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Spaso-Kamenny monastery

Spaso-Kamenny monastery. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina Spaso-Kamenny monastery. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina Spaso-Kamenny monastery. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina Alexander Nikolayevich Pligin. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina
  • Spaso-Kamenny monastery. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina
  • Spaso-Kamenny monastery. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina
  • Spaso-Kamenny monastery. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina
  • Alexander Nikolayevich Pligin. Photos provided by N. A. Pligina

Spaso-Kamenny is the first stone monastery in the Russian North. It is located in the center of Lake Kubenskoye on a small island 120 by 70 meters in size. To protect the coast of the island fr om gradual destruction, monks strengthened it with wild stone, wooden frame and piles. The island consists of rubbly stone that’s why since olden days it is referred to as «stone» and the monastery is named Spaso-Kamenny or Saviour on Stone in honour of the main temple of Transfiguration of Our Savior.

There is a legend about the foundation of the monastery on the Stone Island of Lake Kubenskoye. In 1260 Gleb Vasilkovich, Prince of Belozersk, going from the White Lake to Ustyug by water, was caught by a severe storm on Lake Kubenskoye and at the minute of danger he gave a vow to lay a church and a monastery on the place, wh ere he would reach the coast. His vessel was washed ashore at the Stone Island. There were twenty three hermits living on the island who being poor had no church. The Prince ordered to build a church in the name of Transfiguration of Our Saviour and wooden cells. Ever since the monastery Spaso-Kamenny has been patroned by the princes of Belozersk, it has thrived and has become populous and well-equipped.

In Middle Ages the monastery became the ecclesiastical and economic center of the region.

All the history of the island and of the monastery which was built in XIII century is strongly associated with struggle against nature. To reach the island is not easy at any time of year. In the summer and autumn of the waves are so strong, that they can carry away even a light motor boat. There is ice on the lake in the winter, but it is not the most reliable way to reach the island either. Nevertheless the monks were not only successfully struggling with the Nature, but they also helped laymen. In 1876 on the island with the sanction of the eparchial heads the first and unique rescue station in the Vologda province was opened by the Imperial Russian society of rescue on waters. Two lighthouses were built on the island. They struck the bell of the monastic belltower during bad weather.

The Soviet authorities closed the monastery in 1925. In 1937 for the brick which was necessary for the construction, the Our Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral was blown up, but it was impossible to use the brick received. During the war on the island there was organized a station on reception and processing of fish. Then the island became a haven of local fishermen and hunters. From all the monastic constructions of the island only the unique Dormition church – belltower of XVI century came down to us.

In 1991 the restoration work in the monastery began. Financing was carried out within the framework of the Russian program «Heritage». The management of industrial work was undertaken by Vologda resident Alexander Nikolayevich Pligin, an engineer by education. The destroyed monastery was reviving and was being restored, in many respects due to A.N.Pligin, his family and all their volunteer assistants. Several expeditions of the restorers who examined the ruins of the Transfiguration Cathedral and gave the recommendation on carrying out of restoration works have repeatedly visited the island.

Since 1995 the island is frequently visited by the acting bishop – bishop of Vologda and Veliky Ustyug Maximilian. The spiritual revival of the monastery has begun. In 1999 on the southern side of the island near The Church of Dormition there was erected a chapel «about a single day» and it was consecrated in the name of all Vologda saints. In 2004 A.N. Pligin died. His widow Nadezhda Aleksandrovna Pligina took care of the monastery.

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