History of the Monastery during the Reign of the Romanovs

The 400th anniversary of the crowning of the first Romanov tsar – Mikhail Fyodorovich – was celebrated in March 2013. This event was one of the most important in the history of Russia and in the formation of the Russian statehood. It was exactly the crowning of the first representative of the new for the 17th-century Russia ruling dynasty which was not related to the Rurik dynasty that made it possible to maintain the integrity of the state, to protect and to improve it within the next centuries.

The history of the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Russia, was closely connected with the Romanov dynasty. The life of St. Kirill testifies that the wooden Dormition church was constructed in the monastery in the middle of the 15th century thanks to the donation of nobleman Zakhary, one of the ancestors of the Romanovs. Representatives of this dynasty visited both the monastery and the town of Kirillov many times. According to the inventories and other documents, they made generous donations.

Young Mikhail Romanov came to the Goritsy Convent of the Resurrection located on the bank of the Sheksna River 7 km far from Kirillov. In 1599, Mikhail’s aunt Marfa Cherkasskaya together with the other Romanovs was accused of organizing conspiracy against Tsar Boris Godunov and exiled to the Belozersk region together with her husband and relatives, including young Mikhail Fyodorovich. In 1601, the princess lived in the Goritsy Convent with her children for some time. Later Mikhail Romanov made donations to the northern monasteries. Two Royal Doors which he presented to the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery in 1645 and a church chandelier given to the Ferapontov monastery are kept the museum.

The Kirillo-Belozersky monastery also obtained considerable support during the reign of the second Romanov – Alexey Mikhailovich: the monastery was headed by archimandrites since 1649; the fortifications of the New Town were erected from 1653 to1682. In the 17th century, the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery was considered to be shelter for noble persons in case of popular unrest in the capital. Boris Morozov, closest adviser and tutor of the tsar, was sent to the monastery during the Moscow’s riots in June 1648. Simultaneously with the boyar’s arrival, monks received a letter of the tsar which contained strict instructions concerning Morozov’s staying in the monastery. The tsar made the brethren give Boris Morozov good cells and all necessary household things, and protect from all bad. Otherwise, they would fall into disgrace. But if the monks guarded him and did him good, they would be rewarded for it. The boyar didn’t spend much time in the monastery. Morozov returned to Moscow in September 1648. The brethren coped with the imposed task and got a powerful patron in the person of Boris Morozov. Thanks to his patronage, the monastery rose in the church hierarchy - it was headed by archimandrites since 1649. Besides, Alexey Romanov financed unprecedented construction of the second fortifications in the monastery. When they were erected, the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery became the largest in Russia.

The present of Alexey Romanov’s spouse Maria Miloslavskaya – the shroud for the St. Kirill’s shrine – was also displayed at the exhibition “History of the Monastery during the Reign of the Romanovs”.

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