Pskov-Pechory Monastery

Pskov-Pechory Monastery


a monastery in Pechory, Pskov Oblast. It was founded about the middle of the 15th century, when the first hermit monks came to live in the caves in the area. The Uspenie Bogoroditsy Church, a cave church, was built in 1473; its present facade dates from the 18th century. After the destruction of the Pskov-Pechory Monastery by the Livonian feudal lords, it was rebuilt in 1519 by a Pskov official named M. G. Munekhin. A posad (settlement of artisans and merchants) sprang up around the monastery, eventually becoming a town.

In the mid-16th century, the Pskov-Pechory Monastery and the posad were enclosed within a fortress with towers; the fortifications were rebuilt in 1701. The monastery became an important military outpost on Russia’s western frontier. In 1581–82 it withstood a siege by Stephen Báthory’s troops, and between 1611 and 1616, sieges by the Polish armies of J. Chodkiewicz and A. Lisowski and by the Swedish armies of Gustavus II Adolphus. After the Northern War of 1700–21, the monastery lost its military importance.

From 1920 to 1940 the monastery was on the territory of bourgeois Estonia. Today, it is one of the functioning monasteries in the USSR. Noteworthy architectural works include a fortress wall with nine towers (stone slabs, 1553–65; restored in the 1960’s); the Uspenie Church (1473) and the Blagoveshchenskaia Church (1541), the facades of both churches dating from the 18th and 19th centuries; the Church of St. Nicholas (1565), built over the gateway; and the two-story bell tower in the Pskov style (16th-17th century). The caves, about 200 m long, are the monastery’s cemetery.


Rabinovich, G. “Arkhitekturnyi ansambl’ Pskovo-Pecherskogo monastyria.” In the collection Arkhitekturnoe nasledstvo, issue 6. Moscow, 1956.
Taratushko, A. T., and G. V. Petrov. Izborsk, Pechory: Putevoditel’, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1971.