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  • Thorny path
  • Modernity
  • Video

Address: Donskoy Monastery – Moscow, Donskaya Square, 1-3
Metro station: Shabolovskaya

One of the oldest and most revered Orthodox religious shrines in Moscow is the Don Monastery. It was restored in 1591 by a firmly believing czar, Theodore Ivanovich.

The monastery was built on the old Kaluga Road in honor of the inexplicable liberation of Moscow from destruction by Khan Kazy-Girey. In this place there was a Russian army camp, prepared to breastfeed to defend Moscow against the top number of Tartar hordes. When the Khan’s army was already near the capital, the pious king ordered a procession with the icon Gift of the Mother of God around the walls of the fortress that surrounded Moscow at that time. After that, the sanctuary was placed in the middle of the Russian army in a small camping church. By that time, this icon already had great fame. She was back in 1380 with Prince Demetrius and his soldiers during the battle in the Kulikovo camp. The Russians then won, and the icon that eclipsed their feat began to be called Donskoy and was revered as the defender of Russia.

It is believed that not only the courage of the Russian soldiers, their unconditional courage, perseverance and military ingenuity, but also a wonderful icon helped to keep the invaders from the walls of Moscow on July 4, 1591, but the battle continued. The Russian soldiers were ready to fight the enemy and, if necessary, die the next day. But on the morning of July 5, they were surprised to discover that Kazi Giray’s troops fled, abandoning all their camping equipment. This was considered a miracle and the response of divine powers to prayers, as there were more attackers. In gratitude for the prayer heard, the king founded the Donskoy Monastery, where they placed the icon of the intercessor.

Thorny path

Years and centuries passed, the life of the Donskoy monastery changed. He was held in high esteem and misfortune after the revolutionary events of 1917. In 1927, the first crematorium was launched in Russia. In 1934, a museum of Russian architecture was opened in the territory of the monastery. Fragments of antiques were brought here from all over the country to preserve them for posterity, among them there were many Christian relics. Here, Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana, was secretly baptized.

In the 1990s, Don Monastery finally returned the state to the Orthodox Church, and the attackers burned the Little Cathedral. But there is a blessing in disguise: during the excavations at the conflagration site, a hidden burial place was found for Patriarch Tikhon, who, by his faith and his pious acts, was involved in the face of the saints. And his relics now rest peacefully in the Great Cathedral.


The monastery was founded in 1591 in memory of the miraculous liberation of Moscow from the invasion of the Crimean khan Kazy Giray, in the same year the first stone cathedral was built on behalf of the Don Icon of the Mother of God. Renovated by the czars Mikhail Feodorovich and Alexei Mikhailovich. Stone walls and towers were built in 1686, in 1693 a new cathedral was consecrated in the name of the Don Icon of the Mother of God.

In 1745, the monastery was classified as stavropegic. Since the end of the 17th century. The monastery was the tomb of the nobility of Moscow. In the monastery cemetery, the largest surviving in Moscow, the color of the Moscow nobility is buried, many figures of Russian culture – P.Ya. Chaadaev, V.F. Odoevsky, V.O. Klyuchevsky, O.I. Beauvais et al., In the church of Sretensky there is a tomb of Czars and Georgian princes, in the church of Mikhailovsky there is a tomb of princes Golitsyn. In 1914, the temple was consecrated in the new territory of the cemetery adjacent to the monastery.

In the years 1922-1925. His Patriarch of Holiness Tikhon, all Russian, was in custody in the monastery in 1925 in the Small Cathedral of St. Tikhon was buried. In 1926 the monastery was closed. Until the late twenties The monastic life continued in the monastery. Then, the monastery facilities were occupied by an antireligious museum, under a boarding school, courses, a dairy farm. In 1927 the temple of St. Seraphim of Sarov and blgv. Prince Anna Kashinskaya in the new cemetery was rebuilt in the first crematorium in Moscow (architect D.P. Osipov). In 1929, all the churches of the monastery were closed, since 1934 the Museum of Architecture was located in the monastery, fragments of demolished churches in Moscow were taken to the monastery.


At the entrance of the Donskoy Monastery, parishioners are greeted by a tank called Dmitry Donskoy, a cannon and an armored personnel carrier. This military equipment was launched with the money of the priests and their parishioners during the war with Nazi Germany. After the war, the surviving team was sent to the monastery, as monuments.

Today, Donskoy Monastery is once again one of the most revered and famous among true believers. And from the point of view of a tourist, we can say that it is the most beautiful and interesting monastery in Moscow. As if destructive weather had not touched his farm, here it is very cozy and green. Although now the monastery was within the limits of a city covered with vegetation, almost no noise from the city is heard behind the walls. Here you can walk with a light soul among the old gravestones, reflect on life, read literature, look at the high reliefs of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Among the powerful walls of the monastery, many famous Russian figures who were buried in the ancient necropolis found their last refuge, including Zhukovsky, Denikin and Solzhenitsyn. The main cathedral of the monastery looks magnificent. The monastery garden is beautiful and quiet, especially in spring, when apple trees bloom. Numerous roads are deserted and well maintained, trees and flowers are pleasant to look at.

The whole appearance and destiny of Donskoy Monastery inspires awe and excites the hearts not only of the Orthodox, but also of representatives of other religions and atheists. Such an atmosphere of high spirituality is related to the fact that the brightest and darkest pages of Russian history were captured in this monastery. This is a great place for peaceful pacification. It is believed that the tall and thick walls of the monastery can protect the soul from the bustling outside world.


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