The St. Theodore Convent
85, Moskovskaya Street
Phone: (48535) 38022
The St.Theodore Convent is located in the southern part of Pereslavl. According to legend, it was founded in 1304 on the site of a battle between a joint force of Muscovites and Pereslavlians and the battalion of the town of Tver. The oldest building of the the convent is a five-domed cathedral dedicated to Theodore Stratilate. The erection of this cathedral is related to the birth of the son of Ivan the Terrible. A legend says that the tsarina Anastasia brought into the world a child not far from Pereslavl; today the place is marked by the St.Theodore chapel. Originally, the sanctuary was a male monastery and only after the Time of Troubles and the Plague did it become a convent.
In the late 17th and early 18th century the St.Theodore Convent was under the patronage of the tsar’s family. The money for the building of the Presentation Church and the Church of Our Lady of Kazan came from Natalia Alekseevna. Peter the Great also contributed to the convent. The construction of some fragments of the wall, the towers, and the stone cells goes back to the 18th to 19th centuries. From 1722 onwards, under a decree issued by Peter the Great, all the nuns were taught the spinning of “a German thread”.
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries the convent became a place of seclusion for many “unwanted” noble women, including Anna Fedorovna Yaguzhinskaya, the wife of Prosecutor General Pavel Yaguzhinskiy. At the beginning of the 20th century, about 500 nuns lived in the sanctuary. After the Revolution of 1917, the nuns established a collective farm. The convent possessed three “branches” — Berendeevskaya, Aleksevskaya, and Voskresenskaya — that were well-run farms with their own facilities and livestock. The nuns made every effort to manage them well. Despite this, the nunnery was closed and the abbess Olimpiada Monachova, the wife of a rich Moscow merchant, was placed under arrest.
An extract from the protocol of a closed meeting of the district authorities of Pereslavl on July 2, 1923 says: “The citizens of the Pereslavl-Zalessky District are poisoned with more religious vapors than in other places in Russia. The further presense of the abbess Monachova and her sisters-in-faith Ivanova and Dorodneva within the walls of the convent is unacceptable because of clandestine religious work that demoralizes the masses of the District…”
Most facilities of the Convent were initially used to house the Lenin correctional labour colony for juvenile delinquents (118 teen-age inmates). One block of cells served as a nursing home for elderly people, ten structures were turned into apartments for workers and employees. Later, the convent was put under the authority of the military department. The nunnery fell into a sorry state of decline from that time on. The majority of the facilities became dilapidated and required urgent restoration which only started in the 1970s. The year 2004 became a milestone in the history of the sanctuary, which then accommodated nine nuns. Since then the nunnery has been growing and the nuns' efforts are aimed at the renewal of the oldest convent.