Sergiev Posad, The Troitsky Sergieva Lavra

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History of the Lavra

Troitsky monastery was founded around 1340 by Abbot Sergius (b. ca. 1319), the son of an impoverished boyar of Rostov. Soon after his death in 1392, the town of Moscow and the Troitskaya monastery were devastated by a horde of Tartars. On their retreat, Nikon, the successor of Sergius as abbot, found the body of Sergius uninjured amid the smoking ruins of the convent. This miraculous preservation of the body of St. Sergius soon became widely known, and crowds of believers hastened to pray at his grave. The monastery was quickly rebuilt, and in the middle of the 16th cent. it was surrounded by a lofty wall.

In 1685 it provided a refuge to the young Tsars Ivan and Peter the Great from the rebellious Strelitsi. In 1812 the Troitskaya monastery was not disturbed by the French, and this immunity is ascribed by the devout to the miraculous powers of the icon of St. Sergius

Adapted from Karl Baedeker, "Russia", Leipzig, 1914

Troitsy-Sergiyeva Lavra


Photo RWFG 1977

Troitsy-Sergiyeva Lavra founded by St. Sergius of Radonezh in 1345 a highly revered monk and the patron saint of Russia

The Holy Trinity Lavra or Troitsy-Sergiyeva Lavra (Trinity-Sergius Monastery) is the most important monastery of Russia and the spiritual center of Russian Orthodox Christianity. Sergius' charter was used as a model for more than 400 monasteries founded by his followers throughout Russia, including the celebrated Solovetsky, Kirilov, and Simonov monasteries. In 1422 Sergius' relics were interred in the monastery's first stone cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy Trinity), built by a team of Serbian monks who had found refuge in the monastery after the Battle of Kosovo. The greatest icon painters of medieval Russia, Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chyorny, were summoned to decorate the cathedral with frescoes.

In exchange for his controversial conversion to Orthodoxy during World War II, Stalin returned the Holy Trinity Lavra to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1945. On April 16, 1946 divine service was renewed at the Assumption Cathedral. The Lavra remained the seat of the Patriarch of Moscow until 1983, when he moved to the Danilov Monastery in Moscow.

Pilgrims on the way to the Holy Trinity Cathedral


Photo RWFG 1977

Pilgrims on their way to the Churchof the Holy Trinity (1322) where Sergiy of Radonezh, the founder of the monastery is buried (in the small chapel) and (a copy of) Rublyov's famous icon is kept.

Photo RWFG 1977

Andrei Rublyov "The Old Testament Trinity", Russia's most revered icon. 1411 , now in the Tretyakov Gallery

Link to the

The most Hallowed Iconostasis of the Trinity Cathedral
Rubelyev's Last Major Work 1425-1427

Tolstoy in Front of the Church of the Holy Ghost


Photo RWFG 1977

The Church of the Holy Ghost.

In 1476, Ivan III invited Pskovian masters to build the Church of the Holy Ghost. This graceful structure is one of the few remaining examples of a Russian church topped with a belltower. The interior contains the earliest specimens of the use of glazed tiles for decoration.

Uspensky Cathedral of the Assumption


Photo RWFG 1977

The Cathedral of the Assumption

It took 26 years to construct the six-pillared Assumption Cathedral, which was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1559. The cathedral is much larger than its namesake in the Moscow Kremlin. The iconostasis dates to the 16th–18th centuries. Interior walls were painted with violet and blue frescoes by a team of Yaroslavl masters in 1684.


The Ascention of the Virgin, from the "Trinity Tablets" second quarter of the 15th cent, Sergiev-Posad Museum, Russia .


Entry into Jerusalem, from the "Trinity Tablets", second quarter of the 15th cent, Museum Sergiev-Posad.

Rastrelli's Bell Tower


Photo RWFG 1977

1744, commissioned by Empress Elizabeth.