Visiting the 12th Century St George Monastery in Veliky Novgorod Russia
An Ancient Monastery Reborn
August 9, 2011 - Veliky Novgorod, Russia
This beautiful little city in northern Russia is famous for its ancient churches and monasteries. The Russian Orthodox Church has played a major role in Russian history for over one thousand years.
Despite attempts by the former Communist regime to eradicate religion during its 70 odd years of existence during the twentieth century, religion is once again flourishing in Russia.
During the former Soviet regime churches and monasteries throughout Russia were closed and the practice of religion was banned. Churches and monasteries were either destroyed, converted to other uses or simply left to crumble in ruin.
One of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Novgorod is the St. George Monastery (known as the Yuryev Monastery in Russian) which is located at the headwaters of the Volhof River on Lake Ilmen.
Like other churches and monasteries in Russia, the St. George monastery was closed by the communist government in the 1920s and left to sit abandoned and in ruin.
During World War II, which is known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia, the monastery was occupied by the Spanish Blue Division which was fighting with the German Nazi Army that occupied this region.
Following the Great Patriotic War the monastery buildings were used to house a school, a technical college, a post office, a hostel and a museum at various times.
In 1991, following the collapse of Soviet Communism, all former church properties, including the St. George Monastery, were returned to the Russian Church and reopened as centers of worship.
Monastic and other forms of religious life are flourishing again in Russia which has been undergoing a religious revival following the fall of communism.
St. George Monastery is now an active monastery once again.
Founding of the Monastery
The Yuryev (St. George's) Monastery was founded in 1030 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise who was given the name George (Yury in Russian) following his baptism into the Christian faith.
The monastery was named in honor of Prince Yaroslav's patron saint, St. George.
St. George's Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in both the Diocese of Novgorod and all of Russia.
In its early years the monastery prospered thanks to the generosity of the Novgordian Princes and wealthy boyars (merchants) of the area.
Many Princes of Novgorod as well as some saints of the Orthodox faith and wealthy boyars were buried in the monastery.
Over the centuries the monastery fell on hard financial times and went into a period of decline.
This decline was reversed in the early nineteenth century when the Archimandrite Photius (Spassky), who led the monastery community from 1822-1838 was able to solicit donations to refurbish and expand the monastery.
The largest benefactor was Countess Anna Alexeevna Orlova whose rumored tragic love affair with the Archimandrite Photius will be the subject of another Hub.
Getting to the Monastery
The Yuryev (St. George's) Monastery is located a few kilometers south of Veliky Novgorod on the shores of Lake Liman and the mouth of the Volkhov River in the little village of Yurievo.
It is a few minutes drive by car from the center of Veliky Novgorod. It can also be reached by bus as the local transit system serves this area regularly.
The monastery is open daily and services are held in the St. George's Cathedral at 9:00 a.m. (10:00 on weekends) and 6:00 p.m.
There is no charge to visit the monasteries or its churches.
St. George Monastery
Yuryev (St. George's)Monastery in Village of at the source of the Volkhov River and Lake Limen in the Village Yurievo just south of Veliky Novgorod.
Links to My Other Hubs in This Series on Visiting Veliky Novgorod, Russia
- A Story of Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya and Her Illicit Affair
Recounting of a legendary tale about the affair between Countess Anna Orlova and the Superior of the St. George Monastery.
- Views of Monuments and Parks in Veliky Novgorod, Russia
Views of some of the monuments and parks in Veliky Novgorod, Russia.
- A Few of the Historic Churches in Veliky Novgorod
A photo tour of the beautiful and historic churches in Veliky Novgorod, Russia. Veliky Novgorod is home to some of the oldest churches in Russia. This is one of six Hubs published while in Russia while visiting Veliky Novgorod.
- War Memorials in Veliky Novgorod
Photos and descriptions of some of the many war memorials in Veliky Novgorod. This is one of six Hubs published from Veliky Novgorod while visiting there.
- Statutes of Vladimir Lenin in Veliky Novgorod
Finding two statutes of Vladimir Lenin in modern day Veliky Novgorod, Russia
- A Cold Swim in a Sacred Spring
An account of a summer weekend in the Russian countryside with friends that culminated with a swim in a frigid spring.