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Spaso Yakovlevsky Monastery in Rostov the Great

Almost all travelers, approaching Rostov, initially accept the Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery as the Rostov Kremlin. No wonder: on the shore of the huge lake Nero, there is an impressive ensemble of domes and crosses, surrounded by a wall with turrets and a bell tower. It looks like the old Russian city of Kitezh, although in reality there is nothing here that is old Russian, except for the place: the most ancient church was built already under Peter I, and everything else came later, at the end of the XVIII - the middle of the XIX centuries. Both outside and inside we see well-restored classicism with columns and pseudo-gothic with pointed arches, but the whiteness of the walls, the gold of the crosses and the breadth of the surrounding landscape magically transform them into the image of fairy-tale Russia, bright and memorable.

The Yakovlevsky Monastery brought the greatest glory to Rostov by the fact that Metropolitan Dimitrii lived in it in recent years, remaining in history as Dimitry of Rostov - a companion of Peter the Great, a great spiritual leader and church writer, canonized in 1757. The son of the Kiev sotsky Savva Tuptalo, he made a brilliant spiritual career, and in his famous Lives of Saints ("Chet'i-Minei") gathered the lives of almost all Orthodox saints. Dimitri lived in Rostov for a short time - from 1702 until his death in 1709, but he fell in love with the city and chose the place for his grave in the Yakovlev Monastery. He became the only Russian saint, canonized in the XVIII century. His fame at that time was enormous.

With Dimitri indirectly connected and the saddest misunderstanding for Rostov. The fortification on the bank of the Don, built to protect the wooden warehouse and the Temernitskaya customs, was named by the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna the fortress of St. Dmitry of Rostov, in honor of the newly glorified saint. The name quickly turned into Rostov-on-Don, and then simply into Rostov. The Rostovites resisted with all their might, tried to add the epithet “The Great” to the name of their city, but the Great with its forty thousand inhabitants was obviously lost against the background of almost a million Don namesake. The difference is jealously observed and now - the inhabitants of Rostov on the lake Nero do not want to be called Rostovites. But they are not offended by Saint Demetrius and the Yakovlevsky Monastery: the cloister looks too beautiful at sunset, if you look out of the city.

IMPORTANT: The Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery is a functioning male abode, and the requirements of the monastic authorities for the appearance and behavior of tourists are quite strict. Inside the temples are not allowed to take pictures.


In the monastery, in addition to the relics of St Dimitry and James of Rostov, before the completion of the repair of the Avraamievsko-Epiphany Monastery there are also the relics of the Monk Abraham of Rostov. Another important shrine of the monastery is the Vatopedi icon of the Virgin Mary, which belonged to St. Demetrius.

Inside the Zachatievsky Cathedral (originally, it was consecrated as Trinity), the painting of the times of Metropolitan Jonah was preserved. Huge images of cherubs on the arches of the arches are unique, reflecting the complex liturgical symbolism found by Jonah in the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite.

Spaso-Yakovlevsky Dimitriev monastery was not called immediately. At the beginning - from the XV century - he was Zachatievsky, then Zachatievsky-Yakovlevsky. Then, after the annexation of the structures of the Spaso-Peskovo cloister, which was abolished in 1764, the monastery became the Spaso-Yakovlevsky monastery. Only after the construction of the church of St. Demetrius, in 1836, he acquired the current full name. However, the locals call him simply Yakovlevsky.

The Savior Cathedral of the former Spaso-Peskovsky or Knyaginin Monastery is located outside the monastery walls behind a modern fence, next to the economic court and the greenhouses of the brethren. Like Trinity, and now Zachatievsky Cathedral, it was built under the Metropolitan Jonah at the end of the XVII century. Previously, there was still a tent bell tower and St. George's Church, connected by passages.


According to legend, the Yakovlevsky Monastery was founded by the holy Rostov Bishop Jacob. The saint decided to pardon the harlot sentenced to execution, and when the boyars were angry with him for this, he retired to the shore of the lake, where he built a wooden church in the name of the Conception of the Virgin Mary. What really happened was unknown: the ancient life of the saint has not survived, and even his place in the list of bishops of Rostov has not been precisely established.

In 1409 the Tatars Edigea broke into Rostov. Prince Andrei Fedorovich, Bishop Gregory and all the inhabitants fled, and the invaders burned down the city and all the churches. Zachatyevsky Monastery also tried to set fire to many times, but it never caught fire. Everyone thought it was a miracle.

The Savior-Pesotsky Knyaginin Monastery, incorporated into Yakovlevsky in 1764, was built in the 13th century by the Rostov princess Maria, wife of Prince Vasilko, who refused to serve the Mongols and was killed by them after the Battle of the City in 1238. In the Horde, the father of the princess, the holy Prince Mikhail of Chernigov, was also killed. He refused to perform pagan rites and angered the khan. Despite the tragic fate of her relatives, the princess and widow raised two sons, Boris and Gleb, in fact managing the principality. She died in 1271, outlived her husband for 33 years, and was buried in her Spassky monastery.

The decision on the canonization of Metropolitan Dimitri was taken by the Synod in 1757 under Elizabeth Petrovna, who donated a silver reliquary for the relics of the new saint (the epitaph engraved on it was composed by Mikhail Lomonosov). But in 1763, a new empress, Catherine II, came to the celebrations in Rostov on the occasion of the relics being transferred to this shrine in 1763.

In the years 1794-1802, Count N. P. Sheremetev built a huge and luxurious cathedral in the style of classicism in honor of St. Demetrius, hoping that the relics would be transferred there. But the church authorities did not agree, referring to the prophecy of the saint, according to which he should rest in the Zachatyevsky Monastery. The count, however, continued to decorate the cathedral until his death, and still it is often called Sheremetevsky.

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