The first male monastery in Moscow, located near Serpukhovskaya Zastava Square, is the Danilovsky Monastery. It was founded on a small hill at the place where the quiet Khudenets River that started in Zamoskvorechye merged with the wide and full-flowing Moscow River.
22 Danilovsky Val St., Moscow 115191 , Russian Federation
How to get there
- Tulskaya” metro station. The last carriage from the center. Coming out of the Metro turn back and walk to the streetcar tracks. Then turn right and walk straight to the monastery.
- From the metro station “Paveletskaya” take any streetcar to the stop “St. Danilov Monastery.
- The territory is open for visitors from 6:00 to 21:00.
The Danilov Monastery in Moscow was founded by Prince Daniel of Moscow, son of Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky. The prince was noted for his piety, justice, and mercy. He ruled for 30 years and during this time he succeeded in putting the beginning of the unification of the Russian lands around the future capital and became the first Moscow grand duke of all Russia. At first a wooden church was built in the name of the Monk Daniel the Stylite, the patron saint of the Prophet Daniel. Before he died, the prince took monastic vows. In 1303 he was buried according to his will in the simple brotherly cemetery of the monastery “not in a church but in a fence.
Frescos in the summer church
The history of Danilov Monastery is not an easy one. She had to endure a lot of trials. In 1330 Ivan Kalita, son of Daniil, moved it to the Kremlin, where it was safer from raids, and assigned it to the cathedral of the Savior on Bor. Then the monastery was moved to the Krutitsky Hill. The Novospassky monastery was arranged there. All this time the monastery remained in desolation. It had only a temple and a cemetery. The tomb of Prince Daniil was abandoned. But miraculous healings of parishioners visiting the grave of Prince Daniel served to revive the monastery. John the Terrible restored the ancient Danilov Monastery in Zamoskvorechye. The monastery was inhabited by monks. Formerly subordinate to the Kremlin’s Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, it now became independent again. And later Prince Daniel was canonized and his imperishable relics were found. They ordained two memorial days for Saint Daniel – 17 March, the day of his repose, and 12 September, the day of the uncovering of his holy relics (the old style is 4 March and 30 August).
The monastery had an important meaning in defense of the capital. It played a major role in repulsing the attack of the Crimean Khan Kazy-Girey in 1591. During the Time of Troubles, in 1606, the rebels led by Bolotnikov were defeated by an army of Tsar Vasily Shuisky. In 1610 an impostor False Dmitry II set fire to the monastery. But soon it was rebuilt and surrounded by a beautiful stone wall with towers.
The fortress wall and the Gate Belfry with the Church of St. Simeon Stolpnik
In beauty, it could be compared to the Kremlin fortress wall. During the war with Napoleon, the monastery was looted. From the tomb of Saint Prince Daniel was stolen a silver casing, created at the donation of Prince Feodor Golitsyn. In 1817, the holy relics of Prince Daniil were placed in a new silver casket. After the revolution, during the persecution of the church, the monastery was also subjected to persecution and repression. The 300-year-old chapel was demolished. The Danilov Monastery in Moscow sheltered many clergymen expelled from other churches for remaining faithful to the traditions of Russian Orthodoxy. They were called “Danilovites.” Many of them were sent into exile or imprisonment. In 1930, the monastery in Moscow was closed, and some of the monks were shot. The relics of Saint Prince Daniil disappeared. Perhaps they were taken away by the believers themselves to save them from desecration. A monument to Lenin was erected on the territory. There was a children’s colony and warehouses. Burials were uncovered. The remains of some famous figures were moved to other cemeteries. The Danilov cemetery was barbarically destroyed. In 1983 the monastery was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. It began its restoration, which was completed by the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia in 1988.
By now the monastery has been restored as it was in the 17th-19th centuries. The oldest church of the monastery is the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
The Cathedral of the Seven Ecumenical Fathers
It was built in 1555-1560 and consecrated on May 18, 1561 by Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow in the presence of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. By the end of the 17th century a refectory church of the Intercession with a chapel in honor of the Prophet Daniel was built next to the temple. Later the old church was dismantled and a new one was built in the early 18th century on the vaults of the Church of the Protection of the Holy Mary, which became the lower floor of the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
The lower church of the Cathedral of the Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils
In the early 19th century in the upper church appeared north side-chapel in the name of Prince Daniil of Moscow and south side-chapel in the name of the Holy Passion-Bearers of the Nobleborn Princes Boris and Gleb.
A side-chapel in the name of Prince Daniel of Moscow (northern)
The Church of the Intercession, situated on the first floor, has the northern side-chapel in the name of the Holy Prophet Daniel, heavenly patron saint of the Monk Prince Daniel in monasticism. The patronal feast day is on October 14 (October 1, the old style). After the late liturgy on that day there is a procession around the temple. In the 18th century, in the third tier of the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, a church was built above the narthex in honor of St. Daniel the Stylite.
The largest cathedral in Danilovsky Monastery is the Trinity Cathedral. It was built in 1833-1838 by the architect O. Bove in the late Russian classicism style at the expense of the Shustovs and Kumanin family.
It is one of the last creations of the great architect. The altar was consecrated by Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, on September 13, 1838. At the same time two side-altars were consecrated. The northern one is in honor of the conception of St. Anne (northern). The southern one was dedicated in honor of St. Alexis the Man of God. After the rebirth of the monastery the altar in honour of the Holy Trinity was reconsecrated on April 27, 1986. The feast day is the Day of the Holy Trinity, or Pentecost, celebrated on the 50th day after Easter. The iconostasis of the Kostroma school of the 17th century was placed in the church.
The iconostasis of the Trinity Cathedral
Here are the miracle-working icons of the Mother of God “Troeruchitsa” and St. John Cassian of Rome. Also reconstructed the gate church of St. Simeon Stolpnik from 1732.
The Gateway Church of St. Simeon Stolpnik and the Bell Tower
In the 1980s in the chapel of the west aperture of the Holy Gate, in the basement of the hospital building, the church in the name of St. Seraphim of Sarov was built. July 7, 1988 in the basement of the Trinity Cathedral was consecrated a church in the name of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Remarkable is its white-stone iconostasis, decorated with rich carvings. On holidays there is the sacrament of confession. Architect Alonov built a chapel in honor of the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia in the Danilov Monastery Square.
The Chapel of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Cathedral of the Fathers
It has not yet been possible to find the graves that were destroyed during the demolition of the cemetery. A symbolic monument to all buried was the chapel-kostnitsa – a memorial chapel, built in 1988 according to the project of the same architect Alonov. Near the graves of Gogol and Khomyakov were installed two bas-reliefs in their memory. On September 4, 1997, when the 850th anniversary of Moscow was celebrated, a monument to Holy Prince Daniil of Moscow was opened and consecrated on Tula Square. A chapel was soon consecrated in his honor. In 2003-2008, 18 bells, which in the 1930s were bought by the American industrialist Charles Crane and given to Harvard University to save them from being melted down, were returned to the Monastery. The main relic of the monastery is the relics of Saint Prince Daniil of Moscow. They are located in the Trinity Cathedral and the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
Information for tourists
Danilovsky Monastery in Moscow is stavropigial, which means that its rector is His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The daily life is managed by its vicar in the rank of Archimandrite. The monastery by its charter is communal, which means common prayer, labor and meals of the monks. The brethren of the monastery participate in affairs of charity and mercy in hospitals, children’s institutions and places of confinement. In addition, there is teaching in secular and spiritual higher educational institutions.
There is a Sunday school and catechetical courses for adults (teaching the Orthodox faith). The publishing house “Danilovsky Evangelist” and various workshops are located here. There is an excursion service. There are suburbs in the Ryazan region and in the suburbs. There is the Church of St. Nicholas in Izmailovo, which is the highest wooden temple in Russia. Its height is 46 meters.
Danilov stauropegial monastery Stavropigialnye monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church
The oldest monastic monastery in Moscow was founded by the holy Prince Daniil of Moscow no later than 1282. The first building of the monastery was a wooden church in honor of the Monk Daniel Stylites, whose name Saint Prince Daniil bore, and to whose heavenly patronage he entrusted his monastery. The holy prince built and maintained the monastery from his princely means, granted it lands, meadows, “fisheries”, and placed around it several peasant households. From the very foundation of the monastery Prince Daniel elevated it to the highest degree of monasteries, and established for ever that the superior in it should have the dignity of Archimandrite (at that time in Russia it was so in only two or three major monasteries). After the death of prince Daniil (+ 1303) the monastery didn’t last long in its place: in 1330 the son of holy Prince Daniil, the great Moscow prince Ivan Kalita, transferred the brotherhood of Danilov to the Kremlin, to the church of the Saviour at Bor. The second relocation of the monastery took place at the end of the XV century under Grand Prince Ioann Vasilievich III, who transferred the monastery from the Kremlin to the Krutitsy Hill. According to its new position, the Spassky Monastery was called the Novospassky Monastery, or the Monastery of the “Savior on New”.
For over two hundred years, the site of the ancient Danilov Monastery was nothing but the church of Daniel the Stylite and the small village of Danilovskoye. And now the time came when, by God’s will, holy Prince Daniel began to remind of himself and his monastery by apparitions and miracles. The rebirth of the monastery began in the middle of the 16th century and is connected with the names of Tsar Ivan the Terrible and Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia Makarii.
In 1555, two hundred meters from the wooden church of St. Daniel the Stylite, in the monastery`s cemetery, near the grave of Prince Daniil, a new stone church in the name of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was founded, wooden cells were built, the territory was fenced with wooden walls and the monastery brotherhood returned to its original place – the monastery continued its existence. On 30 August/12 September 1652 at the monastery the holy relics of the Beneficent Prince Daniel of Moscow were uncovered. Soon the Monk and Prince Daniel was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church as a saint.
In the 17th century, the Danilov monastery continued to be built and improved, largely at the care of the Russian sovereigns. A stone fence was erected, and a monastery refectory ensemble was built near the Church of the Holy Fathers, with two adjacent churches – in honor of the Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary and in honor of St. Daniel, the Prophet of God. In the XVIII century the old church in the name of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was demolished to its foundation (nowadays only remains of the foundation can be seen), and over the Pokrovsky and Danilovsky temples the tops (heads, the drum, the roof) were removed and new lowered vaults were made, on which the new church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was built.
Above the northern Holy Gates there is a church in the name of St. Simeon Stolpnik with a bell tower built in 1730-1732. By the end of the 19th century, the Danilovsky Bell Ringing was one of the best in Moscow and was of great artistic value.
The Trinity Cathedral of the monastery is the largest and most majestic temple of the monastery. It was built in 1833-1838 according to the project of the architect Osip Bove on the money of the merchants Kumanin and Shestovs. In 1869 a project to expand the monastery’s territory to the west was approved. As a result of the reconstruction, the total area of the Danilov Monastery almost doubled. The layout of the monastery survived until the end of the XIX century.
Danilov necropolis traces its history back to the ancient brotherhood monastery cemetery. Here were buried writer Nikolai Gogol, pianist and conductor Nikolai Rubinstein, painter Vasily Perov, religious philosophers and publicists Andrei Khomyakov and Yuri Samarin as well as many other prominent national figures. When the monastery was ruined in the 1930s, the necropolis suffered the same fate.
In the terrible post-revolutionary years the monastery of St. Prince Daniel shone as a spiritual center of the Orthodox Church not subject to God-fighting forces. The monastery was formally closed in 1918, but monastic life in the monastery continued until 1930. From 1917 to 1930, the superior of Danilov Monastery was Bishop (since 1923 Archbishop) Theodore (Pozdeevsky), around whom the laity and clerics grouped, resisting the new powers’ attempts to influence the Church. This is a special, glorious page in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church and the new martyrs of Russia. After the closing of the monastery, the holy relics of the Monk Prince Daniel were at first transferred to the nearby church, the Church of the Resurrection of the Word-Working, and in 1932 they were taken away at night, unknown by whom and where. A children’s reception center was placed in the monastery.
The Danilov Monastery has at all times lived a life inseparable from the fate of Russia and the entire Russian people. In the 1930s, the monastery was closed, the brethren were shot, the monastery property was confiscated, and the bells were sold for scrap metal (thus saving them from being melted down) to the American industrialist and diplomat Charles Crane. For almost eight decades, the bells were at Harvard University, and it was only on March 17, 2009, the feast day of Saint Blessed Prince Daniel of Moscow, that the capital once again heard the sound of the bells.
The second renewal of the monastery began in 1983. In the shortest time possible, the Danilov Monastery was restored and since that time has become not only a place of monastic prayer, but also the spiritual and administrative center of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1988, in Danilov Monastery were held anniversary celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia. Today the Patriarchal and Synodal Residence is located on the territory of the monastery, as well as the Department for External Church Relations (DECR). With concern for the future generations in 1999 at the Danilov Monastery was created a Center for Spiritual Development of Children and Youth, which since 2004 was named the Patriarchal. Today, numerous missionary and social projects of the Center unite more than ten thousand Muscovites and residents of other regions.
At the monastery operates the Orthodox center “Metanoia” to help people suffering from alcohol and drug addictions.
In 2016, the monastery celebrated the 25th anniversary of the publishing house “Danilovsky Evangelist”, whose books are widely known to Orthodox readers not only in our country, but also abroad.
In the words of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: “…the address of Danilovsky Monastery has become the address of the entire Russian Orthodox Church.