Trinity Monastery of St Sergius

sights / Religious

Trinity Monastery of St Sergius information

Sergiev Posad , Russia
+7 496 544 5356
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In 1340, St Sergius of Radonezh founded this monastery, which soon became the spiritual centre of Russian Orthodoxy. St Sergei was credited with providing mystic support to prince Dmitry Donskoy in his improbable victory over the Tatars in the battle of Kulikovo Pole in 1380. Soon after his death at the age of 78, Sergius was named Russia’s patron saint.

Spruced up on the occasion of St Sergius 700-year anniversary in 2014, the monastery is an active religious centre with a visible population of monks in residence. This mystical place is a window into the age-old belief system that has provided Russia with centuries of spiritual sustenance.

Built in the 1420s, the squat, dark Trinity Cathedral is the heart of the Trinity Monastery. The tomb of St Sergius stands in the southeastern corner, where a memorial service for him goes on all day, every day. The icon-festooned interior, lit by oil lamps, is largely the work of the great medieval painter Andrei Rublyov and his students.

The star-spangled Cathedral of the Assumption was modelled on the cathedral of the same name in the Moscow Kremlin. It was finished in 1585 with money left by Ivan the Terrible in a fit of remorse for killing his son. Outside the west door is the grave of Boris Godunov , the only tsar not buried in the Moscow Kremlin or St Petersburg’s SS Peter & Paul Cathedral. Another notable grave is that of St Innokenty, known as the apostle of America. He founded the Russian Orthodox community in Alaska.

Nearby, the resplendent Chapel-at-the-Well was built over a spring that is said to have appeared during the Polish siege. The five-tier baroque bell tower took 30 years to build in the 18th century, and once had 42 bells, the largest of which weighed 65 tonnes.

The Vestry , behind the Trinity Cathedral, displays the monastery’s extraordinarily rich treasury, bulging with 600 years of donations by the rich and powerful – tapestries, jewel-encrusted vestments, solid-gold chalices and more. It was closed for reconstruction at the time of research. The timeframe for re-opening wasn't clear.

The huge block with the ‘wallpaper’ paint job is the Refectory Church of St Sergei , so called because it was once a dining hall for pilgrims. Now it’s the Assumption Cathedral’s winter counterpart, holding morning services in cold weather. It is closed outside services, except for guided tours. The green building next door is the metropolitan’s residence.