Alexander Nevsky Lavra

The largest monastery in Saint Petersburg

Saint Alexander Nevsky Monastery, or Alexander Nevsky Lavra is often called the heart of Saint Petersburg. Peter the Great ordered to build a monastery on the supposed place of the Battle on the Ice of 1242. Later, it was historically proven that the battle took place up the Neva river. Nevertheless, the Lavra is dedicated to the heroic feat of Novgorod Knyaz’ Alexander Nevsky and the Trinity.

The official foundation of Alexander Nevsky Monastery took place on March 25, 1713. The date belongs to the day of sanctifying the first wooden Blagoveshchenskaya Church. Only two years later the actual project of the complex was designed by the architect Domenico Trezzini. Already in May 1723, Peter the Great visited the constructed monastery. Same year the Emperor Peter I ordered to move the relics of Alexander Nevsky from Vladimir to the monastery. There is a saying, that he even did it personally. Nowadays, the relics are the main shrine of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

The “lavra” status was given to the Saint Alexander Nevsky Monastery by the Emperor Pavel I in 1797. The church employees included a vicar, a deanery, a purser, a confessor, a sancrist, a setter, 30 hieromonks, 18 hierodeacons, 24 monks.

Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St Petersburg

Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Photo taken from the website

In the 30s of the 19th century, many cathedrals and churches were closed. The monastic life started to revive only in 1996.

These days the Lavra has pilgrimage services that organize trips to all temples and monasteries of Saint Petersburg and the region. As the worship services revived, several workshops opened on the territory of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. These include iconography, cabinet makers, jewelry, and workshops of Christian tin miniatures.

There are four cemeteries on the territory of the Lavra. In order to bury a person on the Lazarevskoe cemetery (the necropolis of the 18th century), it was necessary to have an emperor’s permit. It was considered elite. Tikhvinskoe cemetery was almost destroyed, and the necropolis of masters of arts was built there in the 20th century. Composers, sculptors and architects were buried there. Both cemeteries belong to the museum of city sculptures.  

The third (in terms of foundation time) necropolis of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery is the Nikolskoe cemetery. It got its name about the construction of Saint Nicholas Church in 1868-1871. Before that, it was called Zasobornoe, which is translated as “behind the cathedral”. In the 19th century is was one of the most expensive cemeteries. The fourth one appeared during the revolution, and that’s where cossacks were buried.

Alexander Nevsky Lavra is the first and largest monastery of St Petersburg.


Schedule

The museum is open on Wed, Fri, Sun at  12:00-17:00


Public Transport

Address
Monastyrka River Emb. 1
Metro / Subway
Alexander Nevsky Square
Buses
Alexander Nevsky Square
8, 24, 27, 46, 58, 65, 132, 191
Marshrutkas
Alexander Nevsky Square
K-289, K-53a/16, K-8
Trolleys
Alexander Nevsky Square1, 14, 16, 22


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