In fine weather from the Gorodomlya village is visible another island - Stolobny that hosts Saint Nil Stolbenskiy Monastery. The island is small, flat, and the monastic buildings appear to be standing right on the water. When approaching the island by boat or on a cutter, the monastic buildings begin to rise right from the water, resembling theatrical scenery. Comparison with the scenery, perhaps, inspired not by the view opening, but popular prints of the last century, depicting the procession of Nil's Hermitage, yet the impression is not lost as long as you coming close to the monastery. Nearby numerous churches and buildings of the monastery do not cause feelings of the inaccessible places, separated from the world, how look Moscow’s and Moscow region’s ones with their high walls.
Saint Nil Stolbenskiy Monastery rather reminds some sort of Leningrad square, when you look at it from the Neva or a channel: granite embankments, surrounded the whole island, columns, towers, similar to the park gazebo, a high parapet in front of the main cathedral of the monastery, the strict monastic order form constructions of XVIII-XIX centuries.
The appearance of the monastery Nil's Hermitage associated with the name of monk Nil, who received the name of the island Stolobny the nickname Stolbenskiy. Nil Stolbenskiy - historically authentic person. He was really a novice Krypetsky monastery near Pskov, where he took monastic vows, and then settled on the river Seremkha. But there's people from nearby villages after learning about the monastic life of the future saint, began supposedly to bother him too much, preventing him from solitude, and he decided to retire from the world in a more remote place. That place was an island, near which were Ostashkov settlement, on the other side of the lake – Nikolo-Rozhkovsky monastery, and nearby, probably there were several villages. The fame of this hermit distributed around the coast, and he occasionally makes itself felt, then commits another "miracle" - heal the suffering, it avoids the imminent death of a fisherman caught the storm on the lake.
In the epoch of formation of the Moscow state at the same time underwent a process of canonization of local saints. It is these locally venerated saints become assistants and protectors, intercessors before the throne of God and advisers in all endeavors for residents of certain lands. Among the saints very early enter dukes - Alexander Nevsky, Dmitry Donskoy, Mikhail Tverskoy, the founders of monasteries - Sergius of Radonezh, Kirill Belozersky and others. Here in the lake district, the desire to have their heavenly patron, apparently, was the reason for the canonization of a hermit who lived on the island Stolobny, and Nikolo-Rozhkovsky monastery actively promoted the name of the saint in the vicinity.
Nikolo-Rozhkovsky monastery on the western coast of Lake Seliger appeared as the border with Lithuania monastery of Moscow principality. The Life of Nil Stolbenskiy was ordered by its monks, and compiled in Moscow. From the other canonized saints Nil Stolbenskiy differs feats such as the torture of his flesh, regular vigils and prayers, when even in the brief moments of rest he did not went to bed, and hung on wooden crutches driven into the wall. With these attributes, he most often depicted on icons and wooden sculpture.
Much later, Nil Stolbenskiy will be designated as a healer of diseases feet, the savior of traveling on water and on hard roads. After the death of the Stolbenskiy hermit on his grave, according to the hagiographic literature, continued to perform miracles of healing, this was the cause of the monastery on the island.
A monk German from the Nikolo-Rozhkovsky monastery became the first abbot, and the actual founder of the Nil's Hermitage. He built a chapel over the tomb of Nil, and nearly forty years after the death of Nil, in the years 1591-1594 built the first wooden Epiphany church and bell tower "post oak". At the same time appeared the first icon painting image of Nil Stolbenskiy, made according "the words of ancients who knew the saint of God personally and remembered features of his face," by the two monks, Job and Nifont from the Orshin Ascension Monastery, located near Tver, downstream of the Volga river.
In the early years the Hermitage eked out a miserable existence. It was ruined by the Poles, and only a happy coincidence saved monastery of from complete extinction. Land around the the island and Stolbenskiy island itself are belonged, as well as Gorodomlya village, to boyar Lykov - next of kin of the tsar, and abbot at the monastery after the death of German became Nectarius, who was a native of Ostashkov, man, no doubt, of great energy and a highly educated for his time. Noble boyar was flattered to have monastery in his backyards. Nil Stolbenskiy thus become like his heavenly patron. Therefore, the Hermitage has received full support from Lykov.
After boyar Lykov dukes Trubetskoy, Dmitry Pozharsky, Kolotovsky lord made here the contributions; and finally the king himself did not leave the "holy place" without attention. The contributions were so great that Nectarius rebuilt the monastery. In 1622 was built "on the five chapters on the cells” wooden Church of Intercession, and instead of a burnt-out the Epiphany over the tomb of Nil in 1635 was built the second wooden church of the same name. The monastery was surrounded by a fence with a "bell osmistennaya" over the gate, hospital and living cells were staged. To learn how the Hermitage looked like under Nectarios, the icon with its image gives a good overview, it being stored in a museum "Kolomenskoye" in Moscow. Wooden Church "on the cells' reminiscent Shirkov Pogost church with the same tiers of decreasing quadrangles, covered for eight batters. The second one, somewhat smaller, is obviously Kletsky type. Log monastery walls and bell tower are low; behind them close to each other are small cells. In this form the monastery lasted not so long. In 1665 there was a strong fire. By the morning in place of wooden structures were just smoldering embers, but the Hermitage this time was so rich that Nectarius requests permission to build a stone church, and for this purpose goes to Moscow "and at this time, the Great Emperor granted on the stone church plant 200 rubles" . There, in Moscow, was bought a brick, iron, lime, and the contractor of stone affairs was found - "the peasant of princes Cherkassky -Yakov Nikitin son Golubin", a native of the village Pavlov Perevoz near Nizhny Novgorod.
In 1667 at the monastery have been laid the first stone of Epiphany Church. Three years later, it was consecrated. "During the construction from the tsar and his relatives by his wife Miloslavskiy and Morozov ... From time to time, have been sent for the construction of the stone church financial benefits, which accelerated the progress of this building. "However, the monastery's first stone building was imperfect. Two years later had to disassemble the church over the refectory and bell tower, as "because of disproportionate severity her a cracks appeared, and soon found them in a refectory, on which she stood, and in itself ...". Instead of dismantled church was added a chapel. The first stone cathedral of the monastery has not been preserved.
In its place now stands a majestic classical construction of the early XIX century, received the same name - Epiphany Cathedral about which still have to talk. Numerous types of icons from the monastery, now scattered in various collections, give a fairly good idea not extant cathedral. According to them, it is possible to reconstruct at least a basic amount of the building, which is extremely important, as this was the first stone structure in the vicinity of Ostashkov, of course, became the prototype for urban cathedrals, erected in the 80s of the XVII century, and the decoration of its has continued to excite the imagination of local architects, until the end of the XVIII century. On images of the cathedral you can note the high bushel two tiers of windows, topped by rows of corbel arches, and rising above them massive drums with big heads, walls were cut through the slender wide window openings in a complex smart setting.
Both the composition and decoration of the church are not more like Moscow, but Yaroslavl construction of the end of the XVII century. Already in 1703 to the cathedral was added another church with the refectory, in the decoration of which repeated the earlier forms. On the creation of the church, local craftsmen labored - "from the Ostashkov settlement masons Filat Seleznev and Yermolai Korolev built Nil’s Hermitage stone church to the refectory and to the old catholic church for 105 rubles." Along with the cathedral began construction of the wall around the monastery (the work was completed in 1676). Their original form can also be seen on the images and icon-painting in small fragments preserved in nature. In comparison with strong fortress of suburban monasteries walls of the Nil’s Hermitage look like a weak imitation of them. But it was the only stone fort in the vast Lake District, about its defensive assignment indicates the existence of loopholes. Rhythmic segmentation of the walls outside of the fence pilasters with primitive bases and capitals gave these structures not only form a fortress, as the monastic enclosure, as more characteristic of the subsequent construction of the late XVII - early XVIII century. Stone construction in a monastery continued until the early XX century with a few interruptions.
On the plan of the monastery one can see that its territory is clearly divided into three parts. It feels good also when you wander among the many buildings. The center of the composition of the monastery is the front yard with the Cathedral of the Annunciation, opening from the lake. On either side of the cathedral, almost the entire perimeter of the yard, are placed cells. Special guests, who have arrived in the Nil’s Hermitage, were welcomed at the Bishop's wharf, led up the broad stairs through the arch of Nil’s Gate church. To get to the cathedral, one had to pass almost all over the yard, along the bishops' cells and sister buildings. Before the cathedral was constructed observation deck overlooking the bay and the harbor at the Bishops, from this side to the monastery approached the procession of the Ostashkov.
Over the cathedral is the second Gate Church - St. Peter and St. Paul, passing the arch of its gate you get to the spacious yard which housed a hotel for visitors and a home for overnight travelers. Behind this yard was located slightly smaller third one -stable yard. In the small bay was constructed harbor and dock, along the shore stood the monastic warehouses and buildings, intended for various household services: the cellar, soap, barns, and in the side - the the forge, workshops and other buildings of the monastery of extensive farming. The whole southern part of the island was assigned as gardens and orchards.
Over gardens and orchards was a cemetery where were buried only monks and those who gave the monastery a considerable amount of money. Not far from the Hermitage, in a small artificial pond, caught fish preserved long, where it were caught on as necessary. On some of the surrounding rivulets were arranged monastic mill. Needed a lot of flour to feed the endless crowd of pilgrims, produce and distribute to the poor eating altar bread, spread across Russia from here.
Among the monastic brotherhood were blacksmiths, shoemakers, furriers, painters, plumbers, masons, carpenters. During the second half of last century in the Nil’s Hermitage were even monks-mechanics and monks-captains who driven on the lake two monastic steamship that transported the pilgrims from Ostashkov and back, and delivered them to the village Svapuscha where a pilgrimage path begins to the sources of the Volga. Large profit brought to the monastery wooden sculptures of Nil Stolbenskiy , these figures were different - from the size of a palm to human height. The largest were cut for churches and small distributed throughout by pilgrims getting away, even in Siberia.
Enterprising peasants from surrounding villages are very quickly realized profitability of this "fishing" and have begun themselves cutting and selling wooden Nils. People fantasy endowed image of the saint vivid everyday details. These sculptures caused a smile of his naive interpretation of image an old man; they openly show through features, peeped in life. Such a loose interpretation of the image is not really liked the ecclesiastical authorities, issued an edict strictly forbidding the peasants to cut and sell figurines of Nil Stolbenskiy. But little heed to the decree, and until the end of the XIX century wooden Nils continued to spin out of the tool of local craftsmen. Often the cutting of sculptures was done by women.
In addition to the wooden sculptures copper icons, crosses were made in monasteries, and in the second half of the XIX century, this production has been increasingly replaced by lubok colored pictures showing the procession in the Nil’s Hermitage. Each participant of the procession that gathered countless crowds of pilgrims from all over Russia, sought to take away a souvenir such popular prints, made in the printing lab and sold in a monastery or in Ostashkov. For the most rich visitors the monastery could offer icons with scenes from Nil’s life and his wonders, books, among them books on the history of the monastery, and even tea sets with a picture of the procession in the Hermitage. But in spite of the monastery developed farming and side crafts, the main source of income made up the contributions, donations, those copper penny, which brought with them religious.
The monastery complex Nil’s Hermitage is very large. It consists of twenty separate buildings. Restoration of the complex has just begun, and already the first study, undertaken by the architect V. I. Yakuben’ showed that some of the monastic buildings came to us, survived five to seven periods of construction.
The most ancient monastic buildings belong to the end of the XVII century, but they are not notices right away. For example, the Nil Church, which was renamed in 1723 in All Saints Church, and standing in the north-west corner of the the front yard, built in 1699an apprentice stone cases Nicephorus Terentyev with "comrades", after several rework acquired late-classic look of the building. Instead of five chapters (four corners were made of wood) there was one, but that have built on for the church seem higher. Gables rose above decorated with kokoshniks, and they have disappeared under a thick layer of plaster, and walls adorned with pilasters. To return original look of this building, which consisted of the quadrangle, covered closed vault and connected by the transitions from hospital wards and two wards of prosforopekarnies that time, is likely to be difficult.
Near the church of All Saints, along the north side of the front yard, a little earlier, in 1667-1669, respectively, close to the fortress wall was built one-storey building, called the refectory building, which housed a kitchen, a cellar with glacier, and a kvasovarnya, above them two dried, spare chamber, sick cells and three cells of brotherhood. Only by the characteristic for the end of the XVII century curbs, sometime decorated the now eave which separated from the upper ground floor, and a small surviving fragments of the northern facade, once served as a fortress wall, one can understand that the foundation of this building - the old building. One-story, it lasted a little over a hundred years.
In the years 1779-1781 Ostashkov philistine mason Fedor Dmitriev built the body cells over the western part, which was intended for the rich monastery depositor -Toropetzkaya landlord Ivan Sergeyevich Tchelitchew, who took monastic vows, and settled in the Hermitage. In the years 1804-1805 also Ostashkov philistine mason Jacob Emelyanov Korobanov with "comrades" have built on, now on the east side, the second floor, and probably at the same time lengthened chassis. Modest extended facade of the building decorated along the top by the same framework trims, reminiscent architraves Ostashkov houses was apparently designed to emphasize the rich "jewels" of architectural decoration of the old monastery cathedral.
On the southwestern side of the monastery cathedral in the 1680-1698 is constructed the Treasury Chamber with treasury cells. Exactly this housing was mostly built again, and now is possible only see its ancient part by going into a small courtyard, located behind the building with a portico. On one wall of the patio miraculously kept some not downed window frames of the Treasury Chamber. One of them clearly could serve as a prototype for the decoration of the church in the village Rogozha. Vaulted ceilings survived inside the chamber in some areas. On the construction of this building, now representing a conglomeration of multitemporal premises for more than two hundred years, worked many Ostashkov wizard.
Among them should be called Ivan Semyonov Mosyagin, undoubtedly a talented master, to whom belongs the original work of the Church of Our Lady of Smolensk Odigitria (1750-1756) in the village Okovtsy (the village is located near the village Selizharovo - Regional Center of Kalinin region). The name of the wizard will again be mentioned in connection with buildings Nil’s Hermitage. Together with another master – Login Suslennikov - in 1775 they built "behind the rectory stone cells and kitchen". In 1751 the east side of the front yard was constructed with the Bishops' chambers. Upper floor apartments remain wooden for a short time. Start of construction associated with the name of Thomas Pavlov (Kozlov?) - peasant from Selizharovsky Trinity Monastery settlement.
Highly talented artist, he is more than ten years has been associated with the construction of Nil’s Hermitage, taking large contracts and leading a large guild masters. Foma Pavlov not only directed the work, but he himself was involved in construction. Later in the year 1800-1801 the Bishop's chambers were connected to the Treasury Chamber and the rectory by cells fraternal body. Apparently, in the 1822 communal cells and the Treasury have been combined by semicircular chamber deaf yard. What were these different time and styles of the building, now almost impossible to imagine, because in the 30s of the XIX century they were brought under one roof and facade facing the lake, was a unified architectural treatment, designed by the Tver province architect Ivan Fyodorovich Lviv in the forms of pseudo-gothic. Contractor of works on restructuring of all these buildings was a merchant from Vladimir city Vladimir Feoktistovich Kiryugin. The work was done extensively for "a fold of people working in the same place on the specially made plinth of granite, and ... double-deck below and above ... brotherly cells with copulation on the west side of official pantry wall tent with a front inner old walls... paid ... 2,250 rubles. "
The middle and second half of XVIII century - a period of intensive construction in the monastery when came it’s the most interesting buildings. In 1751 - 1755 on the site of the old eastern holy gate on the donated amount is based Gate Church of the Nile. Contractor and builder was Foma Pavlov. Many of those years the monastic documents paint a picture of the relationship that reigned between the customer and the contractor, "Foma Pavlov against perpetrated contract supports the workers less, and mends willful disobedience, and other irregularities, and over along for the dismantling of old Holy gates and cells requires money 50 rubles., and after taking of money by contracting a half, namely 200 rubles, ran ... Thereof ordered to find and punish the fugitive whips, keep in practice constrained. And for dismantling of Holy Gate and the old s to give him money 30 rubles. "
The first tier of the building of the Holy Gate Nil Church - travel gate with two wickets on the sides, through which walked pilgrims who came to the monastery, and the upper tier - the church itself centric type, eight-in terms, reminiscent of Holy Gate Tikhvin Church of the Donskoi Monastery in Moscow built on 1713. Among Ostashkov monuments - this is the only building of such a composition. Apparently, Foma Pavlov was familiar enough with the Moscow architecture. The facades of the Nil’s Church are divided into two tiers. The bottom is decorated by blades, trim above the windows with white stone cartouches with blue glazed tiles, moldings with complex profiling, arching over the windows to form a kind of arched pediments. The top tier is more modest - Rotunda, roofed with a dome and dissected by blades from facade. Until 1832 the church was crowned with octagon, ending five chapters. Once built a new monastery cathedral, octagon was dismantled. His luxuriant many-heading no longer harmonized with the massive cathedral silhouette. Instead it, the rotunda was blocked by dome with a modest drum and small dome on it.
Works on rebuilding of Nil’s Church ended in 1838, and carried by a Coachman Nicephorus Gavrilovich Pozharsky from the Torzhok city, one of the relatives of those Pozharsky who had in Torzhok the famous hotel and who were also glorified in Pushkin’s poems . The fact that construction work was carried out by Coachman - should not be surprising. Nicephorus Pozharsky was only assigned to Coachmen class, but, like his relatives, being an enterprising man, threw little benefit and severe Coachmen carting and engaged in the construction trade while taking contracts. We note in passing that the documents Nil’s Hermitage more than once referred to people of different social classes seemed to have no relation to the construction and finishing works: master painters - Lieutenant Ilya Mikhailovich Verzin, merchant Joachim Fyodorovich Samsygin, master carver - merchant's son Peter Gavrilovich Filoshin etc.
The Second Gate Church - Church of St. Peter and Paul with a room for the gatekeeper, located on the western gate, leading to the courtyard Gostiny, built in 1760-1764 years also a mason Foma Pavlov. It is interesting that, as a church, it also resembles the bell tower of Trinity Cathedral in Ostashkov, especially its the design of the lower tier of paired columns with a weight hanging between them and the brick cartouches in the second tier. In contrast to the Church ofNile this monument much smaller observed features of the capital.The similarity of the Gate Church of St. Peter and St. Paul with a bell tower is not accidental. Before the construction of multi-tiered bell tower of the Cathedral of the Annunciation its high crowning octagon with the drum, put a few elongated octagonal base of the temple itself, in the panorama of the monastery really looked like the highest vertical, acting as a compositional emphasis. To get to the premises of the temple is possible only by wall ladder. At the level of the second tier held a gallery with a metal grille.
After completion of construction works was started interior trim. Stucco cartouches and bas-relief compositions on evangelical theme on the walls of the Church of Peter and St. Paul have a direct analogy with the stucco decoration in another monastery church - Elevation, filled Kondraty Semenov Konyagin and unpreserved carved iconostasis and the stucco was painted by Boris Erimeev Utkin - one of the masters of numerous dynasties Ostashkov Utkin painters. Church of the Exaltation built in 1784-1788, respectively, stands apart from the monastic complex on a small promontory. At first glance it may seem a building madr not a local masons but guests from the side - its proportions, volumes, and décor are not typical. However, it is known that the capitals for pilasters were made by Ostashkov master. Stucco decorations are more severe, restrained than in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, it is much more pronounced effect of the capital samples. Even the royal account of Alexander I, who visited Nil’s Hermitage, was attracted by the decoration of the church, which was made by Ostashkov «cutter Kondraty Semenov Konyagin."
According to the historian of the last century Vladimir Uspensky, Semenov Kondraty Konyagin dealt not only with stucco work, but the books and correspondence, differs by "pious ascetic life," and finally took his monastic vows. His skill was well known outside Nil’s Hermitage; he was invited to perform stucco and carving work in the Valaam Monastery on Lake Ladoga. Paintings in the church were made by Ilya Mikhaylov Verain and Semyon (Eremeev?) Utkin – another one representative of the hereditary dynasty Ostashkov painters. According to the observations made by restorers V.V. Filatov and L.M. Koltunova, painting of Holy Cross Day Church have many similarities with the painting of Holy Gate St. Peter and St. Paul Church in monastery, and Resurrection Cathedral in Ostashkov. It is possible that the same artel worked over the decoration of all these churches. Among the buildings Nil’s Hermitage are two towers, which were part of the northern wall of the monastery, built in 1766. In all its forms continue to live the tradition of feudal architecture, while the lush processing rusticated corner pilasters with capitals, finely shaped cornices and window frames have Baroque character, and next to them made window aperture frame with shaped pommel keeled and columns of beads and wire harnesses, repeating decoration of the architraves of windows the Treasury Chamber.
After the ceremonial grandeur of the monastery yard, and numerous churches farm and dwellings appear to be more modest, although in comparison with similar buildings in the city, some of them very large. Monastic farming required a large cellars, storehouses, stables and out buildings, and in this whole is felt scale, prosperity, strong economic hand. Many of these buildings were erected simultaneously with the churches, in the second half of XVIII – early XIX century, so that becoming acquainted with them you begin to imagine better how great the extent of the construction of the monastery at this time was. In 1764, Ivan Semyonov Mosyagin mentioned already, along with his brother Alexey started to build Stables courtyard.
From the side of the lake fenced off its high stone wall, decorated with rusticated pilasters, and on the part of Gostiny Dvor set high entrance gate with attic and kiot in the center, which gave the form of a triumphal arch gate. Stables and outbuildings placed freely around the perimeter of the yard. At the beginning of the XIX century the northern stables building was remodeled master Sergei Potapov Tolstikov, by adding to it several rooms and an open arcade. Even without knowing the names of craftsmen whose hands made all these buildings, you immediately understand that the construction of stables complex was carried out by local masons.
The walls are adorned with decorative details with the characteristic combination of Baroque forms and XVII centuries, kiot over the entrance gate to the yard is surprisingly similar to kiot at the bell Smolensk church of Zhitenev monastery, and the arcade along the northern shell gave this economic construction form of public urban buildings. Apparently, immediately after the Stables courtyard Mosyagin brothers started the construction of other farming monastery buildings - "four stone barns and lodoshnik" standing along small bay south of the main complex. Farm buildings during its existence altered many times, expanded.
Therefore, some of them had lost its original appearance and only by small fragments survived in some places on the facades, possible to guess when they arise. Similarly, have been repeatedly rebuilt two other monastery buildings - Gostiniy and hospice corps, the first built in 1731, and the second one in the 1737's.
Many iconographical Nil's Hermitage images XVII - XIX centuries stored in various art museums and found even in the churches, give an excellent overview on how varied appearance of the monastery, as he grew rich, and build up. From a small abandoned monastery which appeared in tens XVI - XVII centuries, the Hermitage became one of the largest monasteries of Russia, became a whole city of monks on the island. For his very rich visitors in the late XVIII century on the place became close one-story living cells placed a large two-storey building, a few years later finished to build at least a vast three-story hospice, where survived the last days the monastery investors and placed constantly changing so-called staff members working in monastery on a vow.
Both these buildings, built in classical style with Baroque decoration parts in design of facades, is almost unparalleled in size in the area monasteries of the time.
The Hermitage year by year became more popular and crowded. Even in minor celebrations from pilgrims filled the Nil’s Monastery been done tightly in old monastery cathedral. In its place was decided to build a new cathedral. At the beginning of the XIX century, the monastery is so rich and popular, that his prior requests "permission to communicate with the architect Rossi ... Her Imperial Highness Princess Catherine Pavlovna ... for drawing up the plan for the new cathedral ... ". Karl Ivanovich Rossi, busy at that time reconstruction of of Tver track of the palace, apparently with great enthusiasm began the project of the monastery cathedral, and soon it was finished.
Scholars of Rossi creativity note that it was perhaps the most fanciful creation of the architect, and see in a complex project three-dimensional composition of the cathedral, combining forms, both pseudo-gothic and classicism, the influence on a young architect of the early buildings of that period of work and training in the expedition of Kremlin buildings (Catherine's church at the Ascension monastery of the Moscow Kremlin - has not been preserved - and superstructure of the tent at Nikolskaya tower). In 1813 the monastery has paid to the architect for the project a large sum for those times and gave money for the fare from St. Petersburg to Nil’s Hermitage and back. The work at first, apparently fascinated the architect, and he carefully worked out plans, elevations, sections, "with designation of iconostasis."
It is difficult to understand why the project was not implemented: whether the architect himself visiting the monastery, became convinced of the unreality without constant oversight on his part to realize the idea, or a huge load on the fulfilling orders the ruling family absorbed all his attention, or time was lost, and he himself, abandoning his hobbies in his youth pseudo-forms, did not want to be a fantasy acquired flesh. The project probably was not even transferred to the monastery, and all inquiries about a KI Rossi replied stubborn silence. Despairing to get the creation of capital wizard the monastery commissioned the project less famous architect, - "dismissed from the post of ex - Tver province architect Andrey Alekseevich Trofimov," which proposed a variant of the restructuring of an ancient cathedral, but it was also not implemented. Besides A.A. Trofimov, the Cathedral was designed by another architect - Melnikov (the name is not specified in the documents). However, this project remained only on paper too.
Only in 1821 finally the construction of of the new Cathedral of the Epiphany began based on the project of Joseph Ivanovich Charlemagne, which ended in a rough in 1833. By its size this grandiose construction can be compared with the county cathedral of quite big city like Kashin, or Arzamas. Not long ago, collecting documents for the restoration of the Cathedral of the Epiphany, M.G. Karpova found a very interesting fact. J.I. Charlemagne first proposed his project to the competition for the St. Isaac's Cathedral, but his plan did not satisfy the authorities in St. Petersburg, and the project almost without any changes carried out in the Nil’s Hermitage. J. I. Charlemagne remained only an author of the project; the building was erected under the supervision of other stone affairs master - a Swiss, a native of Lausanne city - Angelo Dementieva Bottani.
The construction was very intense: in one year the old cathedral was broken and laid the foundations for a new, "so as to lay down in the hermitage thereof on the endorsement of the plan and the facade the Cathedral stone church with a bell tower ... special master in looking stone affairs, for four, and at least five years ... "contracted masons with artels -Vasily Streltsov Semenov from the Podolsk city and Agathon Malinin Kosmin, a native of the village Starkovo Sudogdolskaya county Vladimir province. Finishing the interior was delayed for many years. In his pomp he excelled many of the palaces and religious buildings late-classic metropolitan architecture. Not only Ostashkov, but also drawn wizard from other places worked on its attire. Some projects were carried out on finishing the interior of the province by Tver architect J.F. Lvov.
By its type the Epiphany Cathedral is close to three naves basilica buildings, crowned with five domes (sixth, altar dome - later), from west four- decker tower inserted and facades decorated with powerful six- column Tuscan porticos. The central high light drum is decorated with semi-column Ionic capitals and is based in on the huge pylons of a complex configuration. Other four drums are low, dull, almost without any decoration and set wide apart on the corners. Together with the central pyramid, they finish the building. It should be noted that the bulk of the building is designed more to his perception from the lake. Standing on the same front yard, it is difficult to cover all the eyes of a grand structure. Its heavy massive portico and large planes of the walls, partitioned only by the light apertures, the cathedral, placed on a high granite pedestal, suppresses the audience - we want to move away to get a better look at him.
And only once inside, you begin to really understand how it is huge. Through the bright streams of light of the central drum and windows the opposite wall seems sinking into haze. Perhaps the arrangement of the sixth, over-apsidal dome in the second half of XIX century can be explained by desire for as much as possible to illuminate the interior of the central nave. All the walls, pillars and pilasters were decorated with colorful artificial marble. On a top was a wide molded cornice with gilt details and sumptuous ornamentation. Pillars ended by molded capitals, arches and domes were covered with bright tempera painting with architectural ornament, executed in grisaille technique, gilded and silver reliquaries with a "holy relics” stood in the niches.
After the completion of the cathedral in the Nil’s Hermitage it started building of the shores of Stolobny Island with granite embankments. In fact, these studies were conducted in the past. Strong winds from the Kravotynsky and Ostashkov reaches fit waves destroying the coast of the island. Exiled in the Nil’s Hermitage by ordering of the Synod, Metropolitan Ignatius Krutitsky Smola, adherent of Queen Eudocia Lopukhina, first began the strengthen the coast with oak piles, but they rot, and had to be replaced. According to the monastic documents, granite embankments ("rough stone walls"), partially erected in the middle of the XVIII century.
The formation of the front facade of the monastery from the lake - Bishop's wharf - began in 1813 when on the bank raised a pavilion decorated with porticoes and spire. After construction of the cathedral it was needed to complete the design of this part of the island. Erected in front of the cathedral under the supervision of an architect from Saratov, independently practicing P.N. Uryupin, granite retaining wall with cast-iron parapet, preventing slumping soil and served as a viewing platform, became the basis for further construction of the granite embankments around the island. Before a cathedral at the Bishop's wharf quays made high, and then they went down in some places, raising above the water only three or four rows of blocks. The material for them in abundance extracted from the surrounding fields.
The length of blocks was different, depending on the size of the stone, and height respected approximately equal to make it easier to clutch. The blocks were fitted closely to each other and only in the upper ranks and the most important places "rough stone" embankments fastened with metal pyrone and bonds, for which nests were filled with lead. The project of granite embankments was designed by provincial architect J.F. Lvov, the author of the pseudo-gothic facade of fraternal buildings of the monastery. The personality of this interesting and prolific architect, who studied in the "school of the expedition of Kremlin buildings," a lot and successfully working for over a quarter century in the Tver province, still awaits its researchers. Work on the construction of embankments in the Hermitage even though conducted by the architect, but without his direct involvement by peasants of the village Yakonovo Novotorzhsky County - Ivan Timofeev and Agathon Ivanov -was completed mostly in the 50s of last century.
The last major construction of the monastery - is Svetlitsky Gate tower (1863), standing on the north-east cape of the island Stolobny. The tower was built in the belated forms of classicism. Its lower tier served as a gateway, through which passed to the monastery, in the upper were placed cells of gatekeeper and watchman over the drum raised a high spire, where, during a bad weather, a blizzard or storm on the lake at night kindled lantern. Much later, the strait in front of the tower separating the island from the mainland, almost completely blocked with causeway, which became the main road in the hermitage. After Svetlitsky tower in the monastery is no longer appeared new buildings, although some repairs and alterations still been conducted. Here, for old memory, the crowds of pilgrims continued to throng, but there were fewer of those that finishing the life journey, could deny the monastery the wealth or to make a rich contribution.
It is in these years in the Hermitage, to support its former glory and to attract pilgrims, getting better mass production of lubok pictures, dishes with views of the monastery, copper icons and crosses, produced large edition of the book with the history and biography Stolobensky hermit, but it was only able to support the monastery, making a little injections to a lapsed wealth. Nil’s Hermitage gradually becomes poor. Number of monks and free labor employees reduced. The monastery, as the town Ostashkov survived at the beginning of XX century brief revival with the opening of railway line Bologoye - Velikie Luki, but it lasted only a few years. The First World War began.
The hermitage became less necessary, and soon after the Great October Socialist Revolution, when there had built her nest counter-revolution, the young Republic of Soviets had to take extreme measures - to eliminate coming in monastery conspiracy and to close it. In its territory was formed municipality, then the child labor colony. During World War II there was a hospital. On a high hill near the pier - a mass grave of soldiers of the Soviet Army, died in hospital from wounds. After the war, a former monastery was again given to the children, and soon it housed Home for the Aged. Now in Nil’s Hermitage is located campsite 'Sunrise', where you can get the gear and go on a fascinating journey to the lake. The vast monastic buildings restored and adapted for the largest recreation on Lake Seliger where could come throughout the year.