Candlemas (Sretensky) Monastery

Address:
Gorokhovets, Soviet street, 5-7
GPS:
56.20691344, 42.68003679

In the central square of the Gorokhovets posad, opposite the Annunciation Cathedral, is the women's Candlemas (Sretensky) Monastery. At its foundation in 1658 the monastery was wooden. But in 1689 the active stone construction began: the main cathedral and the bell-tower were erected in the monastery.

The tented bell-tower literally opens the entrance to the monastery: it towers over the holy gate for 35 meters, replacing the temple usual for such a place. The shape of the bell-tower is very similar to the belfry of the St. Nicholas Monastery and is typical of the church architecture of Gorokhovets. The only difference is that in the squat lower quadrangle, which for almost three centuries has grown into the ground almost a meter, the passage to the monastery territory has been made (here still there are traces of the holy gates in the form of figured pillars).

The belfry is literally squeezed on both sides by stone two-storey cell and economic buildings, which at the turn of the 17th-18th centuries changed wooden buildings. On their ascetic background, the temples of the monastery are especially elegant and expressive.

First of all, this is the central Candlemas Cathedral, a wonderful view of which opens from under the arch of the holy gate. The temple was built in 1689 on the money of the richest merchant Semyon Ershov. Its three-part structure is typical for the works of the architects of Gorokhovets: refectory, main volume, apses. Outside, the temple is richly decorated: along the whole perimeter of the quadrangle, the cornice part of the facades is decorated with a frieze from the keel-shaped kokoshniks, which rests on an ornamental girdle. The windows are are decorated with carved platbands, differing in the pattern on the northern and southern walls. The entrances are adorned with perspective portals. The drums of five heads of the temple are covered with arcature-columnar belts, which visually make the temple more slender. And the heads themselves are covered with colored glazed tiles, beautifully playing in the sun. The architectural decor of the temple gives it a special femininity, so appropriate in the convent.  

Behind the cold Candlemas temple, a warm church of Sergius of Radonezh is strictly along the axis, a lower one, but with a typical for Gorokhovets three-part structure. It was built at the end of the 17th century, later than the main cathedral. The decoration of facades of the church is very stingy, contrasting with the patterns of the main temple. Moreover, it rather resembles a civil structure, including its modest interior, which is enlivened only by a tiled stove of the 18th century.

In 1764, as a result of the church reform, the Candlemas (Sretensky) Monastery was abolished, and the nuns were transferred to the town of Arzamas. The cells were sent to the civil authorities. In the 19th century, government offices, a city prison, as well as wine and salt shops and warehouses were located in them. In 1870 the Candlemas church was attributed to the parish of the Annunciation Cathedral. In the Soviet years, the temples of the former monastery were used as warehouses, all other buildings were residential. The revival of the Candlemas (Sretensky) convent began in 2001.   

Author: V. Korolkova