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Antonievo-Siysky Monastery (Антониев-Сийский монастырь in Russian) is a Russian Orthodox monastery that was founded by Saint Anthony of Siya deep in the woods, 90 km to the south of Kholmogory, in 1520.
Following the saint's death in 1556, the monastery grew on the salt trade with Western Europe and developed into one of the foremost centres of Christianity in the Russian North. Ivan the Terrible and his son Feodor granted it important privileges and much land. By 1579, the monastery owned 50 versts of ploughlands stretching towards Kargopol.
In 1599, Boris Godunov exiled his political opponent Feodor Romanov to this remote monastery. While many of his relatives were starved to death in other cloisters, Feodor took monastic vows and was eventually raised to the dignity of hegumen (abbot) of the monastery. Later he became the Patriarch of Moscow, and his son Mikhail established the Romanov dynasty of Russian tsars.
In the 17th century, the monastery continued to prosper. The large Trinity cathedral was constructed over the years 1587–1608. The tent-like church and refectory were completed by 1644, and the belfry was added in 1652. The monastic library was one of the richest in Russia and included such books as the Siysky Gospel from 1339 and the 16th-century album of 500 Western religious etchings adapted to Eastern Orthodox canonical requirements. Its treasury was famed for its collection of medieval jewelry. In 1764, the monastery owned more than 3,300 male peasants.
In 1923, the monastery was disbanded. Both library and treasury were taken to Moscow or Arkhangelsk. The medieval buildings were used as a sanatorium and a kolkhoz. The monks were readmitted to the cloister in 1992 and immediately began emergency repair works.
- Monastery webpage (Russian)
- Venerable Anthony the Abbot of Siya, Novgorod Orthodox icon and synaxarion (English)