Donskoy Monastery

Approaching Donskoy from the road.

Donskoy Monastery, founded in 1591 on the Russian army line of defense against the invading Mongol Tatars. It is said that Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy, son of Ivan the Fair, had taken the Our Lady of the Don icon with him to the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. Subsequently, the Tatars left without a fight and were defeated during their retreat. Dmitry became known as “Donksoy,” meaning “of the Don River.”

The Old Cathedral features a copy of this Donskaya Virgin icon on its outside, but the original 14th-century icon now resides in the the Tetrakov Gallery in Moscow. The monastery has seven churches and 12 towers.

Even the fresco-lined tunnel leading to the monastery is stunning.

Mosaic inside the tunnel.

Fresco telling the story of St. Tikhon.

Fresco of soldiers venerating the icon of the Donskaya Virgin icon, which was taken into battle against the continuously invading Mongols at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 to strengthen, bless, and protect Russian soldiers, who were resisting 100 years of oppression, coercive tribute, and Golden-Horde invasion.

The outside of Old Cathedral shows a copy of the Donskaya Virgin icon.

The monastery’s bell towers and onion domes are also topped with half-moon crosses, which many say is meant to symbolize Christianity’s ultimate victory over Islam.

Monastery ground abound with beauty.

Fascinating architecture as far as the eye can see.

A shadowy Gabriel in the cemetery behind the main cathedral.

Glimmers of light enable some nice shots.

My friend says this looks like the swirled foam on top of a cappuccino.


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s grave.

Another snuck photo in a very dark church since it was only illuminated by candlelight.

The body of Patriarch Tikhon, saint and New Martyr. He established the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America, encouraged the translation of the liturgy into English, resisted the Bolsheviks, was imprisoned in Donskoy after the Revolution, and was never flinching in his faith. He said, “Devote all your energy to preaching the word of God and the truth of Christ, especially today, when unbelief and atheism are audaciously attacking the Church of Christ. May the God of peace and love be with all of you!”

We got to venerate another icon of St. Nicholas at this spot. When we entered, we were met with visitors singing hymns and got anointed with oil by a Donskoy priest.

Leaving Donskoy.

Leave a Reply