Сергиев Посад/Sergiyev Posad
Троице-Сергиева Лавра/Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius
Троице-Сергиева Лавра – open daily 8:00 to 18:00
Weekends churches are closed to the public
Lavra’s Museum on-site closed on Mondays
Free Admission to the monastery
Train tickets round-trip – 600-1000 rubles
As our program rounds out to a close, some friends and I decided to take a day trip outside of Moscow and visit one of the ancient cities within the “Golden Ring.” The Golden Ring is a collection of very old, very beautiful cities that lie not far from Moscow. We visited the closest city, Sergiyev Posad.
Upon arrival at the Sergiyev Posad train station, we caught a quick glimpse of glistening golden towers peeking over the side of some old buildings. After just a short walk down the road, we found ourselves at a lookout point that offered a beautiful first look at The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius–one of the most important monastery complexes in all of Russia.
This area is absolutely stunning. Similar to most Russian Orthodox cathedrals, the very walls of the stone entrance to the complex are decorated with biblical illustrations, complete with striking colors and old Russian script. The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is considered the main spiritual center and more important monastery for members of the Russian Orthodox church. The monastery is named after 14th century monk, St. Sergii of Radonezh, who gathered a number of followers who showed interest in his decision to pull a total Thoreau move and live a simple life as a hermit in the forest.
There are a number of chapels and churches within the complex, each as stunning as the next. Among some of the more grandiose buildings is the Cathedral of the Assumption, a huge white stone church with blue and golden domes that tower over the courtyard. The cathedral was constructed during Ivan the Terrible’s reign as a token of appreciation for Abbot Bassyan, who advised the Tsar before his successful assault on Kazan.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Sergiyev Posad is truly a magnificent spectacle, and absolutely worth the hour-and-a-half long train ride. While walking through the courtyard and taking in the richness of one’s surroundings, it’s impossible to feel uninspired. As a non-Russian Orthodox church member, I was nonetheless blown away by the beauty of the churches and the culture behind the religion. Observing the actions of the practicing churchmen and women was very interesting. Kissing and even crying in front of icons is a normal occurrence to see, as are people blessing themselves with the Holy Water that flows from a spout in the middle of the complex. Regardless of religion, this monastery has the capability to make anyone stop and appreciate their surroundings.