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Architectural Ensemble
of the Novy Jerusalim Monastery

he Novy Jerusalim Resurrection Monastery is one of the most beautiful Russian monasteries. It was founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon (1605 - 1681) - head of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1652 until 1666. The founder's idea was to create a center of the Holy Lands near Moscow and to reconstruct the image of Palestine connected with the events of Jesus Christ's earthly life. Some Moscow Region villages, hills and valleys were named according to the conception. Thus, the Istra River was named Jordan. On its bank there was constructed the Patriarch Skete (1658 - 1662) with the Baptism Church. The center of "Moscow Region Palestine" is the Resurrection Cathedral which was conceived and constructed as a topographic copy of the God's Coffin Cathedral in Jerusalem. The great Cathedral reproduces the main Christian Holy places: the place of Christ's Crucifixion, Christ's burial place and the place of the Resurrection, the place where the Cross was found.

The Resurrection Cathedral.

The Resurrection Cathedral was constructed in two stages. From 1658 until 1666 the construction was supervised by the founder himself. In 1666 the work was stopped as Patriarch Nikon was disgraced. The Cathedral was completed in 1679-1685. In 1681 Patriarch Nikon was buried in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist Decapitation.

The Resurrection Cathedral. Rotunda.

The ceramic decoration of the Resurrection Cathedral is unique. In the 17th century the exterior and the interior of the Cathedral were decorated with ceramic bands, window-frames, portals, iconostases. The multi-colored relief tiles of decorative and shape-forming significance replaced the colored marbles and stone-carved ornaments of the prototype. Unfortunately only part of the magnificent tile decoration has survived. In 1723 the original ceiling of the rotunda - brick tent covering the 22-meter space fell down. The destruction of 1723 was redoubled by the fire in 1726.

The Resurrection Cathedral.
View from the east.

In the mid-18th century the Resurrection Cathedral was partially reconstructed and decorated in baroque style under the supervision of Architect I.F. Michurin and subsequently by K.I. Blank. To V.V. Rastrelli design a wooden tent was made over the considerably reconstructed rotunda. The splendid stucco molding with the fragments of the 17th century ceramic decoration and pictorial compositions became the main element in the interior embellishment.

The Resurrection Cathedral with the Church of SS. Constantine and Helena. View from the east.

In 1941, the Resurrection Cathedral was blown up by the German invaders. The central cupola, rotunda tent and belfry were destroyed by the explosion. (Illustrations - the Resurrection Cathedral before the explosion and the Cathedral in ruins (nj01, nj04). The investigation on the ruins started as early as 1942. In the late 1950s the restoration of the Resurrection Cathedral began. In 1975 the central cupola was restored and in the early 1990s the rotunda was crowned with the tent. In 1982 the Museum initiated the restoration of stucco molding. To restore the tiles the Museum organized the ceramic studio which still exists.

In 1995, the Novy Jerusalim Resurrection Cathedral was returned to the Monastery. The Museum demonstrates the Cathedral to tourists. It is a central part of the excursion.
In 1680 - 1690 the row of chambers for different purposes was constructed in the western part of the Monastery. The chambers were gradually built since 1660. In 1685 - 1692, the warm Church of the Nativity of Christ and three refectories were constructed on the "old stone premises" of 1660. The Hospital Chambers with the Church of Three Saints (constructed in 1698) are attached to the Chambers from the south and the Vicegerent Chambers - from the north. At the very beginning of the 19th century all three parts were combined and now they are called the Refectory Chambers. In 1995, the Church of the Nativity of Christ was returned to the Monastery. The central Refectory is used by the Monastery and the Museum. The other parts house the main Museum exhibitions

Fragment of Display of Modern painting.

The Novy Jerusalim Resurrection Monastery was completed in the 1690s when were constructed the fortress wall including 8 towers and the Gate Cathedral consecrated in 1697 to Jesus Christ Entering Jerusalem. The wall and the Gate Church are open for visitors in summer. In the Gate Church the 19th century icons from the Resurrection Cathedral are displayed. In the southern Gethsemane and Syon towers are the photo-exhibitions: "The Town of Volokolamsk in the 17th - Early 20th Centuries", "Streltsy Uprising of 1698". Elisabeth Tower over the western gate houses the exhibition "Miracle of Clay. Novy Jerusalim - a Ceramic Center of the 17th - 20th cc."

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Copyright (c) 1999 The Novy Jerusalim History, Architecture and Art Museum in Istra


Copyright (c) 1999