasan Icon of Our Lady and the Church of St. Afanasy Afonsky. Wooden buildings, where the Prioress and the novitiates lived, were situated near the monastery. But it wasn’t enough for so many people, that’s why two-storied houses were built for nuns. There was a long corridor on each floor, where cosy cells (each of them for 2 nuns) were situated. One of the houses contained a common refectory and a kitchen. They had also a bakery in detached house. Clearness and trim were everywhere. Some houses for the priesthood, a hotel for prayers, a stockyard and a mill were situated out of the wooden railing (with towers on its corners).

At the beginning of the 20th century 19 nuns and 58 novitiates lived at the monastery.

Then the monastery was closed, its walls were taken to pieces and the necropolis was knocked off. The church was used as a wine-cellar, the bell was taken away by the local fire-station, the part of the monastery, which stopped car driving, was destroyed. Monastery’s buildings were used as dwelling-houses and even nowadays the inhabitants of Mugreevsky Village live there.

The monastery’s renewing started in spring of 1998, after Prioress Georgia had gotten the blessing and permission of the Ivanovo eparchy. The hardest work was made by 3 nuns: they found workers for repairing, renewed icons, gathered necessary utensil. Soon the church was open for everybody.

At the beginning of 1930s the nuns were shot at the monastery and in memorial to their martyring death Prioress Georgia set a cross and on the place, where they had died, a flower-garden was made. This story consists of several lines, but it’s difficult to imagine what a hard work was made by 3 nuns to overcome all difficulties, to open the church, to start renewing of the monastery, which had beautified the shores of the Saint Lake many years ago.

All these extant messengers of the past need our guard and care, appeal to our graciousness and memory. Young historians were impressed by history of the monastery, beauty of the Saint Lake. They understood that all difficulties could be overcome only by selfless and self-righteous people, assured in importance of their life-work.


Девичник. 2001- 2006.
  Авторский журнал. 
© "Девичник/ Devichnick", 20012006.
© Оформление, текст, фотоматериалы Молотилова Л. К., 20012006.
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