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Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a unique monastery complex and the spiritual center of Russian Orthodox Christianity.

Trinity Lavra of St. SergiusThe Holy Trinity Monastery was founded in 1345 by St. Sergius of Radonezh, monk and hermit from Rostov whose ascetic existence attracted numerous followers.
In 1337, after the death of his parents, he decided to leave for the forest together with his elder brother Stephen. The brothers founded their hermitage in a clearing surrounded by thick forest. They built a small wooden church, which they dedicated to the Life-giving Trinity. A flood of believers started to come and eventually a community was set up nearby. That was the beginning of the Trinity Monastery. Sergius was canonized after his death, and his remains lie in the monastery’s Cathedral of the Trinity.
Due to its location the monastery became a part of the defensive system around Moscow.

Trinity Lavra of SergiusIn 1744 Empress Elisaveta Petrovna awarded to the Monastery the highest title of Lavra, increasing its paramount in Russian Church and State.
In 1746, a terrible fire broke out and most of the wooden structures were destroyed. As a result of large scale reconstruction works, the appearance of many of the buildings was changed.


While the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a popular tourist attraction, it is nonetheless still a sacred place that should be treated with respect. Everyone visiting orthodox churches or monasteries should wear proper attire.
For men: wear long pants. No shorts and hats.
For women: wear shirts and blouses with sleeves. Hair must be covered with a scarf. No short skirts.

Trinity Lavra of SergiusOpening hours:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is open daily from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm
During big religious holidays and memorial days of St. Sergius (5-18 of July, 25 of Sep – 8 of Oct) the monastery is open around the clock.
Churches are open only during services.

Entrance fee:
Entrance to the monastery is free.
You need to purchase permission to take photos inside the churches of the monastery that costs about 100 rub.

To Get to Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius:
Krasnoy armii av.

GPS coordinates:
Latitude: 56°18′37″ N (56.310278);
Longitude: 38°07′46″ E (38.129444)

1. Sergiev Posad [Rus: Сергиев Посад] can be reached from Moscow by bus, commuter train, or car.

By bus

In Moscow tickets can be purchased onboard from the conductor short before departure.
Bus 388 leaves for Sergiev Posad from a bus stop near VDNKH metro station. To get to the bus stop: exit from the first carriage of the train heading from the city centre. Turn right in the underpass. On exiting the underpass, take a right, then cross the road at the crossroads. You will see the bus stop up ahead on your left.
Travel time is about 1h 30 min, depending on traffic. Buses depart every 10-15 min.
Bus is not recommended on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays due to traffic jams when people are leaving the city for their country houses.

By train

At peak hours, taking a commuter train (elektrichka) can be a great alternative to a bus.
Take the suburban train from Yaroslavsky railway Station (Komsomolskaya metro station). Trains go about every 20-30 minutes. The journey takes an hour and a half.
The first train departs just after 5:00 am and the last train leaves Moscow just before midnight (see the train timetable). A ticket can be bought from ticket windows at the station (Rus: пригородные кассы [prigorodniye kassi]). Keep the ticket for the whole of your train journey!

By car

Take the Yaroslavskoye highway (M8) and follow it for about 45 km (28 mi), then turn left at the sign to Sergiev Posad (Rus: Сергиев Посад). This road passes through the town.
Another convenient but pricier option is hiring a taxi. The cost of the trip might be negotiated.
Travel time is about 1 h and could be increased under traffic conditions, especially on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when people are leaving the city for their country houses.

2. After arrival you have to walk about 1 km to get to the monastery. Follow Sergievskaya str. (Rus: Сергиевская) to Krasnoy armii av. (Rus: Красной Армии).


Major Buildings of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Trinity Cathedral

The Cathedral is a compositional center for the Monastery ensemble. It was built in the 1420s to replace the wooden Trinity Church built by Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius was canonized after his death; his relics are still kept in the Cathedral.
The interior walls are covered in icons, which are, for the most part, the works of the great medieval icon painter Andrei Rublyov. The most prominent icon painted by Rublyov for the Cathedral is Old Testament Trinity. Nowadays, the monastery keeps its copy, while the original hangs in Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery.

Trinity Cathedral Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Assumption Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral (Uspensky sobor) is the largest building of the monastery. It was built in 1559 by the orders of Ivan the Terrible. The Cathedral is very similar in structure to its namesake in the Moscow Kremlin; however, there is a little difference in the colour scheme of domes. The interior walls of the Cathedral are decorated with beautiful frescoes and carved icons.
Outside the west door is the modest burial vault of Boris Godunov, Russia’s ruler from 1598 to 1605, the only tsar not buried in Moscow or St. Petersburg. There are also the remains of his wife Mary, the son Fyodor and the daughter Xenia in the grave.
Services are held in the Cathedral in summer. The rest of the time it is mostly closed.

Assumption Cathedral Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Church of the Holy Spirit

The Church of the Holy Spirit (Dukhovskaya) is the second oldest building of the monastery. It was built of white stone and topped by the small bell-tower, which is finished with the blue dome. The bell-tower is believed to act as a lookout post as well. Located in the centre of the monastery the Church and the Trinity Cathedral form an ensemble.
In 1655, the interior walls were decorated with frescoes, however in the 19th century they were replaced by oil paintings. The iconostasis was carved of rosewood in 1866.
The holy relics of St. Maximus the Greek and St. Anthony of Radonezh are kept in the Church. St. Maximus the Greek was one of the smartest men of his period. In 1518, he arrived in Moscow from Athos to translate liturgical and patristic texts from Greek into Russian. In 1556, he died and was buried in the monastery. In 1988 he was canonized. St. Anthony was the monastery’s vicar in 1831–1877. He was canonized in 1996.

Church Holy Spirit Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Bell Tower

The Bell Tower is the tallest building of the Lavra (about 88 m/289 ft tall), located on the northern side of the central square. It was built in Baroque style and has a multi-tier structure. The bell tower is richly decorated with moldings, cornices, arches, columns and other decorative elements.
Before the revolution there were 42 bells in the tiers of the Bell Tower. In 1930 more than half of all the bells were thrown down and destroyed. In 2002 two new bells (35.5 and 27 tons) were lifted up to the second tier. One year later, the third bell, called Tsar (72 tons), was cast.

Bell Tower Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Refectory with the Church of St. Sergius

The Refectory, a palatial building in Baroque style with intricate decorations and lavish interiors, was completed in 1692 and intended as a dinning hall for pilgrims. In those days it was the largest hall in whole Russia. Its floor square is 510 sq. m. (5,500 sq. ft.). The refectory housed numerous premises including a kitchen, a bakery, a pilgrim canteen and a scullery.
The facades of the Refectory are ornamented with four-colour painting, creating the illusion of faceted relief-work. The interior walls are decorated with rich colourful paintings. They were painted and renovated several times; the last time was in 1911.
From the east the two-storey Church of St. Sergius is attached to the Refectory. The second floor was used for keeping the Monastery manuscripts.
Refectory Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Tsar Palace

Shortly after finishing the construction of the refectory, a huge building of the Tsar Palace was erected. The Palace has a similar design of the facades to those of the refectory. The interiors are characterized by stunningly luxurious decoration.
In 1814 the Theological Academy was housed in the Tsar Palace. Consequently, the palace was reconstructed and the original appearance of the building was changed. In 1896 a part of the Palace was reconstructed as a church.

Tsar Palace Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

The Chapel Over the Well

The Chapel Over the Well was built over a spring discovered in 1644. Usually it is surrounded by long queues of people with empty bottles and buckets waiting to fill them with holy water.

Chapel over the Well Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

Other Sergiev Posad attractions:


Art and pedagogical toy museum of Russian academy of Education, that represents the history of Russian toy.




15 thoughts on “Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

  1. Tazio Zaffarone

    I like to know how to joint the Icon workshop for one day at St Catherine Icon School on NOT TOUR.

    1. russia

      Could you please indicate the name and address of the school. There is no St Catherine Icon School near Sergiev Posad


    Last April I had the opportunity to visit such a wonderful place, could not believe the beauty
    of the church’s and the icons. I had the kindness of a couple of priests that drove me from that place to the bus stop for me to go back to Moscow. it was indeed the best experience I had ever had (God Bless them all). I will be back next year and looking forward of seeing them again. Mateo from Colombia

    1. russia

      You don’t need to book your visit unless you are going to have a tour of the Lavra.

  3. Peter

    Can you please tell me what is special about the cross under the gazebo in the courtyard in front of the Cathedral of the Assumption?
    Thank you.

    1. russia

      Hi Peter,
      There is a well with holy water inside the gazebo. Usually it is surrounded by long queues of people with empty bottles and buckets waiting to fill them with holy water.

  4. Matt J.

    “ticket price is 450 rub for foreign people.” What? Not all foreigners are pagans, heretics or schismatics. The Orthodox should not have to pay anything to worship in an Orthodox Church. Let the Greeks and schismatic Ukrainians pay!

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  6. Shenqiuxia

    Thanks for your reply!
    Because I heard that Dormition Cathedral in the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is open to the locals only during the religious holidays and days of the memory of St.Sergius(July 5 and 18,September 25,October 8).But I understand now.I(Chinese) also can buy ticket to visit Dormition Cathedral in the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius on July 8th.Is that right?Is there any notice for visiting Dormition Cathedral?

    1. admin

      I have just called to the Lavra. They said that that cathedrals open from 5.00 to 21.00. From 5 to 10.30 and from 17.00 to 21.00 there are services in the cathedrals. But they are still available during the service.

      You need a ticket only to enter the Lavra, ticket price is 450 rub for foreign people. You don’t need additional tickets for the cathedrals. The ticket you can purchase in the ticket offices in the Lavra.

      Concerning the holiday, there is not information on availability of the cathedrals on this day. It will be known next year, closer to the date.

  7. Shenqiuxia

    I am a foreign tourist(Chinese).I want to know if I can buy ticket to visit Dormition Cathedral or not.What are the opening dates and times of Dormition Cathedral?
    I heard that July 8th is День семьи, любви и верности(День Петра и Февронии).Can I visit Dormition Cathedral on that day?

    1. admin

      Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius open from 5.00 to 21.00
      All the cathedrals of Lavra including Dormition Cathedral open during the services.
      To check out the tickets’ availablilty contact the Tourist Information Center: +74965415545, +79162381163.

      During the religious holidays and days of the memory of St. Sergius (July 5 and 18, September 25, October 8) all the cathedrals open around the clock.

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  9. Joyce

    This is a beautiful and sacred monastery and I am thankful that visitors are required to wear respectful and appropriate clothing when visiting such a wonderful place.


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