John the Baptist Monastery (Ivanovsky Monastery)

John the Baptist Monastery (Ivanovsky Monastery) is a stauropegial convent of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. Founded in the 15th century, it is considered one of the oldest monasteries in Moscow.

Ivanovsky Monastery was founded as a male monastery in the 15th century in Zamoskvorechye.

In the 1530s, it was moved to Kulishki, south of the Vladimir Church, where the abandoned grand duke’s estate was located. After the relocation, the monastery became a women’s monastery with the preservation of the old dedication. It was named John the Baptist maiden monastery.

The first cathedral was a pillarless one-domed temple with three apses extended to the east. It was built by one of the Italian masters who worked in Moscow in the 1510-1530s. In the second half of the 16th century, it was renovated, presumably at the expense of Tsar Ivan IV.

In the early 1640s, the monastery cathedral was enlarged: a refectory with a chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was added to it from the west. Presumably, a stone bell tower was erected at the same time, on which a new bell was hung.

After the transfer of the capital to St. Petersburg, the monastery moved away from the royal court: By 1734, the monastery’s buildings fell into disrepair. The stone fence collapsed, and the roofs of the temples were leaking, which led to the dilapidation of vaults and icons. The monastery also suffered in two significant fires – in 1737 and 1748.

In 1859, Metropolitan Filaret received permission to restore the monastery after a petition. Elizaveta Alekseevna Makarova-Zubacheva, the daughter of the merchant Alexei Mazurin, gave the money. The monastery was rebuilt according to the project of Academician Mikhail Bykovsky in the Neo-Renaissance style, while some old buildings were demolished. The new monastery cathedral and St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker hospital church were founded in 1860.

By the end of the 1980s, most of the territory belonged to the Ministry of the Interior Affairs structures. The holy gates were walled up, and the passage to the cathedral was built up. The monastery cathedral housed a repository of the Central State Archive of the Moscow Region.

In 1992, part of the monastery’s buildings was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church and attributed to the church of St. Vladimir in Old Sadeh. In 1999, a wooden chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was erected next to the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Lord. A year later, a carved image of St. Nicholas was installed in it.

During the territory’s reconstruction, it was possible to completely restore the former hospital building with the home church of St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker. The consecration and the first divine service in the Elizabethan Church occurred in 1995.

Architectural ensemble

Cathedral of the Beheading of John the Baptist in the center of the monastery courtyard – built by architect Mikhail Bykovsky in 1879 on the site of an ancient temple. It is a four-pillar temple with two bell towers connected to the temple by arched galleries. The aisles were consecrated in honor of the Kazan Mother of God and Nicholas the Wonderworker.

The Church of the Righteous Elizabeth was erected in 1879 and named after Elizabeth Alekseevna Makarova-Zubacheva.

Chapel of John the Baptist in the Ivanovsky Monastery – first mentioned during a fire in 1737. After the revolution of 1917, it was closed, and it has been operating again since 1991.

Working hours: daily, 06:30–20:00.

Address: Maly Ivanovsky pereulok, 2/4с5, Moscow.

Nearest metro: Kitay-Gorod.

See also architecture of Moscowchurches and cathedrals of Moscow

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