1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sergiyevo

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SERGIYEVO, a town of Russia, in the government of Moscow, 44 m. by rail N.N.E. of Moscow. It has grown up round the monastery or lavra of Troitsko-Sergiyevskaya. It is situated in a beautiful country, the buildings extending partly over the hill occupied by the monastery and partly over the valley below. Including the suburbs it had, in 1884, 31,400 inhabitants, and 31,413 in 1900. Sergiyevo has long been renowned for its manufacture of holy pictures (painted and carved), spoons, and other articles carved in wood, especially toys, which are sold to pilgrims who resort to the place to the number of 100,000 annually.

The Troitsk or Trinity monastery is the most sacred spot in middle Russia, the Great Russians regarding it with more veneration than even the cathedrals and relics of the Kremlin at Moscow. It occupies a picturesque site on the top of a hill, protected on two sides by deep ravines and steep slopes. The walls, 25 to 50 ft. in height, are fortified by nine towers, one of which is a prison for both civil and ecclesiastical offenders. Thirteen churches, including the Troitskiy (Trinity) and Uspenskiy cathedrals, a bell-tower, a theological academy, various buildings for monks and pilgrims, and a hospital stand within the precincts, which are two-thirds of a mile in circuit. A small wooden church, erected by the monk Sergius, and afterwards burned (1391) by the Tatars, stood on the site now occupied by the cathedral of the Trinity, which was built in 1422, and contains the relics of Sergius, as well as ecclesiastic treasures of priceless value and a holy picture which has frequently been brought into requisition in Russian campaigns. The Uspensky cathedral was erected in 1585; close beside it are the graves of Tsar Boris Godunov (died in 1605) and his family. In the southern part of the monastery is the church of Sergius, beneath which are spacious rooms where 200,000 dinners are distributed gratis every year to the pilgrims. The bell-tower, 320 ft. high, has a bell weighing 64 tons. Several monasteries of less importance exist in the neighbourhood. In 1340 two brothers erected a church on the spot. The elder took monastic orders under the name of Sergius, and became famous among the peasants around. His monastery acquired great fame and became the wealthiest in middle Russia. Ivan the Terrible in 1561 made it the centre of the ecclesiastical province of Moscow. During the Polish invasion at the beginning of the 17th century it organized the national resistance. In 1608–1609 it withstood a sixteen months' siege by the Poles; at a later date the monks took a lively part in the organization of the army which crushed the outbreak of the peasants. In 1685 Peter the Great took refuge here from the revolted streltzi, or Muscovite military guards. The theological seminary, founded in 1744 and transformed in 1814 into an academy, reckoned Platon and Philarete among its pupils.