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Russian Sacred Places: Nilov Monastery - the Healing Source
August 1, 2011 15:28

Short History

  •  In 1515 saint Nilus left Kripetsky Monastery and went to the new place - to Stolobniy island on Seliger lake, situated at 7 km from Ostashkovo. Legend says that devil tried to prevent him from it : sent fires, robbers, but Nilus stayed firm and overcame all the difficulties with his faith and prayers. He lived there gor 27 years in total seclusion.In 1594, after his death, a male monastery was founded. The legend says, that in the face of death, he predicted to his confessor Sergy that a monastery will be built at the place where he lived. And so it happened: coenobite Herman, who revered Nilus, founded a monastery here and became its first Farther-Superior.
  • The monastery developed and in the 19th centurt it was in the period of prosperity. Nearly all Russian Emperors sent their rich gifts to Nilov Monastery. So did the state officials. Tsar Alexei Romanov granted a huge bell for the consecration of the first stone cathedral. His son Fyodor sent silver-gold vessels, cup for holy water and  communion table Gospel for divine services. Katherine the Great granted brocade  and silk chasubles, decorated with gold and silver. In 1829 the monastery was visited by the Emperor Alexander I.
  • In the period of USSR Nilov Mpnastery was a labour commune, colony for juvenile criminals, camp for Polish prisoners, old people's home, holiday camp. By the end of 80s the monastery was abandoned and it was impossible to use the buildings without special restoration works.
  • In 1990 the monastery was passed to Tverskay eparchy. 

What To See

The monastery consists of several cathedrals and churches, real pieces of art :

  • Epiphany Cathedral
  • All Saints Cathedral
  • Sain Nilus Stolobensky Cathedral
  • Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral
  • Saint John the Baptist Cathedral

Epiphany Cathedral was built in 1821-1823. It has three altars and here all monastery service rank is commited. It is the most restored cathedral for the present day. Here is also situated the main monastery shrine - the relics of Saint Nilus. 

All Saints Cathedral is the oldest one. A small quadrangular cathedral was built in 1699-1701 and at first it was called Saint Nilus Cathedral. It also was called hospital church, as there was a hospital in its extension.

Saint Nilus Stolobensky Cathedral is situated beside the chamber of the Bishop. It was built in the 18th century with the help of donations. Originally it was decorated with the octahedral lantern, but it was replaced with the rotunda, topped with the cross and sphere. The cathedral itself was projected on the same pattern as Donskoy monastery in Moscow. 

At the eastern gates of the monastery is a pyramidal Saint Peter and Paul Church. The church was founded in 1760-1764 again with the help of donations. Its iconostasis is famous for the relief,cut out from wood, colourful images of angels and saints. The whole interior if the cathedral is notable for it. 

At the western side of the island Solobny, at the place where the cave of Saint Nilus had been located, where with the blessing of the bishop Gavriil a stone chapel had been built built,  a big two-storeyed church in the name of Saint John the Baptist was founded. It was constructed in the 18th century thanks to the land owner Chelishev. There was a Church of Intercession of the Blessed Virgin on the ground floor ; in the corner of the ground temple was a cave. The place of the cave was found in 1777 during the construction works. The cave of Saint Nilus is considered to be especially honoured among piligrims. A first sculptural image of the Saint was set here, and many people, turning to this image, were getting help and cure. Under this church is buried the benefactor of this church Chelishev. There used to be a monastery fraternal cemetery beside it. In the Soviet time the temple was destroyed till the base. Only nowadays, with the help of the volunteers of the youth orthodox movement, the ruins and the foundation of the church were dug out and cleared up.

In front of the eastern gates of the monastery is a Bishop Pier. It was built of stone in the 19th century and looks like front gates. It was constructed for the reception of the annual Cross Procession from the town Ostashkovo on the day of the acquisition of saint relics of Saint Nilus. The Cross Procession was arriving at the monastery at 9 a.m. by the barge, decorated with colourful flags, with a whole flotilla of big and small ships. As they got to the monastery, the superior and the monks were meeting them. The Procession was walking up the stairs to the saint gates and went to the cathedral church to recite a liturgy.

On the side of the bridge on the peninsula Svetlitsa a tower was built. It was made in late classicism style and was called Svetlitskaya Tower. From the aesthetic point of view, it connected Bishop Pier and Epiphany Cathedral. But it also had another function - there was a lantern on its spire to show the way to the lost ones in bad weather.

The shores of the island Stolobny were enclosed with an embankment of wild hewn granite to prevent them from blurring. The construction of the embankment was realized throughout eighteen years (1833-1851)  according to the project of the architect  L'vov. The embankment was built on the perimeter of the whole island.

Saint Source

Nilov Monastery has a fame of a healing monastery. One of the reasons of such belief is a saint source. Okovetsky Source is open to numerous guests and piligrims, wishing to see it, drink the holy water or to bathe there. It is open anytime. The source itself is a round basin, surrounded by hewn granite and covered with hip dome. It is situated on the high peninsula.

How To Get There

By train

One should take a train Moscow - St. Petersburg, which depart from Leningradsky railway station, and get off at Ostashkovo. When yo get to Ostashkovo, get on the bus to Svetlitsa, it will take you 30-40 minutes. You can take also a train with Tver' direction and get there on the bus to Ostashkovo. The second variant will take you less time, about 4,5 hours.

By bus 

You can get on the bus at the metro station "Dinamo", which heads for Ostashkovo. Bus ticket price is 600 rubles ( 15 euros, 21 dollars), the journey will take 6 hours. 

Where To Stay

 There are two hotels on the terrotory of the monastery. One hotel is "Monastirskaya" with single rooms, double rooms and rooms for three persons. The price - 1000 rubles ( 25 euros, 36 dollars) per person. Another hotel is more budget. The hotel "Palomnicheskaya" offers rooms for 12-20 persons. The price is 500 rubles ( 13 euros,18 dollars) per person.



Tags: Nilov Monastery Russian sacred places Russian churches Seliger Lake  

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