Moscow’s first cloister: St Daniel’s Monastery to get three buildings done up

Moscow’s first cloister: St Daniel’s Monastery to get three buildings done up
The Church of the Trinity
A design concept for restoring this 13th century architectural landmark will heed the buildings’ historical, architectural and structural specifics.

Located in central Moscow, St Daniel’s Monastery that was founded in the late 13th century will soon be restored. The design concept will cover the Brethren’s Building, the Church of the Trinity and the Father Superior’s Building. Officials from the Department of Cultural Heritage have already given the go ahead for the restoration design concept to be drafted.

“St Daniel’s Monastery is a federal-level cultural landmark. First of all specialists will have to delve into the history of the monastery using archival material and bibliographic research, also noting the engineering-technical pecifics of the buildings. After doing this job, they will formulate a tentative design concept for restoring these facilities, with due consideration for historical, architectural and structural solutions that were used during their construction. We will also be paying attention to the fact that all the restored buildings must comply with all fire safety regulations,” Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov stressed.

The two-storey Brethren’s Building at 22/4 Danilovsky Val Street embodies the Moscow Classicism architectural style. Its main façade is located opposite the Sanctuary/Holy Doors. The single-dome stone Church of the Trinity at 22/1 Danilovsky Val Street is a true example of the latter-day Russian Classicism style. The Cathedral of the Trinity was shut down in the 1930s, and its interior was altered. The porticos of its northern and southern façades were destroyed as a result. The Church was restored in the 1980s, and the inside of it was done in such a way that it resembled the original design. Shaped like the Russian letter Г, the three-storey Father Superior’s Building at 22/6 Danilovsky Val Street is located parallel to the southern wall of the Sanctuary/Holy Doors. The building’s third floor was added in the 19th century. The Father Superior’s Building was overhauled from 1819 to 1820, receiving a white-stone upper floor.

During the second half of the 19th century, the monastery’s old buildings were renovated and overhauled. In 1888, it received a stone tambour vestibule with an inner staircase.

History of St Daniel’s Monastery

In 1282, Grand Prince of Moscow Daniil Alexandrovich founded the city’s first monastery on the banks of the Moskva River. A wooden church, surrounded by cells and outbuildings, became its first facility. The newly-established monastery was repeatedly mentioned in various sources, but no records mention it from the second half of the 14th century until the mid-16th century. In the 16th century, the Cathedral of the Seven Ecumenical Council Fathers was built there. In 1610, the monastery was pillaged and ransacked and a wooden fence surrounded it for a long time.

From the mid-17th century on, the monastery was gradually revived, receiving stone walls and the Sanctuary/Holy Doors, as well as the southwestern and northwestern towers. Its brick wall built with foundations had a white-stone pedestal. During the 19th century, a church school for the poor and a shelter for wandering monks were opened at the monastery. In 1902, the monastery was converted into a hospital for priests from the Diocese of Moscow.  

Archpriests who no longer had their official positions resided at St Daniel’s Monastery after the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The monastery was shut down in 1930, and a penitentiary for minors was established there. The monastery was handed back to the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 1980s, and its structures were later restored. For example, the Cathedral of the Trinity and some other buildings, icons and iconostasis of the Church of the Seven Ecumenical Council Fathers were restored and various chapels were also built. 

Restoring Moscow’s landmarks

Efforts to restore and preserve architectural landmarks are an important aspect of the department’s work. There are plans to restore Mostovaya (Bridge) Tower on Izmailovsky Island in the near future. The three-tier brick structure was built between 1671 and 1679 by several architects, including M. Ivanov, I. Kuznechik, T. Makarov, K. Mymrin, A. Fomin and Y. Yanov. The department’s specialists recently approved a design concept for restoring a winter garden building with a Gothic tower and granary that are part of Lyamin’s Dacha in Sokolniki Park.

The go-ahead has been granted for researchers and surveyors to start work at Pavilion No. 51 (Meat Industry) at VDNKh. Built between 1951and 1954 using a design drawn up by architects V. Lisitsyn and S. Chernobai, the pavilion was called Glavmyaso up until 1956. The city is putting the finishing touches on the stonework of the Church of Metropolitan Peter, a well-preserved Renaissance architecture landmark that was designed by the architect Aleviz Novy in 1514. The foundations of the monastery’s main cathedral, as well as adjacent footpaths and the steps at the main entrance of the porch, covered with large granite paving stones, are being restored and reinforced. The walls of the church have also been damp-proofed, replastered and rendered. In keeping with a 16th century tradition the walls were then painted red.