Spaso-Preobrazhensky Solovetsky Stavropol Monastery
Houses and hotels have been built near the Solovetsky Monastery. The airport is a 15-minute walk from the monastery. All year round, pilgrims and tourists go to the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Solovetsky Stavropol Monastery.
The main temple is located behind the fortress wall. On one side of it — Holy Lake, on the other side of the Solovetsky Bay begins.
A country road runs along the wall, and the banks of the reservoirs are covered with thick grass in summer. From June to early August, there are white nights, and most people come to admire the northern landscapes.
The white walls and black domes of the main cathedral peek out from behind the stone wall. Over the years, it has been rebuilt many times.
History of the Solovetsky Monastery
In 1429, on the Islands settled the monks Herman and savvatiy. They lived by a lake near Axe Mountain. But after a while, Herman decided to leave these places. Savvati lived without him in Solovki for two years and then returned to Karelia, where he came from.
Seven years after the first monastic settlement was formed on the islands, Herman returned here, but with another of his spiritual brothers — Zosima. The monks built a cell, and after a while the disciples began to come to Zosima. They decided to build the first church here. The church was called the Transfiguration of the Lord. But after the fire, the church burned down and a monastery was built on this place.
Savvati, Herman and Zosima were later canonized, and their relics are now kept on the territory of the Solovetsky Monastery. Pilgrims go to them all year round to ask for help.
The best years of the monastery, almost flourishing, are attributed to the 16th century when abbot Philip lived here. He did a lot to improve the territory. There were outbuildings, mills and canals that supplied Bolshoy Solovetsky Island with fresh water. Two churches were built under Philip. The abbot did so much that Ivan the Terrible found out about him and offered to take the place of the Metropolitan of Moscow.
From 1718 to 1903, Solovki was a monastery prison. Just think about it: it’s almost 200 years old! Heretics and sectarians, as well as the “politically unreliable”were sent to the cells. When the seemingly tragic period finally ended, another terrible story of the Solovetsky Monastery began, it fell on the 1920s and 1930s. Here they set up a labor camp, the largest in the USSR. It is described in the novel” The Abode ” by Zakhar Prilepin.
By 1933, the camp held 19,287 prisoners. Most of them are for political reasons. Many did not return from here. Some could not stand the torture, others were shot on the Sekirnaya Hill. Their bodies were dumped in a common pit, which was discovered only in 2005. At the same time, a cemetery was made in the forest, now there is a sign here so that tourists do not make noise in this place.
In the 1990s, a new monastic life began in Solovki. The monastery received the status of “stavropegic ” and became subordinate to the patriarch.
The Solovetsky Monastery is depicted on a 500-ruble Russian bill. In 2011, the banknotes were reissued, and now they have a more recognizable image of the monastery.
In the 17th century, the monks not only performed their main duty-offering prayers, but also engaged in military training. The fact is that the monastery was repeatedly besieged by English and Swedish troops. On Bolshoy Solovetsky Island, a Meeting Stone has been preserved — it is now impossible to read its inscription.
But according to the documents, the abbot of the Solovetsky monastery and an English officer met here, who demanded to give the cattle to his army. The abbot did not agree, and then the foreigners began to kill the sheep without permission. The English army never set foot on Bolshoy Solovetsky, but spent some time on Bolshoy Zayatsky Island.
What to see on the territory of the monastery
Solovetsky Monastery from the height looks like a small town surrounded by water. And indeed-inside there is everything for life.
You will be amazed at the thickness of the gate, made of huge stones. Above the arch, through which you will pass, hangs the image of the Savior Not Made with Hands. The pilgrims stop in front of it and cross themselves. Women are already putting on headscarves at the entrance. Despite the fact that the place is a tourist destination, the current church obliges to observe the Orthodox canons.
Traditionally, the tallest building in any monastery is the bell tower, on Solovki its height is 50 meters. The one that we are seeing now is attributed to 1777.
You will get here with a guided tour. The guide will take you inside, where you will see the tiny rooms where the imprisoned monks were kept, and also tell you about the fate of Count Peter Tolstoy.
The fact is that at a certain period Tolstoy and his once-friend Pyotr Menshikov differed in their views — who should become the successor of Catherine I. Menshikov’s opinion prevailed, and Tolstoy was sentenced to death for “political reasons”. He was 82 years old. After some time, the execution was replaced with life imprisonment, and the convict was sent to the Solovetsky prison. Tolstoy was stripped of the count’s title, and his son Ivan was sent to Solovki after him.
Peter Tolstoy remained i prison for a year and a half and died when he was 84.