Kazan Theotokos Monastery

Kazan monastery was founded by the elder Joseph in the second half of the 17th century. First mentioned in 1677. Struck by the beauty of the land, the monk vowed to God to build Kazan monastery behind Tambov stockaded town. Because of the fires that often occurred in Tambov, the architectural appearance of the monastery changed many times. It was fully formed only in the 18th-19th centuries when the monastery became the residence of Tambov bishops. A lot of efforts in terms of the construction and improvement of Kazan monastery were made by bishop Theophilus (Raev) who ran Tambov diocese in 1788-1811. Two stone churches were erected under his supervision – Kazan church and the church of John the Precurser. These monastery churches were built in the style of classicism dominating in the Russian architecture of that time.    

The main church of the monastery is the summer Kazan church. This monument of architecture was built in 1791 by the foremen of the Sarov Monastery. The architectural appearance of the Kazan church imitates the look of the non-existent today Dormition Cathedral of the Sarov monastery. The walls of the cathedral are decorated with grisaille paintings – a one-color graphic image in halftones. The cathedral is known for the fact that in 1793 it was the place where Reverend Seraphim of Sarov was ordained to be a hieromonk. The ordination was performed by bishop Theophilus (Raev) whose remains rest in this cathedral. The second monastery church (the winter one) in honor of the Nativity of John was founded in 1794 but the construction continued until 1821. The construction of the six-level monastery bell tower in 1848 completed the architectural look of the monastery.      

Kazan monastery was closed on the 19th of October, 1918. The buildings of the monastery were handed over to the provincial Cheka. During the times of the civil war, after Antonov peasant revolt, the Soviet government arranged a camp in the monastery where they had interrogations and shootings of the rebels held. The grand bell tower was destroyed at that same time on the ground of its dilapidation. After 1945 the buildings of the monastery housed the national archives and vocational training facility. The monastery had stayed in the dilapidated state for more than 50 years. The restoration of Kazan monastery started in the end of 1992.

At present the construction of Kazan monastery belfry has been completed. The new bell tower is considered to be the tallest in the Central Federal District and the second tallest in Russia after the spire of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Its height is 107 m.

3, M. Gorky Str., Tambov, Tambov region
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