Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery


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Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery

 

(also Volotskii Uspenskii Iosifov Monastery), founded in 1479 by Joseph of Volokolamsk. It is located 17 km northeast of the modern city of Volokolamsk, Moscow Oblast.

Having become the center of the Josephites in the 16th century, the Volokolamsk Monastery played a prominent role in political and church life and was the bulwark of the struggle with the nestiazhateli (nonacquirers; a group of Muscovite monks who favored the abolition of the monasteries’ landed estates) and heretics. In the 1560’s the monastery owned more than 30,000 desiatinas (32,700 hectares) of arable land. Peasant riots—precursors of the imminent peasant war of the early 17th century—occurred on the monastery’s votchinas (patrimonial estates) in 1594–95. During I.I. Bolotnikov’s insurrection the Volokolamsk Monastery assisted the government of Vasilii Ivanovich Shuiskii in its struggle against insurrectionists. Its power was undermined by the destruction inflicted by Polish interventionists in 1610. The monastery was restored during the reign of Aleksei Mikhailovich.

The Volokolamsk Monastery includes a number of noteworthy architectural features, such as stone walls with pyramid-roofed towers (built in 1543–66, rebuilt in 1679–88 by T. Ignat’ev) and decorated with designs traced in brick, the Petropavlovskaia Church located above the gate (late 17th century), and the refectory (about 450 sq m) with the Bogoiavlenie Church (late 17th century). The monumental Uspenskii Cathedral (1688–92) is in the Naryshkin style. (Its tile frieze—“the peacock’s eye”—was executed by the craftsman S.I. Polubes, the delicate fretwork iconostasis with twisted columns, by the craftsman E. Leont’ev, and the icons, by G. Antonov and F. and V. Potapov.) The monastery ensemble is complemented by a slender, nine-story bell tower (1490; rebuilt in the 1670’s).

After the October Revolution the Volokolamsk Monastery was turned into a museum. Its architectural structures of the 15th-17th centuries, badly damaged by the fascist German occupation forces during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), were restored in the postwar period.

SOURCES

Kniga Kliuchei i dolgovaia kniga Iosifo-Volokolamskogo monastyria XVI v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.

REFERENCE

Pavlichenkov, V. “Ansambl’ Iosifova-Volokolamskogo monastyria.” In Arkhitekturnoe nasledstvo, [issue] 10. Moscow, 1958.