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Danilov Monastery (Moscow)

22 Danilovsky Val, Moscow (tel.: +7 495 961-14-80), metro stations: "Tulskaya".

http://www.msdm.ru

Danilov Monastery, the first one in Moscow, was founded by Saint Blessed Prince Daniel of Moscow. He was the youngest son of Saint Blessed Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky, who was renowned for his deeds for Church and State, and his wife Righteous Princess Vassa.

St. Daniel was born in 1261 in Vladimir-on-Klyazma, the capital of the great Vladimir Principality. His father died when Daniel was just two years old. In 1272, an independent share of the Moscow Principality fell to young Daniel by lot. It was very poor in comparison with other lands, such as those where his older brothers ruled. According to the Book of Royal Degrees, during the Mongol invasion of Rus', when the country was weakened by feuds between princes, gentle, peace-loving, and kind-hearted Prince Daniel had a God-given wisdom to peacefully pacify feuding without bloodsheds.

During his 30-year reign, St. Daniel fought only once. After he defeated Tatar troops near Ryzan's Pereslavl, which were led by Ryzan Prince Konstantin, who wanted to occupy the Moscow lands, Prince Daniel did not seize the Ryazan Principality, as was the custom. Instead he took Prince Konstantin as a prisoner and kept him in Moscow with all honour as a guest until an armistice was concluded. Because of his piety, fairness, and mercy, Daniel was a highly respected man. In 1296, Prince Daniel was granted all power and a title of Grand Prince of All the Russia. Soon after his crowning, his reign expanded to the vast Pereslavl-Zalessky lands.

Prince Daniel ruled for 30 years and made Moscow the most significant principality of Rus'. He initiated the unity of all Russian regions around the future capital and became the first Moscow Grand Prince of all the Russia. Prince Daniel was very diligent when it came to caring for his principality's people and Moscow City. In 1282, or perhaps even earlier, he founded the first monastery in Moscow. It was erected on the right bank of the Moscow River, five versts (3.3 miles or 5.3 kilometres) away from the Kremlin. The constructed wooden church was dedicated to Reverend St. Daniel the Stylite. Today it is Moscow Danilov Monastery. On 17 March (4 March Old Style) 1303, St. Blessed Prince Daniel passed away at the age of 42. Shortly before he died he took the vows of schema. St. Daniel was buried in Danilov Monastery in accordance with his last will.

Danilov Monastery has had many difficulties during its 700-year existence. In 1330, the brethren were moved to the Kremlin, where a new Monastery of the Saviour was established under the Saviour Church in Bor. In 1490, during Ivan III's time, the Monastery of the Saviour was moved to Krutitsy Hill, above the Moscow River, and became known as Novospassky Monastery or the New Monastery of the Saviour. It was at this time that the Danilov Monastery gave birth to one of the most significant monasteries in Moscow. Danilov Monastery itself remained desolate for almost 250 years. There was a small parish church and a cemetery in its place. However, Saint Blessed Prince Daniel did not forget about his cloister. At his grave, miracles continued to take place and sick people were miraculously cured. In Ivan IV's time, Danilov Monastery was reborn. Its monastic life was revived, and the first stone church dedicated to Church Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was built. In the 17th century, the Russian Orthodox Church canonized Prince Daniel, and his incorruptible relics were acquired. Since then, Saint Blessed Prince Daniel has been remembered on 17 March and 12 September (4 March and 30 August Old Style).

Danilov Monastery had always been a very important part of the southern Moscow's defences. It played a great role in 1591 when the attacks of Gazi II Giray, the Khan of the Crimean Tatars, were resisted. In 1606, Vasily IV's army fought against rebels led by Ivan Bolotnikov, who suffered a defeat at the walls of Danilov Monastery. In 1610, False Dmitry II, who ran away from Moscow, set the Monastery to fire. However, it was soon rebuilt and rounded with a brick wall featuring seven towers. During the War of 1812, French soldiers defaced and looted the Monastery's churches. They stole a silver case of the Saint Prince Daniel's tomb. There were several attempts to destroy the Monastery. However, every time when an attempt was made, the Monastery was reborn with support of its saint founder.

Many prominent people of Russian culture were buried in the Danilov Monastery's cemetery. Names include the great Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, poet Nikolai Yazykov, painter Vasily Perov, musician Nikolai Rubinstein, and many others.

After the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Monastery was gradually deprived of its churches. In 1930, Danilov Monastery, the last one at the time in Moscow, was finally closed. Most of the brethren were shot dead in 1937. St. Prince Daniel's relics disappeared. After the Monastery was shut down, its churches were looted and repurposed. Tombs of the most famous people were moved to other cemeteries, and the St. Daniel's necropolis was destroyed. The area was occupied by a reformatory and warehouses.

With support from St. Daniel, the Monastery, which was the first one to be built in Moscow, was again the first one to be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1983. By the 1000th Anniversary of the Christianization of Kievan Rus' celebrated in 1988, the almost completely destroyed Monastery was reconstructed and restored. The residence of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia is located within the Monastery's area.

The cloister regained its appearance, which was historically composed from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The Monastery's oldest church, which is dedicated to Church Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, is a complex building consisting of several churches. After the restoration, an iconostasis of the 17th-century Kostroma School was installed. Downstairs is the Church of the Intercession. The Trinity Cathedral is the biggest one in the Monastery. It was built in 1838 in Russian Classical style following a design by architect Joseph Bove. The high altar was consecrated by St. Philaret (Drozdov), Metropolitan of Moscow. The interior was recreated to be very similar to the original one. The Cathedral has the wonder-working icons of the Three Handed Virgin and St. John Cassian the Roman. The Trinity Cathedral holds Sunday and holiday services.

The following churches were also reconstructed or newly built in the Monastery: the gate church dedicated to St. Daniel the Stylite (1732), the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the Church of St. Seraphim of Sarov, the Funeral Chapel, and the Chapel-over-the-Well.

The Monastery's main sacred object are the relics of St. Daniel of Moscow, kept in reliquaries of the Trinity Cathedral and the Church of Church Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The first relics of St. Daniel were handed over to the Monastery in 1986 by Archbishop of Washington Theodosius, Metropolitan of All America.

Danilov Monastery is a stavropegial institution. In other words, its dean is the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The Monastery's everyday life is controlled by its vicar in archpriest's order. According to its canon, the Monastery is a coenoby, where monks pray, work, and sit at table together. Church services are held daily. The brethren take active part in charities and beneficences in hospitals, child-care centres, and prisons. They also lecture at secular and religious schools. A Sunday school and catechetical courses for adults are held in the Church. The "Danilovsky Blagovestnik" publishing house, an excursion office, and various workshops are located within the Monastery. The Monastery has two metochions: one of them is located in Ryazan Region, while the other is in the Moscow area.

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Danilov Monastery



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