350 Yr Old Monastery, Destroyed by Nazis, Finally Restored – And it’s Mesmerizing (Photo Essay)

A unique monastery--Russia's own Holy Land, founded by the controversial Patriarch Nikon in 1656--has finally been rebuilt in Moscow

This article from our archives was first published on RI in November 2018

The breathtakingly beautiful, architecturally unique and historically significant New Jerusalem monastery has occupied a place of unique veneration among Russians during its 350-year history. A few years before the Revolution, it was visited by about 35,000 people annually. 

It was originally founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon, who built it to imitate structurally and thematically the Church of Christ’s Tomb in Jerusalem. This was done so that Russians who could not make the long pilgrimage to Jerusalem could get a taste of the Holiest shrine of the Christian world.


It was demolished by the German military during WWII. The restoration, overlooked in recent years by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, has taken decades, was finally completed in 2017 and now a jewel of the Russian Orthodox Church once again shines in all its glory.

Here's a video of Putin's visit to the monastery soon after its consecration:

(transcript and article here)

The Resurrection Cathedral was built like a copy of the most holy site of the Christian world: the Church of Christ’s Tomb in Jerusalem

Initially, the cathedral had 14  precincts. In the 18th-19th centuries wealthy pilgrims and members of the Tsar's family added 15 more. 

The unique ceramic iconostasis in five of the precincts was done by a Belarussian artist named Peter Zaborsky 

Many of the details of the interior design were also done by well-known masters from Belarussia: Stepan Polubes and Ignatiy Maksimov.

The central vaults are supported by four massive columns, decorated with baroque figures and frescos. 

The cave of the discovery of the Holy Cross. Here, there is a well, from which pilgrims can drink holy water.

This monastery became one of the most popular pilgrim destinations in the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. By 1913, 35,000 believers visited per year. 

The rock of Holy Anointing is a copy of the marble slab that lies on the place of Christ's burial. 

The monastery walls stretch for about 1 kilometer

The paintings and icons in the churches of the monastery depict Christ's final days on earth and His Resurrection

The monastery complex was built by Patriarch Nikon for those pilgrims who could not make the trip to Jerusalem

The precinct of the Angel, with the rounded stone that was rolled away from the Tomb on the night of Christ's Resurrection

Photo source: Ria.ru

  • Shqip
  • العربية
  • English
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Italiano
  • Português
  • Русский
  • Español