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District of Gryazovets

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The Paul - Obnorsky Monastery

Paul-Obnorsky Monastery prior to 1917The founder of the monastery - Paul was born in Moscow at the beginning of the 14th century. At the age 22 he took monastic vows in one of the temples situated on the Volga river. Soon after it he headed for the cloister of St.Sergius of Radonezh that attracted the ever-increasing number of believers. In the space of several years he roamed throughout the monasteries, met many ascetics on his way. In 1414 metropolitan Photy blessed Paul to found a monastery, the main temple of which was the Cathedral of the Trinity. Having left one of his disciples at the head of the cloister, Paul spent the last years of his life roaming again. He took up his abode on the other bank of the Nurma river. There he passed away on January 10, 1429. Two chapels to commemorate Saint Paul were built on this spot. There were some relics kept in the cloister - the tomb of the founder of the monastery and the cross with which St.Sergius of Radonezh blessed Paul.

Abbot's chamberOwing to the patronage of the tsars and grand dukes, who regarded northern monasteries with favour, the Paul-Obnorsky monastery had built some stone structures by the late 16th century. The cadastres dating back to 1628-1630 testify to this fact. In May, 1545 tsar Ivan the Terrible visited the monastery in passing. The chroniclers described the tsar's visit in all splendour. It was a good time for the monastery. The tsar liked to stay there. He attended divine services and often sent gifts and subsidies.

The monastery housed some works of art of exceptional value. The genius of medieval Russian art Dionisius participated in the embroidery of it. Three remarkable icons were given to the Kornilyevo - Komelsky monastery and then to the Vologda Museum of Local Lore. They suppose these icons belong to the brush of Dionisius. His cycle of frescoes devoted to the Virgin remains a unique monument of medieval painting having national as well as European importance. One of the icons - Crucifix- is displayed at the Tretyakov Picture Gallery (Moscow).

The 18th century turned out to be a hard time for all Russian monasteries. In the reign of Peter the Great the lots belonging to the churches and cathedrals were confiscated. The Paul-Obnorsky monastery was falling into decay, state subsidies needed to repairs were scarce. Moreover, in 1764 the monastery was hit by flames. Everything was in ruins. It took 13 years to rebuild the cloister. Over the following century the monastery dragged out a miserable existence.

Church of the Resurrection of ChristAll this changed when Father-Superior Ioasaf Tikhonov (1861-1877) appeared in the monastery. Coming from Tambov and being very active by nature he began to revive the cloister. He was fond of constructing. A highway to the monastery, a hotel for believers, a stone fence (3 metres high), vaults were built on the money collected by voluntary donors, merchants from Gryazovets and Kostroma. Ioasaf built a prayer sell in the forest removed from the monastery. He dug a pond near it and laid out a garden. Ioasaf's activity was versatile. He painted the walls of the monastery depicting the life of Serafim Sarovsky. The diocese was indignant at it and ordered to paint it over. Failures like this did not disappoint the Father-Superior. In 1867-1869 he erected the Church of the Resurrection of Christ. It has been preserved in its original form up to now.

Ioasaf arranged a small secluded monastery, worked out its charter that was notable for its severity. Under the charter the monks should toil and pray day and night, keep to a vegetable diet. Women were not allowed to enter this isolated place. Probably the strict rules doomed this project to failure. The monks were not eager to live there.

The illness forced the Father-Superior to desert his post in November 1877. After it construction in the Paul-Obnorsky monastery nearly stopped. The only structure that was built after his demise was a bellfry (1881-1887). In the summer of 1909 the monastery was ruined by fire. The whole country donated money for its reconstruction which had been finished by 1912. Now the monastery is an affiliate to the Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery (Vologda).

Kornilyevo - Komelsky Monastery

Kornilyevo-Komelsky monasteryThe founder of the monastery Saint Kornily comes from Rostov. He took monastic vows in the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery. He wanted to be isolated from the world and in 1494 made his abode in a hit at the confluence of two rivers - the Nurma and the Talitsa. He cut down the trees in order to cultivate the lands and seed corns. In 1501 having been blessed by All-Russian Metropolitan Simon he erected a small wooden church, took holy orders and became the first abbot of the cloister. The ever-increasing number of believers flocked to the place, the church could not accommodate all the people. Saint Kornily's obsession idea was to built a bigger church.

The year 1515 saw the foundation and consecration of a new cloister. The monastery accommodated a bakery and a hospital. The saint established a hospice for beggars and pilgrims. Grand Duke Vasily Ioannovich granted Saint Kornily a charter for his special deeds. In 1529 Vasily Ioannovich and his spouse visited the cloister when they were going on pilgrimage to the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery. At their order the Kornilyevsky monastery was given forests and arable land. Over the following decades of the 16th century the cloister grew, peasants' settlements sprouted up near it. The people were engaged in trade (mostly staple food products - salt and fish). Every year a fair was arranged at the walls of the monastery.

Saint Kornily died on May 19, 1537. But the signs of God were frequent.

Two astonishing events are worth mentioning. When the Vologda province was hit by famine, large numbers of hungry people headed for the monastery to beg. Parents brought their children and left them at the walls of the cloister. And the Saint accepted all the children, provided them with food and shelter. Strange, but the cloister did not become poor at that time. On the contrary, it thrived.

In 1538 the Kazan tartars forayed into the Vologda province, robbed and burnt down the monastery's villages and flocked to the Kornilyevsky monastery. When they approached it, they saw warriors ready to fight, killed their guides and fled, doing no harm to the monastery.

The cloister saw some of its darkest days. In 1552 the entire monastery was in flames. This prompted the monks to erect stone temples. The first stone structure - the Cathedral of the Presentation of the Virgin - was built in the late 16th century. It has the likeness to Novgorod's temples dating back to the 14th-15th centuries.

In the 18th century the monastery fell into decay. The main income of it was the local spa. Since the mid-19th century it accommodated a clinic where the patients took cold and warm baths.

In the 1920s the monastery was shut down and it was turned into a prison for Polish prisoners of war, and later German prisoners of war. Finally the prison was closed too and the building became home to an asylum.

Not much is left for the visitor to see now, but one can admire a breath-taking panorama of the place, the expence of still undeveloped fields and green coppices.

Bryanchaninovs' Country Estate

Bryanchaninovs' Country EstateDwelling houses of the classical period constitute a notable part in the Vologda Oblast's architectural legacy. Quite remarkable is Bryanchaninovs' country estate - a stone structure built in 1809-1810. The drafts kept in the Vologda museum of local lore let us suppose that initially the plan of the house was worked out by architect A.Sapozhnikov. Later, in 1820 it was reconstructed by A.Kutepov. Bryanchaninovs' house is embellished with intricate moulded decorative patterns. Apart from the main building, the country estate included a number of structures, a church and a cemetery.

Protection ChurchThe name of Alexander Semyonovich's son, Dmitry, came down into the history of the Russian church. Dmitry, a young officer, favourite of tsar Nikolai Pavlovich gave up his service and took monastic vows. He is also known by name Ignaty. He is remembered for his ascetic life-style and literary works. He became an archimandrite and later a bishop. The last years of his life Ignaty spent in the Nikolo-Babaisky monastery on the Volga river. There he passed away on April 30, 1867. In 1988 Ignaty Bryanchaninov was canonized on the occasion of 1000th anniversary of christianity of Rus. His ashes were brought to the Tolgsky monastery at Yaroslavl.

The church located on the territory of the country estate remains active. The house is being reconstructed mainly on the money from the oblasts' budget.