Alexander Nevsky Lavra

Alexander Nevsky Lavra is one of the largest architectural ensembles in the city. It is located at the end of Nevsky Prospect, between Alexander Nevsky Square and Obvodny Canal, at the confluence of the Monastyrka River and Neva River. In 1710, Peter the Great ordered to build the Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Saint Grand Duke Alexander Nevsky in honor of the victory over Sweden won in 1240. In 1713-1714 the first wooden Annunciation Church was put up on the left bank of the Monastyrka River, and in 1717 the construction of the monastery was started.

In 1724, the remains of Alexander Nevsky were, on Peter's order, moved from the city of Vladimir to the Annunciation Church, newly built in stone. In 1790, the silver shrine with the relics was moved to the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Later the shrine was moved to the State Hermitage, and as of the remains of the Grand Duke, for a long time they were kept in the Museum of Religion and Atheism in the Kazan Cathedral. In 1989, the remains of Alexander Nevsky were moved with the religious procession to the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the lavra for the second time.

Peter I assigned utmost importance to the monastery. It became the center of training priests of high rank for the most important Orthodox Churches in Russia. In 1720, the printing works were established in the monastery, and then the Slovenian school for middle class children was founded. In 1726, the Slavonic, Greek and Latin Seminary was opened and, finally, the Theological Academy started to function on the territory of the monastery. In 1797, the monastery got the lavra status, which is the highest status for the orthodox monastery. By the end of the 18th century, the lavra became the cultural and religious center of Petersburg. It was the place for storing holy remains, ancient manuscripts, old books, icons in precious frames, bumper church plate.

The ensemble of the lavra includes various monastery buildings. Along with the temples and gardens Alexander Nevsky lavra contains several cemeteries: Lazorevskoe Cemetery, dating back to the 18th century, Tihvinskoe Cemetery, where the outstanding persons such as Dostoevsky, Lomonosov, Karamzin, Chaikovsky, Komissarjevskaya and others are buried, and Nikolskoe Cemetery founded in 1861. From the very beginning of its existence Alexander Nevsky Lavra was considered to be the main burial place in Imperial Russia. The members of royal family, priests, outstanding governors and commanders are buried there. Suvorov, Bezborodko, Quarenghi, Voronikhin, Rossi are buried here to name just a few. Some of the lavra temples are built in the middle of the cemeteries. The oldest lavra construction is the Annunciation Church, put up in 1717-1722 to the architect Tresini's design. On the grave of the beloved sister of Peter the Great, Natalia Alexeevna, the Lazarevskaya Church in stone was constructed.

The compositional center of Alexander Nevsky Lavra is the Holy Trinity Cathedral, designed by architect Starov. After the end of the construction works and the cathedral sanctification the composition of the lavra was completed. The Holy Trinity cathedral is crowned with a large dome. The monumental shapes of the temple harmonically fit the buildings of the monastery. Among the icons of the cathedral one of the most honored one is the icon of St Seraphim Sarovsky.

After the revolution of 1917 the monastery was closed down. Many of the historical relics and works of art were moved to the Hermitage, the Russian Museum and other places. In 1923, the Necropolis-Museum was established on the part of its territory. Since 1939 it was called the Museum of City Sculpture.

Before the revolution on the territory of Alexander Nevsky lavra 12 churches functioned. Nowadays only 2 churches are open for prayers. The Holy Trinity Cathedral is the functioning orthodox temple. Alexander Nevsky lavra is the monastery belonging to Saint Petersburg eparchy. On the territory of the lavra Anatoly Sobchak, the first mayor of Saint Petersburg, is buried.

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