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Antoniev Nativity monastery in Veliky Novgorod photo

The Antoniev Monastery (St Anthony`s Monastery) stands along the right bank of the Volkhov. The monastery was founded in 1106 by St. Anthony of Rome (Antony Rimlyanin). There remained the ancient Nativity church built by the founder of the monastery.

There are many legends about Antony Rimlyanin. According to a legend, he flew to Novgorod from Rome on a rock. However, it is more likely that he was a monk of the Kiev-Pecherskaya Laura and was engaged in missionary work in Novgorod. The local clergy didn’t like it very much but St. Anthony of Rome had such a big support of the Laura that he even began to build a monastery for his «own» money.

The main church of the monastery, the Nativity Cathedral, was laid down in 1117 and consecrated in 1119. The Nativity Cathedral is the third oldest stone building in Novgorod. The first two oldest stone buildings in Novgorod are the Cathedral of St. Sophia (1045) at the Kremlin and St. Nicholas Cathedral (1113) in the trading quarter of the city.

In 12 century the Antoniev Monastery was about a kilometer from the city wall, the same as the Yuriev Monastery, which was located farther down the Volkhov. The Yuriev Monastery was founded in 1030, much earlier than the Antoniev Monastery, but its main church, St. George Cathedral, which survived to our days, was laid down only in 1119.

The Nativity Cathedral was often burnt and reconstructed but in several places there still remained the frescoes of 12 century. The Meeting of the Lord church with a refectory was built near the Nativity Cathedral in 1533. Later, the Antoniev Monastery housed the buildings of a seminary, which was closed in 1918.