G.Quarenghi - Views of Moscow and its Environs - New Jerusalem - 1797

The New Jerusalem Monastery in Russia

The New Jerusalem Monastery, also known as the Voskresensky Monastery (Russian: Новоиерусалимский монастырь), is a male monastery, located in the town of Istra in Moscow Oblast, Russia.

The New Jerusalem Monastery was founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon as a patriarchal residence in the outskirts of Moscow. The monastery took its name from the New Jerusalem. This site was chosen for its resemblance to the Holy Land. The River Istra represents the River Jordan, and the buildings represent the 'sacral space' or holy places of Jerusalem. In his time, Patriarch Nikon took in several monks of non-Russian origin to populate the monastery, for it was intended to represent the multinational Orthodoxy of the Heavenly Jerusalem [1]. The architectural ensemble of the monastery includes the Resurrection Cathedral (1656-1685), identical to a cathedral of the same name in Jerusalem, Patriarch Nikon's abode (1658), stone wall with towers (1690-1694), Church of the Holy Trinity (1686-1698), and other buildings, all of them finished with majolica and stucco moulding. Architects P.I.Zaborsky, Yakov Bukhvostov, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Matvei Kazakov, Karl Blank and others took part in the creation of this ensemble. In the 17th century, the New Jerusalem Monastery owned a big library, compiled by Nikon from the manuscripts, taken from other monasteries. By the secularization of 1764, the monastery had already possessed some 13,000 peasants.

Novoierusalimsky monastyr 1

Gate and Resurrection Cathedral.

In 1918, the New Jerusalem Monastery was closed down. In 1920, they opened a museum of history and arts and a museum of regional studies in on the premises of the monastery. In 1935, the Moscow Oblast Museum of Regional Studies was opened in one of the monastic buildings. In 1941, the German army ransacked the New Jerusalem Monastery. Before their retreat they had its unique grand belfry blown up; the towers were demolished; the vaults of the cathedral collapsed and buried its famous iconostasis, among other valuables [2][3]. In 1959, the museum was re-opened for public, although the belltower has never been rebuilt, while the interior of the cathedral is still bare. The New Jerusalem Monastery resumed its service as a male monastery only in the 1990s.

In March 2009 Russian president Dmitry Medvedev signed a presidential decree on the restoration and renovation of the New Jerusalem Monastery. The federal government was instructed to subsidise the monastery restoration fund from the federal budget starting in 2009, with vice prime minister Viktor Zubkov assuming it will cost about 13–20 billion roubles.[4]



  1. Jerusalem and Moscow: Apocalypse Postponed?
  2. Photoalbum: Russian: Воскресенский ставропигиальный монастырь
  3. Alexander Werth Russia at War, 1941-1945 publisher: Basic Books, December 1999 1136 pages ISBN 0786707224 ISBN 978-0786707225
  4. Itar Tass, March 9 2009- Medvedev signs decree on financing of New Jerusalem Monastery renovation

ru:Новоиерусалимский монастырь

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