Russian Monastery celebrates 985th anniversary, 25th anniversary of revival

Torzhok, Tver Province, Russia, August 9, 2023

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On Sunday, August 6, the Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery in Torzhok, a town within the Tver Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, celebrated a double anniversary: 985 years since the founding of the monastery and 25 years since the resumption of Divine services after decades of Soviet rule.

The monastery is among the oldest in Russia, and is even several years older than the Kiev Caves Lavra.

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The services were celebrated by Metropolitan Ambrose of Tver on the monastery’s patronal feast of Sts. Boris and Gleb. Before the Divine Liturgy, he consecrated the north altar of the Entrance of the Theotokos Church, where services have been held for the past 25 years, reports the Tver Metropolis.

He then celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the central altar with local and visiting clergy. The service was sung by the choir of the Chernigov-Gethsemane Hermitage of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.

Special prayers were offered for peace and for the persecuted hierarchs, clergy, monastics and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who suffer at the hands of the “godless ones and the fake church (OCU).”

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Specific prayers were offered for His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra who was still being held in custody on Sunday. Thankfully, he was released the next day after several months away from his monastery, though His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin, who was also prayed for by name at the service in Tver, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on the same day.

Following the service, Met. Ambrose offered thanks to the family of Senator Andrei Klishas, who provided for the iconostasis and altar table for the newly consecrated side altar. The Metropolitan noted that the senator’s request was that the brothers of the monastery always prayerfully remember his parents.

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The hierarch also spoke about the example of Sts. Boris and Gleb:

The life of a man cannot be repeated, and everyone lives in their own circumstances, but their kindness, forgiveness of enemies, and willingness to sacrifice in order to avoid causing any harm, serve as an example for all of us. Especially in the world we live in now, where evil multiplies, love cools, and there are fewer and fewer examples of life, trust in God, and the attitude towards people that the holy and right-believing Boris and Gleb had, who were served by Moses the Hungarian and his brother George, and the founder of this holy monastery, Ephraim the Wonderworker of Novotorzhok. Through their prayers, may the Lord help us to be steadfast in carrying out the commandments, especially those about love for our neighbor, for one another, and for God.

After a festive meal, the troparion and kontakion and a prayer to Sts. Boris and Gleb were read in the majestic Sts. Boris and Gleb Cathedral, which is still awaiting its revival.


St. Ephraim of Novotorzhok, the founder of the monastery. Photo: St. Ephraim of Novotorzhok, the founder of the monastery. Photo: Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery in Torzhok was founded by St. Ephraim of Novotorzhok in 1038. The monastery has suffered repeated devastation and ruin over the centuries, including attacks by the Mongol Tatars and the Lithuanians and Poles, who ravaged the monastery and town and burned the monastery brotherhood alive in the wooden Entrance of the Theotokos Church.

“It is remarkable that with all the disastrous devastations, the stone church built by St. Ephraim remained intact and undamaged,” writes the Tver Metropolis.

The Entrance Church was restored in 1620, and the monastery remained prosperous until the Bolsheviks came to power. In 1919, they opened and blasphemed the relics of the monastery founder, St. Ephraim, and in 1925, the brotherhood was dissolved. The monastery then housed a prison, a medical dispensary, and in recent years, a museum.

In 1993, it was decided that the monastery would be jointly used by the museum and the Russian Orthodox Church, and in 1995, five monks settled on the territory of the monastery in a former prison building. In December 1997, the Entrance of the Theotokos Church was handed over to the monks, who immediately began restoring it.

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