Venev-Nikolsky Monastery

Venev-Nikolsky monastery is the oldest in Tula district. Perhaps was built after the image of Kiev-Pechersky monastery in the solutional caves on the Osyotr river bank. The first mention of this monastery was at the beginning of the XV century, however, the monastery existed before this time.

According to the legend, it was visited by St. Sergius of Radonezh, who came there on foot from Serpukhov. There is no mention of it in the chronicles, but two staffs which belonged to the Russian holy hierarch were kept there. St. Sergius used to give his staff to a monk who was leaving the monastery to become Father-Superior of another new or functioning monastery. One of the staffs definitely belonged to the monk Pyotr (Peter), who came there from Lebedyan accompanying the Smolensk ex-prince Yury (baptized as Grigoriy). The latter had murdered his friend and his defiant wife. There he repented and was buried.

After a false denunciation, Novgorod archbishop Pimen was exiled there by Ivan IV in 1570. He was locked in the stone sack and he died there after a year. This monastic prison cell was preserved during the renovation of the first floor of The Assumption church, which is part of the gorgeous two-storied St. Nicolas Assumption Cathedral built in 1696-1701. The Cathedral is well-preserved and there is no necessity to reconstruct it. It pleases our eyes with the charm of the ancient architectural shapes.

Unfortunately, the monastery has lost the walls, 6 towers, 2 stone cells, as well as trade shops built near its walls for the annual Assumption Day fair. The stones of the monastery were used for building the lower dam at the arms factory in Tula (in the beginning of the XVIII century) and for its extension in the beginning of the XIX century.

The monastery’s land areas were confiscated, such as the villages of Anishino, Volyntsevo, Bortniki (Bogoyavlenka), Burdukovo, Khavki, Medvedka, Slivky and others. In the end of the XVIII century the church was given to the parish of the Bogoyavlenskoye village. In the XX century it was closed from 1930s till 50s, but in the beginning of the 1950s it was opened again.

Near the church there used to be rock formations. According to local people, there was a tunnel from the church to the caves in the rocks, where there were monks cells. In the Soviet times these caves were destroyed to avoid accidents. There is only one remaining entrance, which is used by experienced speleologists.

Now rock outcrops are represented by high (up to 12m) and long (up to 300m) almost vertical walls of an abandoned stone quarry. They are situated in the most picturesque part of the upper reaches of the Osyotr river, crossing the strip of the former felled-forest «Tula Abatis». The outcrops stand out against the background of the steep forest-covered slopes of the river valley and create a rocky landscape. A section of the Tarusa and Venyov bedrock of the Mississippian period, composed of organogenic limestone with remains of fauna and flora, is visible and accessible for study.

In Venyov region the outcrops are situated 2 km to the north-east of Venyov-Monastyr village, 1 km to the south-west of the Osetrovskoye forestry settlement. One can reach them driving along the Tula-Venyov highway as far as Dedilovskiye Vyselki bus stop, then 1 km further along the highway in the direction of the Osetrovskoye Forestry to Venyov-Monastery. Then 2 km on the dirt road along the forest strip in the direction of the Osyotr river.
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Venyov Monastery, Venyovsky District, Tula
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