Holy Dormition Convent on Zilant Hill
|Holy Dormition Convent on Zilant Hill|
|Jurisdiction||Diocese of Kazan |
Church of Russia
|Superior||Abbess Nina (Nefedova)|
|Approx. size||7 nuns|
|Music used||Russian Chant|
|Official website||Diocesan website|
The Holy Dormition Convent on Zilant Hill was initially founded as a male monastery in a low lying area in Kazan, Russia. Later, the monastery moved from this site to the high ground of Zilant Hill to avoid flooding at the original site. The monastery complex was used for various church related purposes before being almost completely destroyed during the Soviet period. After its return by the government to the Diocese of Kazan in 1998, it has been restored as a monastery for women.
Initially established in 1552 near the common burial grounds of Russian warriors killed during the siege of Kazan, the monastery was moved to the Zilant Hill in 1559 because of flooding every spring. The architectural form of the monastery was largely established during the seventeenth century. Enclosed by a wall surrounding monastery drounds, the Dormition Cathedral was built in 1625, followed in 1720 by the Church of St. Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow and various residences.
From 1640 to 1642, Bishop Joseph (Kurtsevich) of Souzdal lived at the monastery. He had been accused of heresy in the Ukraine and was exiled to Kazan, where he reposed. Ten years after his death his views were accepted by the Church. He was buried at the Dormition Cathedral.
The Kazan Theological Seminary called the monastery its home from 1732 to 1740. After 1740, the monastery housed a school for new converts, before the school and the seminary were moved other buildings. During the years from 1829 to 1850, the father superior for the monastery was Archimandrite Gavriil (in the world Vasily Nikolyevich Voskresensky), who was renowned as the first Russian philosopher, having written a multi-volume history of philosophy. As the monastery entered the twentieth century, the monastery flourished, particularly under Archimandrite Sergei (Zaitsev) after his arrival in 1909, with membership increasing to 34.
With its location at a strategic height over the city, the monastery became militarily important during the civil war of 1918. Against the will of the brotherhood in August 1918, Czech members of the Russian White Army occupied the monastery until they left Kazan on September 10, 1918. With departure of the Czechs the Bolshevik Red Army took over the city. Accusing the monastics of firing at the Red Army soldiers, the Bolsheviks summarily shot ten monks including Archimandrite Sergei. For some time afterward, the monastery was unoccupied, but soon a number of nuns moved in. This community remained until the early 1920s when it was liquidated by the Bolshevik authorities. Thereafter, the monastery was largely destroyed, including its cemetery where many eminent people had been buried.
The monastery property was returned to the Diocese of Kazan in 1998. Upon its return a community of nuns was established on the property who began restoration of what remained of the old monastery buildings. Through support provided through the director-general of the commercial bank “Zarechye”, Natalia Vladimirovna Devyatykh, many of the buildings were soon restored, including Dormition Cathedral, the residence of the mother-superior, the nuns’ residence, and the house-church of Ss Adrian and Natalia. This work was followed by restoration of the bell-tower and building two churches: Holy Trinity Cathedral and the baptismal Church of St. Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles.