From Filaret to Vsevolod: museum to open in Raifa monastery

The first visitors will look it over in early summer already

The admission to the monastery museum, which is built now in the tower near the lake, will be free, people will just be able to make a donation to its development. And the exposition will cover a period from the foundation of the monastery by Monk Filaret to the monastery's revival by Archimandrite Vsevolod.

Lake tower

Vicar of the monastery Hegumen Gavriil made a decision to open the museum in the Raifa Virgin Monastery with Metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan Feofan's blessing. A tower on the left side of the campanile, near the bank of Lake Raifa, was chosen for the future museum. The exposition will be located in this tower at four levels in chronological order.

''We've already waterproofed the tower, tiled, plastered the walls. The tower was humid, this is why the job was hard. Designers – Sergey Nasekin's workshop – will take on the job soon. It's early to speak about the project's cost, but we don't attract sponsors' money, we hope to do with ours,'' Hegumen Gavriil told Realnoe Vremya.

The core of the future museum's exposition will consist of unique documents related to the Raifa monastery, they are in the Tatarstan State Archive, church items, church clothes, the 17 th-century manuscripts, photos. A 17th-century pectoral icon from the sacristy of Kazan metropolitans is one of the rarities. Hegumen Gavriil supposes when the museum opens, some of the visitors will want to share items from personal collections related to the history of the Raifa monastery.

Vicar of the monastery Hegumen Gavriil made a decision to open the museum in the Raifa Virgin Monastery. Photo: tatmitropolia.ru

Making the museum free is its creators' principled decision. But those who want can make a donation to its development. By the way, apart from the exposition, museum visitors can see both the beautiful Lake Raifa and the territory of the monastery from the balconies situated up on the tower, they will also be open.

Beam of light above lake

The Raifa monastery is the biggest one in the Tatarstan metropolia, tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit it every year. It was founded in 1613 by Monk Filaret, a former brother of the Chudov Monastery. Filaret arrived in Kazan to his spiritual sons and as time went by he decided to found a monastery. He chose a place in the forest, on the shore of a lake, 27 km far from Kazan.

According to a legend, Filaret looked for the place for long. But once at night, he saw a beam of light falling on the ground. The hermit decided it was a special sign and he began the construction in this place. Some time later, Filaret's spiritual sons came after him to the lake's shore. A sculpture near the campanile reminds Filaret now, it depicts a monk going to the monastery.

The Raifa monastery was wooden first, it burnt and was reconstructed, stone buildings appeared. It got its constant appearance in the early last century. It was closed in the early 30s, a prison was on the territory of the monastery first and then a special college for minor lawbreakers.

The revival of the monastery began in the late 90s when Archimandrite Vsevolod undertook this mission. Photo: journalpp.ru

The revival of the monastery began in the late 90s when Archimandrite Vsevolod undertook this mission, the first brother of the monastery in recent history. He did almost the impossible – erected the complex of the monastery out of the ruins within a very short term and made it the most visited place in the metropolia. A special section in the new museum will be dedicated to Archimandrite Vsevolod with Metropolitan Feofan's blessing.

''One of the halls will be interactive''

Sergey Nasekin's workshop will be responsible for the design of the future museum. The Valentin Rasputin Museum in Irkutsk, the creation of unique museums of artist Gennady Arkhireyev in Sviyazhsk, the history of the Civil War, church history and many others are under its belt.

The round tower with four levels will require unconventional solutions, but it's what attracted the designers. The project's draft is ready already, the designers will propose their concept as soon as restoration works end.

''An exposition that will acquaint visitors with the history of the monastery from its foundation to the early 19 th century will be at the first level. The second level begins with the early 19th century to its closure. The third level will have stained glasses and eight paintings in the style of Bilibin – a story about Monk Filaret. The fourth level is contemporary history and exposition dedicated to Archimandrite Vsevolod. There will be two stairs – the right stairs for visitors to go upstairs and the left – downstairs. This is how we will divide the flows of people. A short film about the history of the Raifa monastery will be transmitted on the ceiling at the first level, it's an interactive hall,'' Sergey Nasekin told Realnoe Vremya about plans.

Sergey Nasekin's workshop will be responsible for the design of the future museum. Photo: entermedia.io

The total area of the four levels is about 100 square metres. In general, this is not little to place the full information about the history of the Raifa monastery. According to the monastery's brother Hegumen Gavriil, the museum is highly likely to open in early summer.

By Tatiana Mamayeva

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