The Nikolsky church in Kochaki is one of the oldest in the Tula diocese. Its history goes back to the distant past of Orthodox Russia and is associated with the miraculous phenomenon of the icon of St. Nicholas, which appeared three centuries ago on one of the many hummocks that once covered the area near the road that passes to Kiev. The icon was taken to the nearby village of Yasnaya Polyana, but it again appeared standing in its original place, where the temple in honor of St. Nicholas was built. The icon was named "Nicola on a hummock", the area was called Kochaki; the stream that flows nearby was given the name of Kochak.
Originally the church was wooden, it had one altar. The land, where it is situated, at that time belonged to the Church, there was no village. On the maps and documents of the XVIII century this place is marked as the Kochaki churchyard, which means a church located away from the village, with a cemetery and adjoining courtyard of the clergy. Till the present time it has not been possible to find documentary sources that could tell the exact date of the temple construction and its organizers. But there is no doubt that these were the descendants of the ancient noble families of the Kartsevs and Khomyakovs, who were the parishioners of this temple and were buried at its walls.
The archival materials that have come down to us suggest that further reorganization and renovation of the church is connected with these noble families. In 1759 Irina Lukinichna Kartseva-Rodilova, the great granddaughter of one of the first owners of the village Yasnaya Polyana Stepan G. Kartsev, who at that time owned part of Yasnaya Polyana, attached a stone church-chapel in the name of St. Great Martyr John the Warrior to the refectory. Thus, she fulfilled the will of her deceased husband Lieutenant M.F. Rodilov who, during his lifetime, on July 7, 1757, had received a letter from Archbishop Porfiry of Kashira and Kolomna on the construction of a new chapel.
By the second half of the 18th century, there was also the construction of a stone wall, enclosing the temple and the cemetery near it. In 1856 the church had the following appearance: "... the building of a stone ... .; the walls are painted with yellow paint, the floor is made of stone, the roof is iron and so are the chapters painted with median, the crosses are wooden, covered with white tin. There are two altars in it: The first one is real cold in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the second one in the side-chapel in the name of St. Martyr John the Warrior. At this church in connection with it there is a stone two-tiered bell tower with four bells "..."; one of which weighs fifty-seven poods thirty-two pounds, the second is ten poods, the third is two poods and the fourth is one pood. There are thirteen windows with iron lattices, and another two above without lattices; "..."; There are three west doors, one south and a north one, all the doors are made of iron, so are the locks, hooks and padlocks "..."; The altar from the real church is separated by a massive stone wall with three entrances, and the altar itself is divided into three parts by two arches."
In 1864. Clergymen f. Mikhail Mertsalov, f. Nikolai Ivanov, deacon Michael Uspensky, deacon Fyodor Nikolsky, as well as the church elder a Krapivna merchant of the 2nd Guild, Andrei Kirillovich Brukhanov, and the parishioners appealed to the bishop of Tula and Belevsky Nikandr (Pokrovsky) for the blessing to rebuild the church at the expense of the church and parishioners. In their petition, they explained that "because of the small territory of ... the church ... always suffered from hampering in the Divine Services, as a result of which everyone unanimously expressed a desire to break down the whole refectory of the church with its chapel, as well as the bell tower, as being old" ... ".
During the renovation of the temple the guardian of the parishioners was Aleksandra Pavlovna Artyukhova, a resident of the Kolpna village, who received the book for a year. But the money of parishioners and the church was not enough to finish the repair. Its completion became possible only thanks to the donations of the great-grandsons of the Isaac Parfenevich Khomyakov, who was buried at the temple: Agrippina Vasilyevna Khomyakova-Bulayeva (1812-1893) and her brother, the landowner of Krapivna, Alexander Vasilievich Khomyakov (1814-1885). During this repair, the old refectory was broken and a new, more spacious one was built. Donations of Alexander Vasilievich Khomyakov were spent to make a new altar in honor of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky.
On August 30, 1866, his consecration took place with the blessing of Bishop Nikandr. In the altar, instead of low vaults, higher ones were erected; The arch in the Royal Gates was struck and significantly enlarged, they also made all three altar doors higher, the floor was raised by half a meter.
By September 21, 1870, the time of completion of the repair, the temple had three altars: the main one in the name of St. Nicholas, the one on the left in the name of the holy martyr John the Warrior and the one to the right in the name of the holy Prince Alexander Nevsky. The church was heated with two brick ovens in iron cases, it was covered with an iron roof, painted with green copper paint; The floor is lined with stone tiles (half of them are white); At the entrance to the porch on two cast-iron pillars, a porch, covered with iron and painted with honey, was arranged.
They also built a new stone belfry, a blessing for the construction of which, as early as in 1849, was requested by Natalia Alekseevna Koryakina-Khomyakova, stating that "the stone belfry at the Church of St. Nicholas, became so old that it threatens to fall ... ".
In 1892 In the temple, the repair was again carried out with the gilding of the iconostasis, cleaning and varnishing of the icons, the painting of the walls with glue paint, and the panels with oil paint. The Work was conducted by Tula iconostasis affairs master Mikhail Vishnyakov. Among the numerous icons that were at that time in the church, Nikolai Ivanovich Troitsky in the "Inventory of the property belonging to individual churches and monasteries" highlights the icon of the Mother of God of Akhtyr in the salary with the royal coat of arms, the icon of the Archangel Michael in the silver setting of 1750, the local icon of St. Nicholas The Wonderworker; Also the Gospel of the altar in 1774 in the salary of 1779, the Gospel of the Altar 1757, censer silver in the form of a church in the early 18th century.
In 1888 Agrippina Vasilyevna Khomyakova-Bulayeva built a stone church and parish school near the church fence with the money put to her as a contribution upon joining the Tula diocesan brotherhood in the name of St. John the Forerunner. Then from 1893-94 academic year the school was supported by the means of the Diocese. The building of this school has survived to the present day. In 1892, at the expense of the State Treasury, another parish school was built at the church, wooden, with an iron roof, on a brick foundation; For its maintenance, money was allocated from Krapiwensk Zemstvo for 140 rubles, from the peasants of Yasnaya Polyana to 60 rubles per year.
On October 14, 1891 they opened the church parish guardianship, which raised money. At the church there were three tithes of a manor land and seventy-nine tithes of tilled and haymaking. The land was owned and processed by the clergymen who had their homes there. In addition, in 1881 on the church land they built a wooden one-story church and mansion house occupied by priests on a stone foundation under the iron roof.
The temple has an old cemetery. The graves of the noblemen of Kartsev, buried near the walls of a pristine church, in connection with its expansion during the 18th and 19th centuries, appeared under the temple, as evidenced by tombstones in the foundation of the church. At the entrance to the temple there was a family crypt of the Khomyakov noblemen, in which A.V. Khomyakova-Bulaeva (1812-1893) and her parents V.V. Khomyakov (died in 1814) and N.A. Khomyakov (d. 1850) were buried. In the eastern part of the cemetery, at the altar, the family crypt was also built by the descendants of the ancient Russian clan of Count Tolstoy. There the parents of the writer L.N. Tolstoy Countess Maria Nikolaevna Tolstaya, nee Volkonskaya (1790-1830), Count Nikolai Ilich Tolstoy (1794-1837), Count Dmitry Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1827-1856) were buried. In the tomb of Tolstoy on the west side of the wall there was an icon of the Mother of God "Three Joys" (60x40 cm in size), in the yellow wooden frame of the old letter, but on the night of November 1, 2, 1938, it was abducted, anditsr current location is unknown. Next to the crypt there are the graves of the writer's wife Sofya Andreevna, their children, those who died in childhood, relatives and friends
The churchyard in Kochaki is the only family necropolis of the Tolstoys.
During the Soviet era, the Nikolsky Temple suffered the common fate of the churches and monasteries of Holy Russia - it was closed. Unfortunately, the archives failed to reveal the documents about the exact date, but according to the testimony of the parishioner of the church Tatyana Grishina, it was in 1935.
After the closing, they arranged a wheeled workshop in the temple , tore off the crosses; In the altar of the throne in honor of St. Nicholas they installed a furnace, for the construction of which they used plates from the floor and steps of the altar. They broke the iconostasis, mixed up the icons in a heap. The crypt of the benefactors of the Khomyakovs' temple was broken, their graves were covered with broken bricks. For long eleven years no Divine services were held. On April 18, 1941 the decision of the Oblast Executive Committee for No. 26-19 to stopped the work at the conversion of the temple to a wheeled workshop, but its restoration began only after September 12, 1946, it was returned to the believers. The priest Father Alexander Knyazev was appointed the priest.
In 1951 - 1953 the rector of the church was Archimandrite Makariy (Kobyakov), who put a lot of effort into the further beautification of the temple, the arrangement of the tracks near it. With the priest Makarii a flowering garden appeared in front of the temple.
Since 1955, for more than thirty years, the rector of the temple was Fr. Georgy Stepanov, who continued to preserve, decorate the temple, cultivate the garden that flourished under the patroness of Macarius.
In 1988, under the rector of the father Sergei Zuev (1988-1993), the Moscow icon painter Alexander Chashkin, together with Vladimir Litvinov, Yuri Cherkasov and Mikhail Tipyakov, preserving the fragments of the old paintings, executed the painting of the church in the style of old church painting.
In March 1995, the father Nikolai Pikuza was appointed rector of the church, until July 2002 he carried the works on the further preservation of the church, repairing the refectory, roofing, and facade. In the difficult 90s, when the most needed food was not available, Father Nikolai showed a touching concern for his parishioners. And in the sermons he gave the instructions for the salvation of souls and repentance.
From July 2002 until now, the rector archpriest Igor Koreysha continues the work at the improvement of the templ and the territory around it.
V.N. Uklein, describing the church, regrets the illiterate and stupid changes were made to the architecture of the temple. Here is how he describes: "The plan of the temple corresponds to the ancient Russian traditions to the highest two-light volume, which is actually the church, the lower apse adjoins from the east, and from the west - a refectory and behind it there is a low bell tower.
Kochakovskaya church strikes by its miniature, its main high area is only 46 square meters. To increase the capacity of the church, it is connected with the so-called refectory. The latter is twice as wide as the church and more than three times its size.
Three entrances lead to the church. The eastern wall of the altar, rectilinear on the inside, is divided on the facade into three slightly convex fields, as if imitating the three-part composition of the apses, traditional in Russian architecture.
Significantly more serious distortions were introduced into the external appearance of the temple. A wide ribbon of the main cornice with a continuous row of decorative niches and cantilevers girdles the entire building, adorned with corners of thin columns, so-called "pipes" separated from each other by a brick "crest". This decorative technique is very characteristic for the XVII century.
An inseparable and very effective element of the decoration of the temple is the over-the-carved belt of large kokoshniks with a keeled finish.
On the smooth surface of the walls there are two rows of windows with plastic plat bands. But in the form of window openings and in the drawing of the plat bands, one can already see the hand that is alien to the spirit of Old Russian art.
There is no doubt that the area of the window openings was significantly increased, that the articulation of the semicircular part of the windows in the casing composition was distorted.
Above the main room of the church an awkward, some kind of bubble-shaped faceted dome covered with galvanized iron was built. In the castle of the vault is a deaf faceted drum and above it is a flattened, also faceted glauca.
At the end of the last century, the plane of the walls between the protruding decorative elements was lined with sheet iron, which existed until the end of the 1940s "