Epiphany Monastery in Moscow

The Epiphany Monastery is an inactive Orthodox male monastery in Moscow, located in Bogoyavlensky Lane in Kitay-Gorod. It was founded at the end of the 13th century by Prince Daniel Alexandrovich. It was the second oldest Moscow monastery after Danilovsky. The monastery was formally closed in 1919 and finally abolished in 1929.

In 1991, the monastery’s cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. Now, it operates as a parish church.

The wooden cathedral, erected with the monastery’s foundation, fell into disrepair and suffered from fires. In 1342, it was rebuilt into stone with donations from the boyar Protasius. It was a single-domed, four-pillared temple with three apses. Its width did not exceed 11.5 meters, and its length – 17.5 meters. The facades were divided into three parts by thin blades, and two ribbons of white stone carving girded them across. The foundation, pillars and salts have been preserved under the quadrangle of the modern building. The temple style was close to the Trinity Cathedral of the Sergius Monastery.

The monastery burned twice more: in 1451 during the Mongol Horde prince Mazovsha invasion and the Moscow fire in 1547. For the first time, the damage was restored with the help of Grand Duke Vasily II and a refectory was erected. The monastery was repaired for the second time during the reign of Ivan the Terrible after the Crimean Khan Devlet-Girey attacked Moscow in 1571. At the end of the 16th century, several courtyards in Kolomenskoye passed into the monastery’s possession.

At the end of the 17th century, the monastery was rebuilt in the Naryshkin baroque style. After the construction of new cells in 1692, with the blessing of Patriarch Adrian, a new cathedral began, which has survived to this day. It was built with the money of Natalia Naryshkina, mother of Peter I, and the funds of the princes Golitsyn and Dolgorukov. The miraculous Kazan icon was transferred to it, which was in the militia of Minin and Pozharsky in the Time of Troubles.


As of 2022, fraternal cells and rector’s chambers have been preserved in the Cathedral of the Epiphany with a bell tower, the lower church in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. The cathedral is decorated with three white-stone portals five meters high. The facades are decorated with carvings and window frames. A wide gallery connects the refectory and the quadrangle. In the interiors are paintings, mosaics, ceramics, and sculptural compositions on mythological subjects. The royal gates are made in the form of a cross, and in its center is the image of the Annunciation. Near the cathedral fence is a monument to the Likhud brothers, erected in May 2007.

The Likhud Brothers (Russian: Братья Лихуды) were two Greek monks from Cephalonia who founded and managed the Slavic Greek Latin Academy in Moscow between 1685 and 1694. They were Ioannikios Leichoudes, Ioannikii Likhud, Sophronios Leichoudes, or Sofronii Likhud.

The brothers received their education at the Padua University in Italy. Patriarch Dositheos II of Jerusalem persuaded them to visit Moscow, where Prince Vasily Galitzine (the head of Sophia’s government) warmly welcomed them. On their arrival, they were allowed to establish the Slavic Greek Latin Academy on the premises of Zaikonospassky Monastery in Kitay-Gorod. It was effectively the first high school in Russia.

In 2011, the main altar of the lower church was consecrated in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God.

Nearest metro: Ploschad Revolyutsii, Lubyanka station, Ohotny Ryad station.

See also architecture of Moscowchurches and cathedrals of Moscow

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