To visit Russian spiritual centers of the importance of Trinity Sergius Lavra is not an easy task and far from entertainment. If you really want to feel what they mean for Russians, you should be ready for a job of spirit. But if you manage to open that gate, you will understand more about Russians than from reading tons of texts.
Less than sixty kilometers from Moscow, right in the middle of typical small town all of a sudden you see the complex of the Lavra, which at the first sight looks as a kind of mirage.
Lavra in Ortodox church means a monastery which has a special importance, historical and spiritual. At the moment there are two Lavras in Russia: one in St.Peterburg and another one here, in Sergiev Posad. At the time when the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was destroyed during communist era, Lavra was also a center of the administrative activity of the Russian Orthodox Church
Trinity Seergius Lavra was set up by one of the most venerated Russian Saint Sergius of Rodanezh back in XIV century and during all the centuries has been a spiritual center on Russia.
There is a lot of information about the LAvra, including UNESCO description: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/657/
Thus I will not be telling much about the history and architectural details, I will concentrate on my feelings and impressions and share with you some of my pictures. Sorry, I NEVER make any pictures inside churches and cathedrals.
Passing through the main entrance you feel as if you have passed through a portal and appear to be in a different world.
On the walls of the entrance you can see pictures devoted to St.Sergius, including his blessing of the Great Prince Dmitry Donskoy for his battle with Mongol Army.
As soon as you go through the gates you see the Dormition (Assumption) Cathedral in old Moscow Style which I find extremely impressive. When you approach it you a feeling that not you are looking at itб but it is looking at you, impregnating you with the ancient power.
Close to it is the Church of the Holy Spirit with the burials of venerated holy people, including Archimandrite Kirill, a Sergent of a squadron during a battle in Stalingrad who became a priest after the War and became one of the most respected Orthodox priests. a lot of people coming to the stone crosses and kissing them. At the moment I almost envied them, because I don’t feel I am that close to the God as they are …
And finally you come to the heart of Lavra, Trinity Cathedral, where it all started and where the relics of St.Sergius can be worshiped.
People queue to touch the relics and to touch the saint spirit of St. Sergius.
You can feel a unique atmosphere of unity and enlightenment. You feel as if all you worries are left outside, and you can stand and listen to the bells and have your heart fill with the good.
But if you do not want or can not feel it, in any case you will find a great pleasure just looking at the perfect examples of the Russian architecture. BY the way, if you do not intend to touch the relics, you do not need to stand in the queue and can just go inside.
When evening comes and tourists leave, most of the people visiting the place are true religious and specially devoted to the place.
With all my respect to this great and holly place, I always feel special love for small churches which concentrate their own atmosphere. Thus I strongly recommend that you should also visit a Church with saint spring in a place Radonezh where Sergius was born and which is sited some 10 several kilometers from Sergiev Posad. A perfect and nice place!
And finally some tips. If you decide to stay in Sergiev Posad overnight, I strongly recommend Old Lavra Hotel, which is sited right near the entrance to Lavra and helps to feel the atmosphere of the place