Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery in Zvenigorod

The city of Zvenigorod is 45 km of Moscow Ring Road on Novorizhskoye Highway. Near it, on the bank of the Moscow River, Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery is located, which is one of the most interesting places in Moscow Area. The monastery was founded in 1398 by the Reverend Savva, the disciple of Sergius of Radonezh. As the monastery was on the Storozhka River, it was called Savvino-Storozhevsky.

In XVI century, under the tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, the monastery, along with Kolomenskoye, became one of the most favorite places of the tsar in Moscow Area, where he often came. While Kolomenskoye Palace was his summer residence, to Savvino-Storozhevsky he went on pilgrimage.

According to historians, the tsar Alexey Mikhailovich even gave it the status of the «First Lavra», that is higher than that of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in Kiev and Troitse-Sergiev Lavra in Sergiev Posad. It was just at that time the monastery was surrounded by strong stone walls and converted to a fortress defending Moscow from the west. Of course, later the monastery lost its high church status, and remained a powerful fortress with picturesque architecture.

For centuries the monastery was the favorite pilgrimage place of Russian tsars and emperors. It was connected with Moscow by Zvenigorod Road, which is now Rublevo-Uspenskoye Highway (this is the same Rublevka of Moscow Area – the living place of Moscow elite).

All guides tell the story about how during the war of 1812 the monastery was occupied by a corps of Napoleon army, which was headed by Eugène de Beauharnais. When the Katter slept at the monastery, the Reverend Sava appeared to him and asked not to destroy the monastery, saying that then he would return safe and sound to France. In the morning Eugène de Beauharnais applied his own seal to the monastery and ordered not to destroy it or take anything of its property. As is known, half a million army of Napoleon was nearly annihilated in Russia in 1812. To France only several thousand soldiers returned, including safe and sound Eugène de Beauharnais.

Regarding architecture, Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery is especially interesting for its refectory with belfry and Gateway Trinity Church. Nearby the Queen`s Chambers are located where one can visit the monastery museum. Also, it will be interesting to see the palace of Alexey Mikhailovich – a three-floor building of over a hundred meter long. It was just there that the royalties stayed when they came on pilgrimage.

In the center of the monastery the main temple is located – the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, where the relics St. Sava are kept. You should have a walk on the walls of the monastery. From there one can have very picturesque views of the monastery itself, as well as surrounding fields.

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Bell Tower and Refectory in Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery
Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery: on the right – Alexey Milhailovich Palace, in the center – Nativity Cathedral, on the left – Chambers of Tzaritza
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin where the relics of St. Sabbas of Storozhev are kept
Chancel of the Nativity Cathedral at Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery
Alexey Milhailovich Palace was built in 1650. The tzar stayed there when came there for pilgrimage
Alexey Milhailovich Palace is over 100 meters long
At the bell tower one can see the ruins of ancient monastery buildings
Chambers of Tzaritza (1650) are the place where the tzaritza, the wife of Alexey Milhailovich, dwelt
Dining-room in the Chambers of Tzaritza (1650)
Living-room in the Chambers of Tzaritza (1650)
Dining-room in the Chambers of Tzaritza (1650)
Alexey Milhailovich Palace was built on the steep slope of the hill
Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery is surrounded by strong fortified walls
Gate Trinity Church at Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery
Gate Trinity Church at Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery
Remaining frescoes of the Gate Trinity Church
Refectory Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan (1807)
Portrait of Alexey Milhailovich at an exhibition at Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery
Nativity Cathedral was built at Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery in 1405
Nativity Cathedral isn’t tall but very beautiful
Monument to St. Sabbas of Storozhev at the monastery entrance
On the site of these pavilion the chancel of the Church of John Climacus was located
Meadows on the bank of the Moscow River as viewed from the walls of Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery