Insights into St Petersburg

“Alexander Nevsky Monastery: St Petersburg’s spiritual centre”

When founding St Petersburg in 1703, Peter the Great perceived the new capital of Russia as “a door to Europe”. At the same time, Russia was to remain the major Orthodox country in the world. The St Alexander Nevsky monastery, founded by Peter the Great at the site where the Holy Prince Alexander defeated the knights of the Teutonic Order in the 13th century, linked the Duchy of Moscow with the Russian Empire.

Having the status of a “lavra”, one of three most important monasteries in Russia, the Alexander Nevsky monastery offers a glimpse into the dramatic relationship between the Church and the State in imperial Russia. Walking along its shaded alley ways we will see the tombs of different epochs, from the old church crypts to the graves of Red Army soldiers, and visit the classical St Trinity Cathedral where the remains of Prince Alexander, a patron saint of the city, are kept.

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What is lavra?

«The icons seek to portray Alexander Nevsky in his royal robes, meaning that this saint was glorified not as a monk but rather as an Orthodox warrior. It is worth mentioning that the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, defender of Russian lands, is the only Imperial order that continued to exist in the Soviet Union and then in Russia.»

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