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Alexander-Svirsky Monastery in Russia

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Ancient Russian Orthodox Alexander-Svirsky monastery

alexander svirsky monastery

The Holy Trinity Alexander Svirsky Russian Orthodox Monastery

Alexander-Svirsky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery located 200 miles to the East from St. Petersburg. The Alexander Svirsky monastery was founded in 1487 by the Valaam monastery monk, the spiritual searcher, named Alexander. Alexander was born on June 15, 1448, in the village of Mandera on the Oyat River. He got a name Amos. Later  in the year 1474, Amos received monastic tonsure with the name Alexander. Once in Valaam monastery, when standing at prayer, St. Alexander heard a Divine voice: "Alexander, depart from here and go to the place which was shown to you before, where you can be saved." The great light indicated him a place to the southeast, on the bank of the Svir River. It was in 1485. There he found "a pine forest of great beauty, the place full of trees and lakes and beautiful in all directions, and there none of the men have lived before." The Saint built a hut on the shore of Roshchinskoe Lake in the dense virgin forests not far from the Svir River - a waterway between Europe’s two largest lakes—Lake Onega and Lake Ladoga. St. Alexander spent there several years in total solitude, feeding himself not with bread but with the plants growing there.

The Holy Trinity God revealed Himself only twice to human sight. He first appeared to Abraham near the Oak of Mamre, marking the great mercy of God to mankind. The second time, Life-Creating Trinity appeared was to Alexander Svirsky. He was the one of All Saints of the Russian Church who was awarded the vision of the Holy Trinity and was told by God to build a church. This church gave birth to the twin Trinity and the Transfiguration abbies, known as the Alexander Svirsky Monastery. During the construction of another temple the Blessed Virgin itself visited him with the Eternal Infant and angels. The Blessed Virgin told him to build the temple in her honor, and promised her protection of this mansion for all times. God revealed His luminary to the boyar Andrew Zavalishin and later through him to many others. The monastery began to grow, and the glory of the saint’s clairvoyance and healing of physical and spiritual infirmities gifts quickly spread all over the neighboring land. The Orthodox people glorified Alexander of Svir as a saint even in his lifetime.

The monastery founder Alexander Svirsky died on August 30, 1533 and was buried at the Transfiguration cathedral in the Monastery. He was snctified by the Russian Orthodox church in 1547. In 1641 the relics of St. Alexander Svirsky were found. Untouched by decay, they exuded fragrant scent and myrrh. The relics are still truly unique, the body of Alexander Svirsky is still uncorrupted by time and wear. The facial features are still preserved with the face with the face skin not shrunken dry but smooth and elastic.

The Alexander Svirsky monastery was the popular destination for tsars and emperors piligrimages. Throughout the centuries-old existence the monastery was ruined by the Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish interventions, huge losses suffered and after Bolsheviks (communists) revolution. After 1918 the relics were taken away, the monks dispersed, some of them shot, including the abbot - Archimandrite Eugene Trofimov. During the Soviet time Alexander Svirsky monastery was used as a prison (Gulag-Svirlag), mental hospital and the orphanage. During the WW II time the monastery was under the Finnish troops occupation.

The new life in the monastery started in 1997. The biggest event in the life of the monastery was recovering the relics of the founder of the monastery - Saint Alexander Svirsky in St. Petersburg Military Medical academy anatomical museum - which happened on July 30, 1998. 

Photos: © Andrew Dachnick.
All photos (Full HD wallpaper downloads) are licensed for free private non-commercial use.

alexander svirsky monastery russia
During the life of St. Alexander Svirsky the Monastery was formed as a union of two settlements: the fraternal cells - Trinity monastery (see photo), and the monastery cemetery - Transfiguration monastery.
alexander svirsky monastery
Stone Transfiguration Cathedral with the Chapel of St. Alexander Svirsky (at the right) is from 1644. The lawn in front of the church is a cemetery, destroyed by Bolsheviks.
monastery russia
Alexander Svirsky monastery view at sun down.
alexander svirsky
The Trinity monastery (from left to right): the Holy Trinity Cathedral with old well preserved frescoes,  the triple bell tower and the church of the Protection of the Mother of God.
alexander svirsky
The pastoral countryside.
alexander svirsky
The monastery is located in a picturesque place on the bank of the lake Roshchinsky. Here Alexander Svirsky heard a mysterious voice on the way to Valaam monastery which informed him that he would later build a monastery in that place. 
alexander svirsky
People with various diseases are coming to Alexander Svirsky holy relics and receiving abundant healings: the blind have regained their sight, paralytics have received strength in their limbs, and those suffering from other illnesses have received complete healing.
alexander svirsky
Most ancient stone structure of the monastery is the church of the Protection of the Mother of God, built by the Saint Alexander in 1533-1536. Its construction was carried out on the donations of Tsar Vasily III. A church with a belfry and refectory was made in the Novgorod style. One night, when the foundation of that church had already been laid, after the completion of his usual rule of prayer Alexander Svirsky saw an extraordinary light illumining the whole monastery. In the basement of church of the Protection, at the site of the altar the Most Pure Theotokos, surrounded by a throng of the bodiless heavenly host, was sitting with the Pre-eternal Child in royal glory. Alexander Svirsky fell to the earth upon his face before the majesty of Her Glory, for he could not look upon the brilliance of that inexpressible light. Then the Most Pure Lady commanded him to rise and consoled him with the promise that she would always support the monastery and aid those living there in all their needs, both during St. Alexander's life and after his death.
alexander svirsky
Newly built log chapel of Pokrov-Trevenechy monastery close to Alexander Svirsky monastery.
alexander svirsky
The stone Chapel of the Holy Trinity was built in XIX century on the spot where St. Alexander Svirsky saw the Most Holy Trinity. In the twenty-third year of the Saint’s life in the wilderness, the great light appeared in his room, and he saw three men enter. They were wearing radiant garments and illumined with a heavenly glory brighter than the sun. Saint Alexander heard the command from Their lips: "Beloved, as you see the One speaking to you in Three Persons, build a church in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity One in Essence.... I leave you My peace, and My peace I grant unto you."
alexander svirsky
On the road to the Alexander Svirsky monastery you can drive a long time before coming upon any sign of human existence in that far Russian land.
alexander svirsky
Old Russian log house somewhere on the road to the Monastery.
alexander svirsky
St. Alexander reposed on August 30, 1533, at the age of 85. In accordance with his testament, he was buried in the far hermitage, near the Church of the Lord's Transfiguration, behind the right side of the altar.
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