The Andronikov Monastery (Spaso-Andronikov Monastyr) is one of several fortress-monasteries on the southeastern outskirts of Moscow, just one Metro stop from Novospassky Monastery. Founded in 1360 and named for its first abbot, Andronik Monastery is primarily impressive from the outside but has some sights of interest within.
History of Andronikov Monastery
In the 14th century, Metropolitan Alexei found himself on stormy seas on a journey back from Constantinople. Fearing for his life, he vowed that if he was saved, he would found a monastery upon his return to Moscow. God did his part, and so did Alexei.
Alexei founded this monastery in 1360, dedicating it to Our Savior (Spas), the honoree of the feast day coinciding with his safe return. Alexei was later summoned to Crimea to attend to the Khan's ailing wife, leaving the monk Andronik in charge. Andronik went on to become the first abbot and the monastery took on his name as well (Spaso-Andronikov Monastyr).
The most famous resident of Andronikov Monastery is the 14th-century icon painter Andrei Rublev (c.1360-1430). Considered the greatest painter of medieval Russia, Rublev (pronounced "Rubl-yov") may be buried in the monastery's crypt. Rublev was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1989, for which occasion a statue of him was erected outside the monastery.
After the Revolution, Andronikov Monastery was turned into a prison camp. Later it was used to house workers from the nearby Hammer and Sickle Factory. The historic building was scheduled to be demolished but spared by the patriotic feelings that followed the war. In 1960, it was reopened as the Andrei Rublev Museum of Early Russian Art in honor of the 600th anniversary of his birth.
Today, Andronikov Monastery is still officially a museum but several of the buildings are once again occupied by Orthodox monks and religious institutions, including a choristers' school.
What to See at Andronikov Monastery
Andronikov Monastery is enclosed within strong walls of white stone and three stout towers. Entrance is through the Holy Gate (Svyatye vorota), which is flanked by wooden-roofed turrets. Inside, it is not as beautiful as other monasteries but it is in better condition than Novospassky and contains numerous sights of interest. Among these the most notable are the Refectory, the Church of the Archangel Michael, and the art museum.
Left of the gate is the 17th-century Abbot's Residence (Nastoyatelskie Pokoi), decorated with ceramic details. On the right are the ticket office and the 19th-century Seminary. The impressive Refectory (Trapeznaya palata), near the west wall, dates from 1504-06 and houses some of the more modern exhibits in the Andrei Rublev Museum.
A cornice connects the Refectory with the Church of the Archangel Michael (tserkov Arkhangela Mikhaila), built 1694-1731 in the Moscow Baroque style. It was commissioned as a private chapel and burial vault for the family of Yevdokiya Lopukhina, Peter the Great's first wife. Four years into the project, he confined her to the Novodevichy Convent and exiled her family to Siberia, which accounts for the delay in its completion for nearly four decades.
The monastery grounds boast Moscow's oldest stone structure, the Cathedral of the Savior (Spasskiy sobor), built in 1420-27. It stands on the site of the mass grave of Russian soldiers who fought in the important Battle of Kulikovo (1380), which eventually led to the end of Mongol rule in Russia. The triple apses and shape of the cathedral's dome reflect early medieval Vladimir architecture, while the pyramid of zakomary and kokoshniki reflect the early Moscow style. The original interiors were sadly lost in a fire in 1812, but fragments of the frescoes have been restored. Outside, the weathered stone facade is topped with a relief of the Savior.
The Andrei Rublev Museum houses a collection of historic icons in several buildings.
Festivals and Events
Andronikov hosts a celebration of Andrei Rublev's life and work on July 17. The feast day of Our Savior, the monastery's patron, is on August 16.
Take trolleybus #47 or #53 along Nikoloyamskaya ulitsa to Andronevskaya ploschad or take the metro to Ploschad Ilicha and ride trolleybus #47 or #53 in the other direction. On foot, walk along Bolshaya Kommunisticheskaya ulitsa, which is lined with 19th-century houses.
Quick Facts on Andronikov Monastery
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|Coordinates:||55.749120° N, 37.670563° E|
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- The Rough Guide to Moscow, 4th ed. (April 2005), 244-45 (available online).
- Andronikov Monastery - Moscow-Taxi.com
- Andronikov Monastyr - Fodor's Online Travel Guide
- Spaso-Andronikov Monastery - Xenophongi.org
Map of Andronikov Monastery, Moscow
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