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ALEXANDER NEVSKY LAVRA
 

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Cloisters

Cloisters of the St Petersburg eparchy

It was in ancient times when first Orthodox cloisters appeared on this territory. By the twelth century the oldest monasteries in Staraya (Old) Ladoga had been founded, and approximately at the same time the celebrated Valaam (Valaamsky)Monastery came into being.


In the fourteenth-fifteenth centuries, when Ancient Rus's historical development was focused in the lands of Northeastern Russia, including the Novgorod region, Northwestern Russia became a true center of monasticism. In the fifteenth-sixteens centuries the number of cloisters in these lands ran to several dozens. During the so called Trouble Times many of them were destroyed, their churches and cathedrals being reduced to heaps of rubble. The monks were compelled to save their lives in the Novgorod lands.

Revival of Orthodox monasteries and convents dates back to the period of the Northern War of 1700-21. The whole eighteenth century thus became an epoch of total rehabilitation of the war-ravaged cloisters.

In the nineteenth-early twentieth centuries, after a period of stagnation, religious life in Russia got revived. In spite of then existing nihilistic tendencies, the country, on the whole, enjoyed significant increase of religious moods in its society. During the second half of the nineteenth century the total number of Orthodox cloisters in Russia was replenished by 276 newly-established monasteries and cloisters. About 170 new cloisters were founded during the following seventeen years.


Parallel with this, there could be seen considerable increase in the number of monkery, including that of the St Petersburg eparchy. For instance, there were more than 200 nuns and lay sisters in the Dormition (Uspensky) Convent located in Staraya Ladoga, the same as in the Konevsky Nativity (Rozhdestvensky) Convent.

Pilgrimage also continually gained in scope. Being among the most revered in Russia, cloisters of the St Petersburg eparchy would welcome thousands of pilgrims and other visitors a year.

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