The Vvedensky Vladychny Convent is the oldest Russian monastery, founded in the XIV century, located on the southern outskirts of the city of Serpukhov, on the banks of the Nara River.
Monastery of St. Alexis
The Vvedensky Vladychny Monastery was founded by the special will of the Mother of God. Once the Metropolitan of Kiev, St. Alexy of Moscow, heard a voice emanating from the icon of the Mother of God : “Alexei, it befits you to set up a monastery in my name, and it’s worth it for yourself.”
In a miraculous way, the place for the construction was indicated “in the limit of the city of Serpukhov, in a dense pine forest.” The saint examined the proposed surroundings; he did not like the place. And suddenly at night the Metropolitan again heard a voice commanding to build the monastery there – not far from the confluence of the Oka and Nara rivers.
Alexy ordered to build a wooden church in the indicated place, appointing his cell-attendant Varlaam as the builder. So Varlaam Serpukhovsky became the first abbot of the new monastery. In 1362, by his labors, “a stone church was compiled,” consecrated by Metropolitan Alexy in honor of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the temple.
After his death, Saint Barlaam, buried in the monastery, became her heavenly intercessor.
The ups and downs of the monastery
After the death of the founder of the monastery, Saint Alexy, the church became impoverished, it was forgotten: in the chronicles of that time it was called a “poor monastery”. Life itself came to the rescue.
In 1598, the Crimean Tatars, under the leadership of Khan Kazy-Girey, who were preparing a campaign against Russia, decided to invade the Muscovite kingdom, crossing the river at the Vvedensky monastery. Boris Godunov arrived with an army to the walls of the monastery to fight the enemies.
The Russian ambassador Leonty Ladyzhensky went to negotiations with Kazy-Giray to dissuade him from going to Moscow. At this time, a miracle of God was shown to the Russian army: a warrior on a white horse, Saint George the Victorious, rode out of the gates of the monastery to the Tatar camp. Struck by the vision, the khan turned the army back to the Crimea.
The bloodless victory was magnificently celebrated in the Russian camp, and the Vladychny monastery received generous gifts from Tsar Boris Godunov. In a short time (1598-1606) a tent-roofed church in the name of St. George the Victorious was erected in the monastery, the stone cathedral and the refectory were rebuilt anew.
In 1609, the Vvedensky Vladychny Monastery was surrounded by a stone fortress wall, towers and a gate church , and a brick cell building was built. The monastery successfully survived the Troubles and the war of 1812.
After the end of the Time of Troubles in Russia, the monastery again became impoverished. In 1737, only one elderly monk remained here. In the 18th century, the Vvedensky Monastery was assigned to the Vysotsky Monastery in the city of Serpukhov.
In 1806, Metropolitan Platon of Moscow received permission from Emperor Alexander I to set up a convent in the monastery, where nun Dionysia became abbess. At the end of the 19th century, the monastery was inhabited by 50 nuns and 326 novices.
In the Vvedensky nunnery, churches were renewed, new hotels were opened for pilgrims, a hospital and a pharmacy were equipped, and also bees were raised and honey was collected. A cattle yard, vegetable gardens and orchards appeared in the monastery.
Interesting! For 39 years, Princess Evdokia Vyazemskaya, the blessed eldress Efrosinya, lived here. The Lord gave her the gift of clairvoyance, but in her humility the old woman hid it under the guise of foolishness.
Vvedensky monastery after the revolution
After the revolution, the Vvedensky monastery was closed, a school of military pilots was set up on a huge territory. A club was opened in the St. George Church, in the Vvedensky Cathedral – warehouses and classrooms, barracks and workshops, an officer’s hostel. The crosses were not removed from the temples. The monastery began to be called Aviagorodok.
The monastery territory, from where the flight school was removed in 1978, remained without an owner for seventeen years. The monastery was pulled apart brick by brick by local residents for the construction of garages and summer cottages.
By 1995, the convent in Serpukhov fell into ruins. From that time on, the monastery began to be restored. On May 5, 1995, the Holy Synod blessed the resumption of monastic life in the monastery.
In front of those entering the monastery through the Holy Gates, an ensemble of buildings of the ceremonial courtyard opens, where the main place is occupied by the Vvedensky Cathedral – the most ancient church, erected in the XIV century, where the relics of the Monk Varlaam rest.
The cathedral was built in the Russian style in the form of a massive quadrangle. The brick five-domed temple is faced with white stone from the outside. The roof of the building is decorated with voluminous kokoshniks. The church is surrounded by apse and porch.
The Church of the Great Martyr George is a beautiful two-story building, built at the end of the 16th century. On the ground floor there are the chapels of the Ascension of the Lord and St. Nicholas.
The main chapel in honor of St. George the Victorious is located under the hipped dome. There are no paintings in the temple, the interior is decorated with icons and unusual porcelain lamps.
Interesting! Tradition says that a candle would spontaneously light up in front of the icon of the holy defender George if something threatened the inhabitants of the monastery.
The Gate Church is a church above the Holy Gates, consecrated in honor of the martyr Theodotus of Ankyra.
The Church of St. Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow was built on the north side of the Vvedensky Cathedral in the 15th century. A single-domed white stone building with a green-tiled dome rests on a basement. The facade is decorated with platbands and ornate kokoshniks.
Shrines that perform miracles
In the Vvedensky monastery there are 30 myrrh-streaming icons. The main shrine of the monastery is the icon “The Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple”, which is revered as miraculous. The icon was painted in 1377 according to the vision of the Monk Barlaam, a disciple of Metropolitan Alexy. Since then, 500 years have been honored as miraculous. And until now, the grace of God does not cease to give healing from the icon to all those who flow in faith under the protection of the Mother of God.
The miracle of the monastery – a list of the icon of the Mother of God “Inexhaustible Chalice”. The appearance of the holy image took place in 1878 to a peasant in the Tula province, possessed by the passion of drunkenness. Since then, through prayers to the image of the Virgin, healings from the ailment of drunkenness, alcohol, drugs, tobacco and computer games have been taking place.
Temple icons were especially revered :
- Vladimir Mother of God;
- Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker;
- Alexy, Metropolitan of Moscow;
- The image of the Savior not made by hands;
- The image of the Ascension of the Lord;
- Kazan Mother of God;
- Introduction of the Most Holy Theotokos into the temple;
An icon of the Holy Martyr John the Warrior is kept in the Serpukhov Monastery. In 1382 barbarians entered the temple. One of them, laughing, began to saw the icon. Suddenly, blood splattered on him, and the board joined at the cut. In surprise, the blasphemer recoiled and turned to the Jesus Prayer.
Later, a setting was made for the icon so that the joined saw cut and the blood that appeared on it could be seen.
The territory of the Vvedensky nunnery is very cozy, clean and well-groomed. A quiet, kind place is shrouded in silence, the intercession and protection of the Mother of God is felt in everything. Peace and grace are poured everywhere. Here the soul cries for its sins, and the soft feminine energy reduces confusion.
Weeping willows and fragrant roses are everywhere. Ducks and geese swim in the pond. Chickens and turkeys roam in the open-air cages. The beauty and touching care of the pilgrims heals any sorrow. Delicious bread is baked in the monastery and pilgrims are warmly welcomed.
There is a peacock in the Vladychny Monastery: exotic birds are walking in the spacious aviary, which you can feed and photograph. According to the sisters, birds are unpretentious. For younger guests, there is a wonderful fairytale corner with a water mill and wonderful wooden houses.