Russia Religion Monasticism Monastery Monastery of the Resurrection (New Jerusalem)

Monastery of the Resurrection (New Jerusalem)

The unique appearance and unusual fate of the Monastery of the Resurrection make it one of the most fascinating phenomena in the history of Old Russian culture. The cloister arose at the command of the patriarch, yet immediately became the personal matter of the sovereign. A decade of dazzling creative achievements gave way to years of disfavour and neglect, followed by even darker days in the twentieth century.

The idea for a monastery called New Jerusalem belonged to Patriarch Nikon – one of the most remarkable figures of the seventeenth century. Nikita Minin was born in the small village of Valmanovo in Nizhny Novgorod Province in 1605. After teaching himself to read and write, he took the name of Nikon and became a hermit on Anzer Island in the White Sea. In 1643, he was appointed the abbot of a monastery on Lake Kozh in the diocese of Novgorod.

Nikon’s great knowledge, energy and abilities soon caught the attention of the pious Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich, who fell completely under his influence. He was appointed metropolitan of Novgorod in 1649 and patriarch of all Russia in 1652.

The middle of the seventeenth century was a period of the active entrenchment of the autocracy in Russia, following the turmoil of the Time of Troubles. Although now gathered together in a single whole, the enormous territories had still not undergone centralisation. This concerned not only administrative and economic matters, but also the life of the Russian Orthodox Church. Important questions had still to be resolved regarding the unification of the rituals and the canonisation of the scriptures.

In the 1640s, a number of church dignitaries had attempted to revise the prayerbooks and rituals. This group included the tsar’s personal confessor Stephen Vonifatiev, the protopope Avvakum and Nikon himself. But while Avvakum was a timid conservative who supported the old ways, Nikon was much bolder and more liberal. He campaigned for an enlightened revival of traditions and an expansion of the cultural and political horizon.

During this period, the idea of the unification of the church rituals was closely associated with the special role of Russia among the Orthodox nations. Moscow was the “Third Rome” and the “New Jerusalem,” the guardian of the true traditions and faith after such other cities as Jerusalem, Constantinople and Rome had fallen to infidels. This theory acquired ? special significance in the mid-seventeenth century, intensifying the ecumenical outlook of the Tsardom of Muscovy. But no one spotted the inherent danger in this new relationship between the royal (earthly) and church (celestial) authorities. This was the possibility of a conflict of interests – something that was not long in coming.

After being appointed patriarch in 1652, Nikon launched a series of reforms to establish a single system of rituals and to correct perceived mistakes in the prayerbooks. He consulted with learned Greek prelates, who convinced him that the Russian books were heterodox, while the icons had diverged from the original models. Besides revising the prayerbooks and ceremonies in line with what he believed to be the true Orthodox tradition, Nikon also pursued an ambitious programme of new holy objects, including the construction of three patriarchal monasteries.

The Monastery of the Cross in the White Sea (1656) imitated the cloister of the same name outside Jerusalem, while the Iviron Monastery on Lake Valdai (1653) was inspired by the celebrated abbey on Mount Athos, underlining the role of Russia in the hearts of many Orthodox Christians. But the centre of the whole project was to be the Monastery of the Resurrection, which was intended to directly replicate the holy city of Jerusalem on Russian soil.

The idea of building a new monastery on the outskirts of Moscow had slowly taken shape in Nikon’s mind. Travelling from Moscow to Valdai in 1655, he had stopped to rest in the village of Voskresenskoe thirty miles from the capital. Nikon was struck by the setting, which he thought ideal for a cloister. The following year, he bought the land and adjoining villages from a boyar called Roman Bobarykin.

The site selected for Nikon’s monastery stood on a high hill near the River Istra. All the surrounding fields, mounds and rivers were renamed after places in the Holy Land. The hill was called Zion, while the River Istra was renamed the Jordan. The elevation on the eastern approach from Moscow was called the Mount of Olives, where a convent called Bethany was founded. The garden to the north-west was named Gethsemane, while the brook alongside Nikon’s skete was Cedron. The mountains to the north were called Tabor and Hermon. The village of Mikulino was renamed Preobrazhenskoe (Russia for “Transfiguration”), while the nearby Zinoviev Hermitage became Capernaum.

The territory of the main hill was levelled out and the first building – the wooden Church of the Resurrection – was officially opened in autumn 1657. The tsar and his court attended the consecration of the church.

In the following years, other wooden structures were built – the chambers of Nikon, utility and administrative blocks, the archimandrite’s chambers and dorters. The monastery was surrounded by a ditch and wooden walls with eight towers. But the most important act was the construction of a stone cathedral.

The model for this building was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Three circumstances appear to have contributed to local knowledge of the church in the mid-seventeenth century, inspiring the construction of an exact physical likeness on Russian soil.

In 1649, Patriarch Paisius of Jerusalem visited Russia, bringing a cypress model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and a plan of Jerusalem, showing all the holy sites. The model clearly and authentically reproduced the layout of the basilica. Arsenius Sukhanov, an elder of the St Sergius Monastery of the Trinity, visited Jerusalem twice between 1653 and 1655 and wrote a detailed description of the church. Finally, Nikon’s famous library probably contained a famous book on the sacred buildings of the Holy Land. Published by Bernadetto Amico in Rome in 1609, this work included exact blueprints of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Nikon spared no expense when building the cathedral. He was assisted by an influx of outstanding masters from White Russia and the Ukraine, who introduced new ways of decorating facades and interiors with carved gilt iconostases and multi-coloured tiles. They had already worked for Nikon alongside leading Russian masters at the Iviron Monastery and the Monastery of the Cross. In 1658, many of them began working at New Jerusalem.

The tsar transformed the Monastery of the Resurrection into a major landowner, supplying it with all the necessary funds. Nikon was awarded control over all three of his monasteries, which were financed by income from fishing, saltworks and various urban churches. In addition, the cloisters owned a total of six thousand homesteads.

Gradually, however, Nikon’s belief in the primacy of the clergy in the state and the patriarch over the tsar led to a distinct cooling of relations with Alexis Mikhailovich. From 1658, he was more or less confined to New Jerusalem, where he devoted all his time and energy to building a magnificent architectural ensemble.

Construction of the cathedral was headed by a stonemason called Averky Mokeyev, while the lavish interior decor was designed by Pyotr Zaborsky. In recognition of his services, Zaborsky was buried in the cathedral in 1665. The tiled decor was created by White Russian masters – Stepan Ivanov (Polubes), Ignatius Maximov and the elder Hippolytus. Sergei Turchaninov from Moscow cast all the bells, while the famous wood carver Klim Mikhailov also worked there.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection exactly repeats the general structure of the Jerusalem prototype and is very similar in size. Three holy sites provided the inspiration for the architectural composition – the burial site of Christ (Tomb of the Lord), Golgotha and the cave (well) where St Helena found the True Cross. The corresponding structures in the Cathedral of the Resurrection were the enormous rotunda with a tented roof on the western side, which included the Chapel (Cubiculum) of the Holy Sepulchre; the central cruciform Church of the Resurrection; the Church of St Helena (set in the ground) with the cave where the cross was found.

Construction proceeded at a rapid pace. By 1666, the rotunda and the cruciform church had been built as far as the vaults, to a height of approximately thirty metres. That year, the Church Assembly passed Nikon’s programme of reforms, despite many local protests, including a great uprising at the Solovetsky Monastery.

Although the council confirmed Nikon’s reforms and anathematised all those who refused to accept them, including Avvakum and the Old Believers, the patriarch’s behaviour also drew criticism. Nikon was accused of reviling the tsar and defrocked on 12 December 1666. That same day, he was put on a sledge and exiled as a simple monk to the St Therapontus Monastery.

Nikon’s downfall brought a sudden change to the fortunes of the Monastery of the Resurrection. From a project of national importance, New Jerusalem now became just another cloister under construction. The enormous possessions of Nikon’s three monasteries were split up. New Jerusalem soon ran short of construction funds and work ground to a halt.

Nikon remained imprisoned at the St Therapontus Monastery until 1676, when he was moved to the St Cyril of Belozersk Monastery. He remained there even after Alexis Mikhailovich died and was succeeded by his son, Feodor III.

In 1678, Feodor III began supporting the Monastery of the Resurrection, making rich endowments and awarding it ownership of twenty other cloisters and 1,630 peasant homesteads. On 29 November 1679, the tsar and his sisters attended a litany in Golgotha. The following day, they were present at a liturgy in the wooden Church of the Resurrection.

In 1681, Nikon was allowed to leave his place of exile and return to Moscow. But he never reached the capital, dying on the ship transporting him across the River Volga to Yaroslavl on 17 August 1681.

Nikon’s body was brought to New Jerusalem and solemnly buried in the unfinished stone cathedral on 26 August 1681. The tsar attended the funeral and ordered Nikon to be buried with full honours as a former patriarch. Patriarch Joachim refused to perform the funeral ceremony, so the service was conducted by Metropolitan Cornelius of Novgorod.

In 1679, Feodor III transferred New Jerusalem to the government department responsible for the royal palaces. One of Nikon’s former assistants, a monk called Sergius, was appointed the head of construction work, which was carried out by Ivan Korela. In 1685, the Cathedral of the Resurrection was finally completed and consecrated in the presence of the tsar and his court.

The problems of the Cathedral of the Resurrection continued in the following century. The foundations began to sink in various places, causing the stone tented roof to collapse in 1723. Three years later, a major fire caused further damage. The walls of the rotunda were eventually repaired by architects Christopher Kondrat and Ivan Michurin in 1736.

Continued concern over the foundations led the abbot, archimandrite Ambrose, to suggest rebuilding the tented roof from wood, rather than stone. A design was made by the famous Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who entrusted the construction to his compatriot, an engineer called V. Bernadacci. The work only ended in 1759, under the guidance of another architect, Karl Blank. The new tented roof had windows arranged in three tiers and was considered a masterpiece of Russian eighteenth-century architecture.

The rotunda is the physical and spiritual centre of both the cathedral and the whole monastery. The tented roof rises up to a height of over fifty metres, dominating the entire landscape, while the Baroque cupola creates a striking silhouette. The central part of the complex is formed from the arms of the cross of the Church of the Resurrection, which has a dome above the junction of the four arms.

Both the rotunda and the church are surrounded by two-storey galleries, forming a semi-circular divergence behind the altar on the east. A staircase leads from there to the four-columned semi-underground Church of St Constantine and St Helena, which has a low dome.

The entire composition is invested with a gradually expanding movement, running from the low and wide eastern section to the vertical power of the rotunda and the tented roof on the western side. Until 1941, the vertical accent of the ensemble was intensified by a high seven-tiered belltower, standing at the south-western corner of the Church of the Cross. This edifice largely repeated the original model in Jerusalem, although the upper tiers copied the Ivan the Great Belltower in the Moscow Kremlin.

In the seventeenth century, all the roofs of the Cathedral of the Resurrection were flat and framed by tiled balustrades. The rich decoration of the facades conveyed an important symbolical and aesthetic meaning. The resurrection of Christ paved the way for the forthcoming resurrection of the dead, when the righteous would be taken up into heaven. The Cathedral of the Resurrection was designed to be a prototype of not only the city of Jerusalem on earth, but also the New Jerusalem – the celestial city described in the Book of Revelation. Hundreds of cherubs were depicted on the multi-coloured tiles in the friezes of the first and second tiers. Decorating the ends of the numerous windows and the dome-drums of the cupolas, they symbolise the heavenly host.

A wide frieze with a form of ornamentation known as a “peacock eye” still survives on the apse. This repetitive motif is created from eighteen large tiles and represents a stylised pomegranate flower on a peacock feather. The peacock symbolised the bird of paradise, while the pomegranate stood for Christ’s blood sacrifice. First seen in the Cathedral of the Resurrection, similar friezes later adorned many important buildings in the late seventeenth century. Pomegranate flowers are also the main decorative element of the ceramic portals inside the cathedral.

The Church of St Constantine and St Helena was buried in the ground, in imitation of the prototype in Palestine, which was dug out of a cliff. The Russian church had a flat roof and a large cupola decorated with a multi-coloured ceramic blind arcade. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the old decor was dismantled and replaced by an upper girdle on the dome-drum, imitating the girdle of the Church of the Cross. Lantern endings rose up above the eastern corners of the church, adjoined on the north and south by octagonal chapels (destroyed in the eighteenth century). In the middle of the eighteenth century, a ditch was dug around the church, in order to expel groundwater. In the early nineteenth century, the ditch was paved with white stone.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection originally had six small cupolas. Three of them stood above the side-chapels of the divergence behind the altar. One cupola marked the north-eastern side-chapel of the Dormition in the Church of the Cross, while the other two stood above the flat roofs of the galleries. The latter were intended to be located in the dome-drums of their side-chapels, which were accessed from the roof via ceramic portals.

The partially surviving balustrades of the second tier of the galleries suggest what the cathedral must have looked like when all the flat roofs had exterior balustrades. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the cupola above the side-chapel of the Dormition was replaced by a rectangular superstructure. This gave the whole eastern section a symmetrical form, underpinned by the Baroque pediments, oval windows and new sloping roofs.

The spatial composition of the interiors is also orientated on the Jerusalem prototype. Rastrelli’s tented roof was the perfect accompaniment to this great seventeenth-century construction, covering an area twenty-two metres in diameter and eighteen metres in height. Sixty large windows, arranged in three tiers, illuminated the free space surrounded by two tiers of arched galleries. In the centre stood a cubiculum richly decorated with tiles – the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre. At the entrance to the chapel, on the western side, lay a stone from the Tomb of Jesus.

The high arch in the eastern wall joined the rotunda to the Church of the Cross, while the rotunda galleries continued into its side sections. The entrance to the Church of the Cross from the south was visually very similar to the Chapel of the Invention of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, repeating the forms of its double entrance, with the Red (Beautiful) Portals on the left and the Judgement Portals on the right.

To the right of the entrance is a two-storey, slightly protruding extension. Golgotha is located on the second floor, imitating the elevated location of Calvary on a hill in Jerusalem. In Palestine, the main floor beneath Golgotha contains the Place of the Skull – the burial place of the skull of Adam and the tomb of Melchizedek, the first high priest of Jerusalem. Below the Golgotha in the New Jerusalem Monastery are the Chapel of Adam (dungeon of St John the Baptist), the side-chapel of St John the Baptist and the tomb of Patriarch Nikon. There is also a surviving crucifix carved from cypress in the middle of the seventeenth century.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection had a total of twenty-nine side-chapels, fourteen of which were created in the seventeenth century. Ten of them had tiled iconostases, seven of which have survived. The most spectacular are the eight-metre three-span iconostases in the side-chapels behind the altar dedicated to the Passions of Christ – the chapels of Longinus the Centurion, the Division of the Robes and the Crown of Thorns. There is a five-span iconostasis in the north-eastern side-chapel of the Dormition (corresponding to the Prison of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem).

The main decorative elements of the iconostases are the order compositions along the tiers, formed by the pilasters and the open arches between them. Flowers and fruits are depicted on shining emerald backgrounds in Baroque cartouches, with cherubs above the arches and in the capitals. The surfaces of the reliefs are covered in sparkling enamel – dark-blue, white, yellow and brown. The frieze inscriptions formed from tiles allude to their dedications or ktetors. Similar tiled friezes were present on the walls of the Church of the Cross, decorating the most important sections, both inside and outside. The wall of the divergence behind the altar ends in a wide girdle of tiles.

The various compartments of the cathedral are linked together by elegant portals. Their cubic supports are embellished with large peacock-eye motifs. The tiles are not just part of the decor, but also a structural form. The portal leading from the south to Golgotha is particularly handsome. The place of Golgotha is marked on the facade of the Church of the Cross by a double window, which shares the same frame of tiles – a masterpiece of decorative art.

In the middle of the eighteenth century, the interiors of the rotunda and the Church of the Cross were decorated with Baroque moulding. Cartouches, brackets and endings interspersed with hundreds of cherubs now adorned the surfaces of the walls and vaults. The forms of classical orders were employed in the central pylons of the Church of the Cross and the other pillars in the cathedral.

The snow-white Baroque moulding combined with the original ceramic patterns to form unique compositions. In the frame of the entrance to the side-chapel of the Dormition, the seventeenth-century portal became the central element in the composition of cartouches covering the entire wall. This fusion of the faceted forms of Russian seventeenth-century Baroque and the plastic organicness and volumetric corporeality of European Baroque proved to be not only possible, but also highly innovative.

The coloured surfaces of the tiles were matched by the hundreds of small paintings in the tented roof and on the vaults and walls. The compositions are framed by moulded cartouches of a very high artistic standard. The paintings in the divergence beyond the altar are particularly striking.

In 1801, Tsar Paul I commissioned architect Matvei Kazakov to design the side-chapel of St Mary Magdalene on the north-eastern side of the rotunda. The walls were faced with light artificial marble. In the centre was an altar in the form of a half-rotunda with elegant Corinthian columns made from white marble and gilded bronze decorations.

The end of the construction of the Cathedral of the Resurrection in 1685 allowed the monastery to concentrate on building the rest of the ensemble, which was completed over the next ten to fifteen years. The residential and utility constructions were laid out in a line along the western, northern and eastern walls. The southern side was left free so as not to spoil the view onto the cathedral. A refectory was built in the middle of the western section. Cells for the monastery children and hospital wards were constructed to the south of the refectory, while the abbot’s chambers were built to the north.

The first floors of all these new constructions were formed from the utility buildings dating from the time of Patriarch Nikon (before 1666). Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich’s younger sister Tatyana commissioned a second floor over the middle constructions, consisting of three large refectory chambers – one for monks, one for pilgrims and one for laymen.

An open arcade with balustrades was attached to the first floor, concealing the unevenly arranged windows of the original constructions. The regularly arranged windows of the second floor created a festive rhythm. Their frames took the form of columned porticos bearing detached pediments. Similar frames adorned and united the facades of the other new buildings.

The refectory halls stand in a single line running from north to south. The Church of the Nativity of Christ adjoined the middle hall, creating a T-shaped structure. Built between 1685 and 1692, it formed the centre of a small ensemble. Standing on a high ground floor, its main premises were joined to the refectory halls. The church led to the gallery on the arcades uniting all the other blocks. In the 1760s, this gallery was replaced by a narrow arcade with Baroque decor.

The two tiers of windows and the portals on the facades of the Church of the Nativity of Christ form symmetrical compositions. The columned porticos with triangular pediments create a sense of spatial activeness, supplemented by the dynamic nature of the decorative octagons at the top of the church.

Around the same time, to the north of the cathedral, a single-storey palace was built for the tsar’s sister Tatyana. The facades were similar to those of the refectory chambers. In the middle of the eighteenth century, a line of cells were built to the west and east of the palace (all disfigured by alterations in the nineteenth century). The facades of the palace were restored in the 1960s.

The most important act of construction between 1690 and 1697 was the building of the monastery walls and towers. This project was headed by the architect Jacob Bukhvostov. The walls were one kilometre in length and up to three metres thick, with eight towers and Holy Gates on the eastern side facing Moscow. In keeping with the general concept of the entire ensemble, the chapel above the entranceway was called the Church of the Entry into Jerusalem.

Deep arched niches run along the entire perimeter of the inner walls with embrasures for firing from heavy weapons. Above the embrasures is a military gallery enclosed by rail posts, similar to the original promenade galleries on the roofs of the cathedral and around the refectory. A beautiful view opens up from the gallery onto the whole ensemble, particularly the cathedral.

On the outside, along the top of the walls, runs a girdle of machicolations and upper arrowslits, transformed into rhythmic decorative ribbons. The detached, non-coincidental rhythm of the frequent apertures creates a sense of lightness and mobility. The turrets are crowned by small low octagons, which often have octagon windows, or round tiers dotted with the blind cylinders of small spiral staircases. The towers end in stone tented roofs (or cones) with look-out points.

The silhouettes of the towers clearly copy the outlines and rhythms of the rotunda in the Cathedral of the Resurrection. The turrets and walls are like a handsome and well-defended city, with the shining cathedral in the centre as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and a portent of the promised Tabernacle of God. An additional association with Jerusalem was the names given to some of the towers in the eighteenth century – Gethsemane, Zion and the House of David.

The solemn entrance into the monastery was enhanced by the church above the Holy Gates. An octagonal superstructure on top of a quadrilateral structure, the Church of the Entry into Jerusalem was the first example of a multi-tiered gateway chapel in Russian architectur?.

The expansive lower tier with three vaulted entranceways acts as the support for a broad promenade gallery. In the centre of the gallery stands the quadrilateral structure of the church, surrounded on all four sides by lower semicircles. The octagonal superstructure and two smaller blind octagons rise lightly upwards. The foundation of the superstructure has wide arches, increasing the impression of ascension and lightness inside the church. The top octagonal superstructures are like the tiers of the refectory church. This common association between the verticals in the west and the east lends a sense of completeness to the main southern views, establishing the main axis of the entire ensemble.

While the walls were being built, various single-storey utility and auxiliary premises appeared nearby – chambers for the deputy and the guards at the Holy Gates, a kvass brewery at the western wall, a malt house and a smithy at the northern wall. Later, in the nineteenth century, a two-storey hotel and a hospice were constructed outside the walls, on the western approaches to the monastery.

The Skete of Patriarch Nikon also lies outside the walls – a monument to the earliest period in the life of the cloister. The hermitage stands three hundred yards to the north-west of the monastery, on a small island surrounded by artificial anabranches of the River Istra. An inventory of 1679 describes the skete: “Behind the monastery is a church on an islet, which is known as the hermitage in which the former patriarch Nikon prayed during Lent.”

Conceived as the patriarch’s place of personal prayer, the skete originally consisted of a small two-storey building with a porch to the west and a tiny chapel to the east. The smooth walls had irregularly arranged windows, with modest frames of engaged columns and triangular pediments around the upper ones.

Two new floors were added in the early 1660s. The third storey contained the patriarch’s cell, an audience chamber and the Church of the Epiphany with a refectory. The facades were decorated with tiled girdles and tiled window frames.

The skete began to resemble a pyrgos (Greek: tower) on Mount Athos, where such tiered constructions acted as a place of monastic solitude. The similarity is even more pronounced at the top of the building. The flat roof accommodates the octagonal Church of St Peter and St Paul (which looks like a cupola), a miniature belfry and a tiny cell with a stone seat. The interiors had ceramic floors and tiled stoves.

The history and the original appearance of the skete of Patriarch Nikon have been slowly restored. Such work has been going on for several decades now, following another tragic chapter in the life of the monastery.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, New Jerusalem enjoyed a more or less happy fate. Although the monastery lost its vast holdings of land and fourteen thousand serfs as a result of the act of secularisation in 1764, it still remained one of the country’s main places of pilgrimage. The imperial family made constant endowments, while the monastery itself was an important cultural centre.

The New Jerusalem library attracted the interest of scholars and many books were acquired by the Holy Synod Library in the eighteenth century. In 1875, archimandrite Amphilochius published a description of almost four hundred manuscripts and books dating from the eleventh to the seventeenth centuries. In 1907, most of the remaining collection was transferred to the Holy Synod Library. Interest in the history of the cloister led to the foundation of a museum under archimandrite Leonid in the 1870s.

Although the Monastery of the Resurrection was closed down in 1919, this did not lead to the destruction of its cultural valuables. In 1920, a museum of history and art was opened at the cloister, becoming a state institution in 1922 and a regional museum of local studies in 1935.

The real catastrophe came later, during the Second World War. In 1941, the invading German army advanced as far as the River Istra and occupied the monastery. When forced to retreat, the SS Das Reich Panzer Division blew up the rotunda, the Church of the Cross, the belltower of the Cathedral of the Resurrection, the towers, the refectory and the gateway Church of the Entry into Jerusalem. All the museum exhibits were destroyed. The only objects to survive were part of the contents of the sacristy and works of art that had been evacuated back in 1941.

An ambitious programme of restoration work has restored much of the ensemble to its former glory. The only structure that has not been rebuilt is one of the most important verticals – the belltower of the Cathedral of the Resurrection. Over the years, a new museum collection has been slowly put together. In the 1970s, an open-air museum of architecture and ethnography was created to the west of the monastery.

The Monastery of the Resurrection has recently reopened as a functioning cloister holding regular church services. Art, nature and spirituality are gradually turning the clock back three and a half centuries, when New Jerusalem was a unique fusion of national and international culture.

The restoration of the Cathedral of the Resurrection started in 1982. Between 1983 and 1993, a new tented roof was created, while the arduous task of decorating the interior also began. The monks returned to the cloister in 1994. The following year, the Cathedral of the Resurrection, the Church of the Nativity of Christ, the Skete of Patriarch Nikon and the eastern dorter were returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.

In 2007, Russian president Vladimir Putin attended Christmas Mass at New Jerusalem and showed a keen interest in the course of restoration work on the cathedral. On 23 July 2008, the monastery was visited by Patriarch Alexius II and the new president Dmitry Medvedev. Following their visit, a charity foundation for the restoration of the Monastery of the Resurrection was opened. The foundation has launched a programme for the recreation, upkeep and development of the historical ensemble right up until 2016.

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