Alexander Svirsky Monastery

Alexander Svirsky Monastery

Alexandro-Svirsky Monastery is a historical monastery of the late 15th century, it is located next to Lake Ladoga and the Svir River.

The Holy - Alexander Svirsky Monastery was founded in the late 15th - early 16th century by the monk Alexander, who came from Valaam Monastery.

There are a few original buildings which date back to the time when the monastery was founded. One of them is the stone Intercession Church with a refectory chamber. There is an opinion that the Church was built in the days of the founder of the monastery, Alexander Svirsky (1448-1533). According to another version, it was built half a century later, in 1585.

On the one hand, the Monastery was a significant religious center of the Russian Orthodox Church in Karelia between 17-19 centuries. It played an important role in the development of the local education and it could help the Russian Orthodox Church to strengthen its position in that area, also the Monastery could help to prevent spread of schism influence. The center of the old believers’ group was the Vygoretsky monastery, which was located on the Vyg River, in the present, it is Medvezhyegorsk district of the Republic of Karelia.

On the other hand, the Monastery was an important center of commerce and social life. It hosted the Trinity Fair, it was popular among merchants from different parts of Russia and from abroad.

Nowadays, the festival of "Trinity Fair" is regularly arranged in the village of Staraya Sloboda.

In the Time of Troubles at the beginning of the 17th century, the monastery was frequently invaded by Polish-Lithuanian troops. In 1612 or 1613 they ravaged the monastery, burned churches and killed the Father Superior and many of the brethren. There is a legend, that the locals united and defeated the invaders, and still there are burial mounds near present town of Olonets.

Russian Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich was the first of the Romanov dynasty, who renewed the monastery and patronized it until his death in 1645.

In 1677, the construction of a stone monastery fence began, and in 1694 the Trinity Cathedral was started.

Peter the Great paid frequent visits to the monastery on his way to the Olonets shipyard (now Lodeynoye Pole) and to the Martial Waters (Russian resort in the north). Many other members of the Royal Family stayed in the Monastery, in particular, Alexander II and his family in 1858.
At the end of the 19th century, the monastery became a popular pilgrimage center.

After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the monastery was closed. In 1920 the Monastery was rearranged into to the agricultural technical school. Later, some buildings of the Monastery housed an asylum.

In the 1970s, restoration works began in the Intercession Church. In 1997, the monastery was given back to the Russian Orthodox Church. The restoration of the monastery is still not finished.

Alexander Svirsky Monastery consists of two parts: Troitsky (Holy Trinity) and Preobrazhensky (Transfiguration).

The most remarkable buildings of the Trinity Complex are the following: the 16th-century Intercession Church with the refectory chamber, the three-dome belfry and the Trinity Cathedral of the late 17th century, the vaults of the Cathedral contain impressive mural paintings.

The Transfiguration complex is located 250-300 meters away from the Troitsky one. The mental hospital was located there until 2009. The most noteworthy buildings of that complex are as follows: the chapel at the place of the appearance of the Holy Trinity to Alexander Svirsky, the Transfiguration Cathedral with the relics of Alexander Svirsky and the bell tower in the Byzantine style.

Working hours:

The monastery is open to visitors daily from 6:00 to 20:00. On Sunday and holidays, the gates of the monastery are open from 8:00.

Alexander Svirsky Monastery is located in the village of Staraya Sloboda in Lodeinopolsky District of Leningrad Region.

The monastery can be reached by road. The distance to the village of Staraya Sloboda: from Lodeynoye Pole - 27 km, from St. Petersburg - 260 km, from Petrozavodsk - 180 km, from Moscow - 850 km.

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