Moscow Danilov monastery

Moscow Danilov monastery

Moscow Danilov monastery

Moscow Danilov monastery, closed in 1930, was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. in the early 1980s, when atheism was the generally accepted ideology in the USSR, this event was perceived by believers as a real miracle of God.

For several years the monastery, through the efforts of many thousands of people, turned from ruins into a flourishing monastery, which in the summer of 1988 received religious delegations from all over the world at a solemn service dedicated to the millennium of the Baptism of Rus.
Moscow Danilov monastery is rightfully considered the most ancient monastery in Moscow. It was founded by the holy noble Moscow prince Daniel, the youngest son of the Grand Duke Alexander Nevsky, glorified in history, and his wife, Princess Vassa, no later than 1882.

Danilov was founded five versts southeast of the Kremlin, in the valley of the Moskva River, in a long-lived and strategically important area. He was also at a sufficient distance from the Kremlin and the Kremlin posadov, the everyday hustle and bustle of the people. The first church of the monastery was consecrated in the name of the Monk Daniel the Stylite, who was the heavenly patron of Prince Daniel. Already in the first decades, the monastery became quite populous.

Celebrating the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus

So, “the first monastery in Moscow” became the first abode returned to the Church after seven decades of persecution. Archimandrite Evlogy (Smirnov; now – Metropolitan of Vladimir and Suzdal) was appointed governor of the revived monastery.
At the end of September 1983, the monastery came under the full jurisdiction of the Church. How did the restoration work start? From the most banal – from the raking of half-century deposits of garbage throughout the territory, and then – the laborious restoration of towers and walls, because they are the sacred borders of the monastic monastery.
Such remarkable icon painters as Archimandrite Zinon (Theodor), priest Vyacheslav Savinykh, and honored restorer of the RSFSR IV Vatagina worked in Danilov. Here they received professional skills of masters of the most diverse profile from among laymen and monks. This knowledge helped to restore other monasteries and temples: Danilov became a kind of “forge of personnel” for the future church revival, before which there were only ten years left.
The main event of the first decade of the life of the revived monastery was the millennium of the Baptism of Rus. Preparations for it were carried out in many directions at once: the Patriarchal residence was being built, the Nadkadeznaya and Memorial chapels were erected. The above-mentioned chapel also became the first monument to the millennium of the Baptism of Rus.

There is no documentary information about the appearance and location of the first monastery belfry, built under Daniel of Moscow, but according to the then existing tradition, it can be assumed that it was wooden, like the first church of St. Daniel the Stylite.
At the end of the 19th century, the set already included 14 bells. However, the 314-pound bell was hopelessly damaged. In 1890, at the plant of P. Finlyandsky, Xenophon Verevkin transformed the largest festive evangelist of the Danilov monastery “Bolshoy” weighing 722 pounds (12 tons). The monastery now had a splendid heavyweight bell.
At the beginning of the 20th century, several more bells appeared on the belfry. The largest of them weighing 365 pounds (6 tons) was cast in 1904 also at P. Finlyandsky’s plant. The second in weight, this bell became known as “Polyeleos”.
Thus, the total number of bells on the tier reached 18, with a total weight of 1,500 pounds. The formation of the famous Danilov ensemble was completed by the raising of 722-pounds and a number of new bells on the ringing tier of the bell tower.

Moscow Danilov Monastery. Scheme of the architect N. A. Lovkunas

Monasteries have long played a huge role in all spheres of public life. Their economic and socio-cultural activities were multifaceted. Various crafts have always been an important part of the daily life of the monasteries; special attention was paid to icon painting. The icon, “a window to the Kingdom of Heaven”, serves as a mediator in a person’s communication with the Divine world, and it is important that it be written not only technically and canonically correctly, but always with prayer and reverence.
The role of monasteries in the development of church jewelry is great. His traditions came to Russia from Byzantium. The Byzantine masters considered their art as part of the divine service, since visible beauty is only an image of Divine Beauty, a reflection of the coming Kingdom, in which Her fullness and perfection will be revealed.

Commemorative plaque on the northern facade of the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils

Church architecture and fresco painting, icon painting and Old Russian sewing, church singing and poetry of church chants, the art of vestments and plastic movements of clergymen, the art of lighting (lamps and candles) and the art of incense (incense of burning incense) – all merged into a single service to God and Beauty. ” The art restoration workshops of the Moscow Danilov Monastery are called upon to create just such beauty – real works of church art that help a deeper and more complete perception of the greatness and grace of the Orthodox Church, its divine services, external and internal beauty.
The icon painting, jewelry, art and carpentry workshops, founded almost at the very beginning of Danilov’s revival, are actively involved in the improvement of the church life of the native monastery and other temples and monasteries. New workshops have also appeared, in which they strictly follow ancient traditions. In bookbinding, like centuries ago, liturgical and historical books are being restored, old from everyday use, and in baguette, as in all previous centuries, they produce frames for icons and frames for various church sewing, documents, letters and paintings. Only some materials and fixtures have changed.

Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils

Compound of the Danilov Monastery
Orthodox monasteries in Russia for the most part have always been the centers of not only spiritual life, but also economic activities that transform and ennoble the world around them. The Danilovites not only raised their monastery from the ruins, but also carried their creative activity beyond the walls of the monastery, becoming, as it should be, a worthy example, “the light of the world”. You can see the results of these works in the villages of Mikhei and Mozhary, Sapozhkovsky district of the Ryazan region, as well as in the village of Dolmatovo, Domodedovsky district and the village of Lanyiino, Serpukhovsky district, Moscow region.

Moscow Danilov Monastery
View of the Moscow Danilov Monastery from the south

Architecture and shrines
Moscow Danilov monastery is the oldest monastery in Moscow. At present, its architectural and artistic ensemble includes well-preserved monuments of the 17th-19th centuries and new buildings of the 1980s.
The monastery has a layout that took shape by the end of the 19th century. Its territory is divided into two parts – the old (eastern) and the new (western) and surrounded by stone walls with towers. The main entrance to the monastery, north, is through the Holy Gates, with the gate church of Simeon the Stylite and a three-tiered bell tower. To the left of the Main Gates are the Administrative and Fraternal Buildings; on the right – the Hospital building. In the center of Cathedral Square is the Nadladeznaya Chapel, in the east – the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils; in the west – a cathedral in honor of the Life-Giving Trinity; along the southern wall – the abbot’s house. On the new (western) site, a New Fraternal Corps was built, now the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Residence of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and the Memorial Chapel. The complex of the Danilov Monastery includes the chapel of St. Prince Daniel standing outside its walls and several buildings located near the monastery.

Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. 1920s photo

The Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils is now the most ancient religious building on the territory of the Moscow Danilov monastery. It was built in the second half of the 17th century next to the first stone church of the monastery, built by order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 1555-1560s (during excavations, a foundation was discovered at the northern wall of the existing temple).
During the 16th-19th centuries, the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was rebuilt several times. In 1729-1730, a new one was erected instead of the dismantled second floor. There was the main altar of the church and two altarpieces in the side-altars, built in 1806: in the name of the holy right-believing Moscow prince Daniip (northern) and in the name of the holy noble princes Boris and Gleb (southern). In the lower floor of the temple there was a church in honor of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos with a northern side-altar in the name of Saint Daniel. From the west, over the vestibule and the porch of the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, in the 18th century, a three-tiered church was erected in the name of the Monk Daniel the Stylite.
The currently existing church building is one of the most remarkable structures of the Danilov Monastery. Formed from a multitude of objects of different times, it nevertheless leaves the impression of integrity, which is achieved due to the subordination of smaller volumes to the main one – a quadruple with a heavy dome, drum and dome – the dominant of the entire structure.

Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Overhead Chapel

The icons for the Church of the Intercession and the chapel of the Holy Prophet Daniel were painted by Abbot Zinon, who in his work followed the traditions of ancient Russian art, using the best icons of Moscow, Novgorod and other schools of the 15th – early 16th centuries as samples. Gifted painters worked in the brigade under his leadership. Icons were painted with natural paints, rubbing multi-colored stones collected near the Intercession Khotkovsky Monastery. When they painted new icons, the masters, as in ancient times, observed the fast. Lives of the saints were read at work. As a result, in all monastic churches, icons of the past centuries harmoniously coexist with icon-painting images of our days. The traditions of Old Russian art, followed by Father Zinon in the design of the Church of the Intercession, determined the artistic solution of the interiors of all the churches of the multidimensional church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

Iconostasis of the Intercession Church

The iconostasis of the side-altar in the name of the prophet Daniel is interesting for a rare iconographic version (version) of the local icons: to the right of the Royal Doors there is an icon of the Image of the Lord Jesus Christ not made by hands, to the left – the image of the Mother of God with Christ the Infant Christ “Mountain Not Handmade”. The name of this icon is associated with the interpretation of the text of the holy prophet Daniel: “the stone was not torn away from the mountain by hands” (Dan. 2:45), where the stone is understood as Christ, and under the mountain – the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Mother of God is depicted with a symbolic slide in her hands, which testifies to the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament prototypes and prophecies.

Moscow Danilov monastery
Place with relics of the Monk Prince Daniel in the Trinity Cathedral Photo 1920

Place with relics of the Venerable Confessor Georgy Danilovsky
Another shrine of the temple is the relics of the Monk Confessor George (Lavrov). A pupil of the famous Optina Pustyn, he was the abbot of the Meshchovsky St. George Monastery in the Kaluga diocese. During the years of persecution, the priest suffered a lot for his faith: he was twice arrested, sentenced to death, but miraculously saved from certain death. In the 1920s he served as a confessor in the Danilov Monastery. He was a real “good shepherd”, he gave himself all to people, won the love and respect of the believing people as a confessor, prayer book and seer. Many spiritual children followed their dear father even into exile in distant Kazakhstan. He died in 1932 in Nizhny Novgorod on his way back from exile. His death was righteous and unusual: having received the Holy Mysteries of Christ, he departed to the Lord, clutching the Chalice with the Holy Gifts in his hands.
Free suffering for Christ, the righteousness of life, miracles were the basis for the canonization of Archimandrite George to the canon of saints, and the Danilov Monastery found a new heavenly prayer book and intercessor.

Moscow Danilov monastery
Central altar of the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils

Central altar of the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils
In 1988 the rite of consecration of the church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was performed. A large five-tiered iconostasis was erected in the church. The ancient technique of “basma” was used in the decoration of the tyabels (transverse beams), columns and the basement of the iconostasis – that is, the tyables are faced with plates of embossed gilded copper. This is how the decoration of icon cases was made, the beautiful chandelier of the 19th century was restored, a new grille was cast in front of the salt.
The upper rows of the iconostasis (deesis, festive, prophetic, and forefathers) represent a single ensemble of sixty seven icons of the 17th — 16th centuries of Kostroma writing that came to the monastery during its restoration from the Trinity-Sergius Lavra and the Moscow Theological Academy.
Currently, the local row of the iconostasis of the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils is made up of icons of different times and origins. Along with ancient images, there are icons of modern writing, including a temple image.

Chapel (northern) in the name of the blessed prince Daniel of Moscow

Chapel (northern) in the name of the blessed prince Daniel of Moscow
For the iconostasis in the chapel in the name of the blessed prince Daniel, the ancient, almost forgotten technique of pewter cast ornamentation of the 17th century was used. Gilded metal plates with a thin pattern are laid on a mica pad, under which there is a colored background. When the sun’s rays hit the mica, a “play of light” is created.
From the chapel, parishioners have access to the relics of the holy right-believing and reverend Prince Daniel. In the same side-altar there is an ark with a particle of the relics of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia. This shrine was donated to the monastery in 1991. There are few saints as beloved as St. Nicholas; he is revered not only by all Christians, but also by people of other faiths. The reason for this love is in the countless miracles that were performed through his prayers. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of all travelers on land and at sea. The pleasing of God today, as before, helps everyone who turns to him with faith.

Monastery walls and towers

Monastery walls and towers
By the beginning of the 18th century, the monastery was fully formed within its borders: the territory had the shape of a trapezium in its plan and was defended on all sides by stone fortress walls with battlements (merlons). The corners were reinforced with ten-sided towers protruding from the walls. Each of them had a kind of hipped roof with an observation deck and a weather vane on it. The functional purpose of the towers was different – travel, deaf, corner.
By the middle of the 19th century, the territory of the monastery was so filled with graves that the question arose of increasing it precisely for the sake of the cemetery. In 1859 the project of expansion in the western direction was approved. The new wall with two corner towers and a pair of gates was planned by the architect V.N.Korneev (Karneev). As a result of the reconstruction, the total area of ​​the monastery has almost doubled, stretching even more in the western direction along the Kamer-Kollezhsky Val (now Danilovskie Val Street).
The first restored object in the monastery was the Novodanilovskaya tower. The work was carried out in the shortest possible time – in two months. The tower was ready by December 15, 1983 and immediately attracted the attention of Muscovites with its whiteness and copper roof, which stood out against the background of the blackened walls.
By 1990, all the walls and towers of the monastery were restored. They received the following names (counting from the extreme northeastern clockwise): Novodanilovskaya, Kuznechnaya, Alekseevskaya, Nastoyatovskaya, Georgievskaya (Nikiborovskaya), Nagornaya, Patriarshaya, Synodal.

Moscow Danilov monastery
Holy gates, bell tower and gate church of St. Simeon the Stylite

Holy gates, bell tower and gate church of St. Simeon the Stylite
The main entrance to the monastery – the Holy Gates – was located in the center of the northern wall. The lower volume of the Holy Gates is the oldest of the entire structure. It seems to date back to the time when the walls and towers of the monastery were being built. It is a rectangular building with a three-part division of the southern and northern facades. In the center there is a passage arch, which was much wider and higher than the side ones intended for pedestrian passage. The northern and southern facades had a rich architectural and plastic decor: tiles, processing of pilasters with tiers of triple overhead baluster-egg-capsules. A wide multifaceted (having many ledges and bends in cross section) cornice was complemented by openwork white stone carving.
In 1648, a bell tower with a belfry in the third tier and a cupola in the form of a royal crown was erected over the Holy Gates. In 1730-1732, over the Holy Gates, the construction of a gate church began, which was consecrated in the name of the Monks Simeon and Daniel the Stylites. It was conceived as a temple “like bells” (that is, combined with a bell tower), but the bell tower remained unfinished until 1736. Twenty years later, the church was rededicated in the name of the Monk Simeon the Stylite and was used as a hospital for the inhabitants of the monastery.
In the 18th century, a 45-meter bell tower towered over a small church, consisting of an octahedral ringing tier and two octahedrals decreasing upward, crowned with a dome with a cross.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the selection of the bells of the Danilov Monastery was one of the best in Moscow. In 1984, work began on the restoration of the bell tower.

Moscow Danilov monastery
The iconostasis of the gate church of St. Simeon the Stylite

The iconostasis of the gate church of St. Simeon the Stylite
After restoration work, on February 27, 1988, the temple of St. Simeon the Stylite was consecrated. Its interior space is small and has a modest decoration. The main decoration – a three-tiered iconostasis with painted tabs, consists of local, festive and Deesis ranks. The main set of icons for the iconostasis came to the monastery as a donation from the Pskov-Pechersky monastery. His story is very interesting. It is said that the abbot of the monastery himself, Archimandrite Alipy (Voronov), selected stylistically similar icons of the 17th-20th centuries. After his death, the iconostasis stood for more than ten years in the Nikolskaya Tower in Pechory and then was transferred to the Danilov Monastery. Here the Moscow icon painter S.N.Dobrynin completed the iconostasis by painting twelve more icons, including the temple image of St. Simeon the Stylite. The tyabla of the iconostasis and the vertical columns between the icons are decorated with floral ornaments based on the painting of the iconostasis in the Church of St. John Climacus of the Kirillo-Belozersk Monastery.

Moscow Danilov monastery
Trinity Cathedral and the Nadladeznaya chapel. 1920s photo

Trinity Cathedral and the Nadladeznaya chapel
The Trinity Cathedral was built according to the project of the architect Osip Ivanovich Bove in 1838. In the same year, the main altar of the cathedral in honor of the Life-Giving Trinity and two side-chapels were consecrated: in the name of the Monk Alexy, the man of God (southern) and in honor of the Conception of the Holy Righteous Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos (northern ).

Moscow Danilov monastery
Trinity Cathedral. Modern look

The Trinity Church is designed in the style of late classicism (empire). The composition of the building is distinguished by its majestic monumentality. A powerful squat quadrangle, close in plan to a square, crowned with a spherical dome on a wide cylindrical light drum. Eight drum windows are decorated with platbands in the form of two-column porticos. A deaf drum above the dome serves as the basis for the helmet dome. The dome of the temple was covered with red sheet copper, and the copper cupola with an eight-pointed cross was gilded through fire.
The construction plan is based on a cross-domed composition, known from many examples of Christian architecture: four massive pillars of a complex configuration with arches thrown between them bear a light drum and a dome. The interior of the temple is dominated by a grandiose domed space, but pylons attached to the pillars give some insularity to the side-chapels.

Moscow Danilov monastery
Residence of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Moscow Danilov monastery
Chapel in the name of the holy prince Daniel of Moscow
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