In time, the tradition arose for the Moscow royalty to be [[baptize]]d in the cathedral as well as holding thanksgiving services. With donations from the nobles, the monastery became very rich, even to maintaining an army of 20,000. It owned about one hundred estates that were worked by over 106,000 serfs. However, the right to own such property was taken from the monastery in 1764.
The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Dukhovsky) was commissioned by Ivan III in 1476. This [[church]], built by artisans from [[Pskov]], is one of the remaining examples in Russia of a church with a belltower on top of it. The Church of St. Nikon, commissioned by Basil III, was completed in 1548, a year after Nikon was canonized. At the western wall of the Nikon church a chapel called Serapion's Tent was built over the tomb of St. Serapion, the [[archbishop]] of Novgorod.
As the sixteenth century progressed a major cathedral, modeled after the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, was commissioned in 1559 by Ivan IV, commonly labeled “the Terrible." Construction of the Uspensky (Dormition) Cathedral took twenty-six years. It was built to commemorate the conquests of Kazan and Astrakhan. The interior, including the [[iconostasis]], was the work of a number of artists: notably Simon Ushakov whose masterpiece [[icon]] of the [[Last Supper icon|Last Supper]] adorns the
iconostatsis and the violet and blue frescos of the interior walls done by Yaroslav masters in 1684.
The wooden walls around the monastery were replaced during the middle of the sixteenth century by thick stone walls. The walls that stretched for 1.5 kilometers were dotted by twelve towers. The strong walls were instrumental in the defense of the monastery during the siege by Polish forces from 1608 to 1610. Again in 1618, Wladyslaw IV besieged Holy Trinity unsuccessfully. Throughout the remainder of the century construction of more structures took placed. These included a royal palace ordered by Peter I for his father, Tsar Alexei, that now houses the Theological Academy. In 1686, a refectory/church dedicated to St. Sergius was added that for a while was the largest hall in Russia. The Church of John the Baptist's Nativity was added in the last decade of the seventeenth century. This church was commissioned by the Stroganov family and was built over one of the gates to the monastery. Also the century witnessed the building of monks' cells, a hospital in 1635, and a chapel over the St. Sergius Well that was discovered in 1644 and from which the faithful draw holy water.
The monastery was favored by Elizabeth, and she commissioned the Church of the Virgin of Smolensk and an 98 meter tall belltower, built between 1741 and 1769 by the architects Ivan Michurin and Dmitri Ukhtomsky. This was then the tallest structure in Russia.
In 1742, a seminary was founded at the monastery. In 1814, the seminary was replaced by the Moscow Academy that was transferred from Moscow to the monastery. Additionally, the monastery supported a number of [[skete]]s in Sergiyev Posad.
Following the assumption of power by the Bolsheviks in late 1917, the Lavra was closed in 1920 by the new Soviet government, with its buildings being assigned to various governmental institutions. Not withstanding rescue efforts by [[Pavel Florensky]] and his followers, many of the sacramental valuables of the Lavra were lost or transferred to other places during these years. The monastery bells were destroyed in 1930, including the 65 ton Tsar-Bell.
[[fr:Laure de la Sainte Trinité-Saint Serge (Serguiev Possad)]]