The Spaso-Prilutsky monastery – one of the largest monasteries of the North, is a magnificent architectural ensemble of Ancient Russia. It is to the northeast of Vologda, on the way to the White Lake, on the left bank of the Vologda River. The monastery received its name due to the main Church of our Savior and a river bend on which it is located.
The Spaso-Prilutsky monastery was founded at the end of XIV century (between 1377 and 1392) by Saint Dmitry Prilutsky, the native of the city of Pereyaslavl Zalessky, who was a known figure of the Russian church of the second half of XIV century, a pupil and associate of Saint Sergius Radonezhsky.
All the following Moscow Princes and then tsars understood the real significance of the monastery as an advanced post of the Moscow princedom in struggle, first of all against Novgorod, for conquering the North, that’s why they sponsored it. The Spaso-Prilutsky monastery was an important strategic and trading center located on the way leading from Vologda to Belozersk, VelikyUstyug, Perm and other cities.
In XV – XVI centuries the Spaso-Prilutsky monastery was one of the largest and most known monasteries in the North. Universal reverence of its glorified relics, in particular, the icon «Life of Saint Dmitry Prilutsky» painted by the outstanding Russian artist of XV-XVI centuries Dionysius (it was painted between 1485 and 1503) testifies to it. It is known, that Ivan III had taken the image of Saint Dmitry Prilutsky, which was considered wonder-working, before his campaign to Kazan. After the victory over the Kazan he decorated the icon with gold and silver and then returned it to the monastery on June, 3, 1503.
Originally all the monastic constructions were wooden, however, the Spaso-Prilutsky monastery was the first among others decorated with stone structures. The building of the stone temple in the name of Saviour of Fair Virgins and Life-giving Cross with the same bell tower in the first half of XVI century gave a stimulus to a new architectural ensemble construction. On the edge of XVI – XVII centuries other stone constructions were also created at the monastery.
In the beginning of XVII century, during the epoch of «troubled time», the monastery underwent many disasters, repeatedly being exposed to attacks and robberies of the invaders and other «thieves». But in the second half of XVII century intensive stone construction started again. Strong stone walls with the towers, which reliably secured the monastery from enemy attacks were erected; the new high bell tower, and also various inhabited and economic constructions were also built.
The Spaso-Prilutsky monastery is a most interesting architectural ensemble in which separate monuments, having both independent historic and artistic value, at the same time form a unique combination which stresses the unity of an aesthetic ideal of several generations of architects.