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Putin to have tour of famous monastery in New Jerusalem near Moscow

November 15, 4:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"The President will take a tour of the monastery’s compound that underwent a sizable reconstruction," the Kremlin press service said

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 A view of the Resurrection Cathedral of the New Jerusalem Monastery in the town of Istra

A view of the Resurrection Cathedral of the New Jerusalem Monastery in the town of Istra

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to make a tour of the famous New Jerusalem Resurrection Monastery in the town of Istra to the west of Moscow.

He will be accompanied on the trip there by the co-chairmen of a charity foundation that financed a sweeping restoration of the remarkable monastery, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I.

"The President will take a tour of the monastery’s compound that underwent a sizable reconstruction," the Kremlin press service said. Out of 31 buildings on the compound, restoration works have embraced 29 buildings since 2008.

From Istra, Putin will go to the Kremlin where he will hand high governmental awards to a big group of individuals from the spheres of science, culture, arts, and education, as well as to cosmonauts, factory workers, physicians, and industrial managers.

The New Jerusalem Monastery was founded by a remarkable Russia cleric, Patriarch Nikon, in 1656. He built it as his personal residence in lived there for eight years.

Nikon put much effort into implementing his lifelong idea to create a complete replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and to give the Russians "an opportunity to contemplate the place of Jesus’s passions and resurrection without making very expensive and far from safe voyages to the Middle East," the monastery’s official homepage says.

Construction works continued after Nikon’s death, too. Patriarch Joachim consecrated the Resurrection Cathedral in 1685, and in 1686 the monastery received an interminable grant charter confirming its rights of ownership over farmlands, forests and hunting grounds.

The first major restoration in the Resurrection Cathedral took place from 1749 through to 1759 after a big fire. Its inside was decorated stucco work along the design by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the architect who designed a number of world-famous buildings in St Petersburg.

The New Jerusalem monastery was one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. For instance, a total of 35,000 pilgrims came there in 1913.

The funds raised by the monastery helped it build a hostel for impoverished pilgrims and inns for better-off public.

A local Soviet of workers’ deputies issued a resolution to close the monastery down in 1919 and to nationalize its property. A museum of local lore that is located on the same compound has a commemorative plaque in it archives that reads: "The Great Russian Revolution handed the New Jerusalem Monastery and Cathedral to the people. It has stopped servicing the purposes of religious cult and has turned into a cultural monument of all-Russia significance."

The most precious and valuable objects from the monastery’s vestry were moved to the Armory of the Moscow Kremlin in the 1920’s.

The New Jerusalem monastery compound became a scene of fierce combat actions in December 1941 during the Battle of Moscow, in the course of which the Soviet troops thwarted the Wehrmacht’s assault on Moscow City. Many buildings on the compound were fully destroyed or sustained severe damage and the data on the devastation there turned into a part of evidence at the Nuremburg Trials.

Momentous restoration works on the compound started in the 1950’s when many buildings literally arose anew from the wartime ruins. The Resurrection Cathedral was among them. Replication of its internal ornaments also began at that time.

At the initiative of Patriarch Alexis II, a charity foundation for revival of the New Jerusalem monastery was established in October 2008.

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