PART E--The Saint Daniel Monastery
The Saint Daniel Monastery is an old and famous one, the first in Moscow, and now the home of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
The following abbreviated history is based on the monastery's official website.
It was founded by saint Prince Daniel of Moscow. Saint Prince Daniel was born in 1261, a youngest son, so he inherited the poorer of the domains under his father's princedom. Moscow. He was 12 when he started his 30 year rule. He became beloved for taking care of his people rather than making war, only taking up the sword once, and only in defense of his land and city, and then treating the captured leader of the invaders to great hospitality until a lasting peace accord was signed by both sides. Daniel became very popular and respected by the Russian people, so in 1296 he was given the power and title of the Great Prince of the whole Russia, and his residency in the growing city of Moscow saw the beginning of greater Russia coalescing around that city. In 1282 he founded the first monastery with a wooden church dedicated to St. Daniel-Stylite, which is now the Saint Daniel monastery. At the age of 42, in 1303, he died. Before his death he became a monk and, according to his will, was buried in the cemetery of St. Daniel monastery.
One of the more surprising, to me, elements of the monastery's colorful history is the "return of the bells." [See photos and read about it here.] In 1930, during the Communist era, all churches and monasteries had been confiscated by the state and items of value were being sold to raise hard currency for the state. The bells were sold to Harvard University. They are now being returned, and re-mounted in their original belfries.
No photos are allowed in any Russian Orthodox church, so only outside photos are shown here. This is the entry (with five of my fellow reviewers ambling towards it):
Once inside, the grounds were generous in terms of space, and the buildings a mixture of older but impressive and newer structures. This is looking back at the gate, which is actually in the center of The Church over the Gates of St. Simeon the Stylite:
This church is the Church of the Holy Fathers of Seven Ecumenical Councils, and the center of attraction:
Women added clothing as they walked toward the church, so as to be properly and modestly covered (head scarves, shawls, and wrap-around long skirts) when inside:
In the central square, in front of the church just pictured, this small open structure has a well under it, it is the Chapel-over-the-Well and commemorates a millennium of Christianity in Russia (988-1988). Walking toward the church are my six fellow reviewers and one of our translators:
Another very nice church we were able to enter with our guide was this one, The Holy Trinity Cathedral:
The combination of shield and cross suggests to me that this may be a depiction of the founder, Saint Prince Daniel, in front of the regional Russian Orthodox Church administration building:
The residence and office complex of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia is here:
There are other, older buildings on the grounds, all nicely maintained:
And just a few commemorative burial plots (most dignitaries are buried inside the churches):
But what would a monastery be without some flowers? Not much, so here are a few flowers:
And after this wonderful display of beauty courtesy of Mother Nature and some yard-working monks with florid imaginations, we head off to the Kremlin on our next page.
GO TO PART F--The Kremlin (Chapter One)
GO TO PART F2--The Kremlin (Chapter Two)
GO TO PART G--Downtown Moscow walks (Chapter One)
GO TO PART G2--Downtown Moscow walks (Chapter Two)
GO TO PART H--insights into my ancestry from paintings by Dutch masters
GO BACK TO PART A--Why this trip?
GO BACK TO PART B--Quick stop in Frankfurt along the way
GO BACK TO PART C--In detention for visa violation, the transient lounge at Samara airport.
GO BACK TO PART D--The Bolshoi Ballet
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