Novodevichy Convent


The Novodevichy Convent is an Orthodox convent of the Russian Church in Moscow. The convent is located in a bend of the Moscow River on the Maiden’s Field — according to the legend, during the Mongol-Tatar yoke, there were selected Russian girls for the Golden Horde in this area. Grand Prince Vasili III founded the Novodevichy Convent in 1524 — in honor of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God «Hodegetria» — the main shrine of Smolensk gratitude for the capture of Smolensk in 1514. Frequently ladies of the royal family appeared in the monastery, the tsars’ daughters and sisters took the veil. Ivan the Terrible brought his relatives there — the widow of his younger brother and the widow of his eldest son Ivan. Tsarina Irina Godunova and her brother Boris Godunov also lived there. There were many novices of the noble princely and boyar families. 

Not all women have come there on their own. In 1689, by order of Peter, I there was imprisoned and forcibly made a nun his sister Princess Sophia Alexeevna after the Moscow uprising. Another famous nun was the first wife of Peter I  - Tsarina Eudoxia Lopukhina. The Novodevichy Convent is a veritable fortress: high impregnable walls, towers with battlements built of brick with white stone trim. The main buildings were constructed in the second half of the 17th century in the Moscow Baroque style. The monastery complex also includes a white-stone Church of Amvrosy, Filatyev School, where orphaned girls under a decree of Peter I were taught to weave Dutch lace; a hospital for veterans of the Russian army, an almshouse, and numerous chambers. In Soviet times, the convent did not function. The monastic life was revived there in 1994. Nowadays, it is also an active monastery ad a branch of the State Historical Museum. Since 2010, the Novodevichy Convent is the church museum of the Moscow Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Novodevichy Convent is included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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