Alexander-Svirsky Monastery, Leningrad region (near St. Petersburg)

Founded in 1487, the Alexander-Svirsky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery situated deep in the woods of the Leningrad Oblast (Saint Petersburg area), just south from its border with the Republic of Karelia.

Holy Trinity Свято-Троицкий Алексадра Свирского монастырь

From Wikipedia: During the Time of Troubles, the Swedes sacked and burnt both hermitages on three occasions, yet the monastery continued to prosper. After the Russian-Swedish war the border was delineated west of the Svir River.

In 1644, when the five-domed Transfiguration Cathedral was finished, Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich presented to the monks a golden arc for keeping St Alexander’s relics there. A belfry of the Trinity cloister was built in three tiers and crowned with three tents in 1649. Most of the monastic cells date back to the 1670s. The roomy Trinity Cathedral was completed by 1695. The last structure to be erected within monastery walls was the hospital chapel of St John of Damascus (1718).

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the brethren were executed or deported, while the relics of St Alexander were desecrated and put on a public display in Leningrad. The medieval monastery buildings housed an infamous gulag known as Svirlag. They were further damaged during World War II. Restoration did not commence until the 1970s.

Currently, the Transfiguration Cloister is the home to the local monastic community, while the Trinity Cloister still houses a mental asylum instituted in 1953.