The capital of the Orthodox Christianity in Russia

Victoria Derzhavina | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra is a spiritual centre and the capital of the Orthodox Christianity in Russia. It was founded by one of the most loved and revered Russian saints St. Sergius from Radonezh. The authority of this place was so high that even the tsars and tsarinas considered it honourable to make a pilgrimage here on foot, in spite of the distance of 60 km from Moscow. Empress Elizaveta Petrovna gave it the title ‘lavra’, the highest among the monasteries. Nowadays, it is the main landmark of Sergiev Posad, the first stop on the tourist route “The Golden Ring of Russia“, and a holy place for Orthodox pilgrims.

Photo © credits to photosight/natanac

It started from a small wooden cell

In 1337, Sergius from Radonezh settled in the heart of the forest, built a wooden cell and a small Trinity Church, and lived as a hermit tolerating the heat and frost, eating what the forest gave him, and praying day and night. Soon, people came to him: some to become monks, some to settle around and help, others to get advice and spiritual strength, go and share with others. St. Sergius elevated every soul with his wise words. He encouraged people to change their fortune and the fortune of the country. Now, at the place of the first wooden cell, there is a picturesque complex of 50 buildings that are considered UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Visiting the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra

Visiting the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra, you can learn about the life story of St. Sergius from Radonezh from the illustrations in the arch of the main gate and Serapion Chamber and see the silver shrine with St. Sergius’s holy relics in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Many people come here to get support and inspiration from the saint.

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Photo © credits to

On the territory of the monastery and around it, you can see many big and small churches built in different architectural styles; most of them are expressive examples of “Moscow Baroque” style.

Photo © credits to Evgeniya Gorlova

The oldest church is the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity from the 15th century, that is very simple, as all Russian churches of that time, and with its white drum and golden dome, it symbolizes a candle ignited for the God’s glory.

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Inside the churches, you can see the oldest five-tier iconostases from the 15–18th centuries. Among many icons, which are considered masterpieces of ancient Russian art, you can admire the replica of icon “Trinity” painted by Andrey Rublev, a genius Russian icon painter, especially for this monastery.

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You can also take some water from a sacred spring entering the richly adorned chapel of St. Parasceva-over-the-well. This small chapel can be easily found, as it is located near the biggest church of the monastery - the Cathedral of the Dormition. As many churches dedicated to the Mother of God, this cathedral traditionally has the sky-blue domes with gild stars.

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You can find less-known but interesting details, such as monograms of the emperors on the bell-tower, a small figure of a duck on the spire of Duck tower, or a sun clock on the Memorial obelisk.

Photo © credits to Mochaloff. The sun clock

Visiting the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra, the capital of the Orthodox Christianity in Russia, you can learn many stories, heroic or miraculous, about this place. The Vestry of the monastery and the State Museum of History and Art in Sergiev Posad possess unique collections of veritable treasures – masterpieces of “painting in needlework” and applied art. On this territory, there are several small cafés where you can have a bite. You can reach Sergiev Posad by suburb train from Yaroslavsky railway station in Moscow.

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