HOLY TRINITY - SAINT SERGIUS MONASTERY'S METOCHION

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The exact date of the foundation of the Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius Monastery’s Metochion (ecclesiastical embassy church) in the Kremlin is unknown. It is believed that it was founded during the lifetimes of Dmitry Donskoy and Saint Sergius. Prince Dmitry Ivanovich donated a place in Moscow for the church and cells near the court of his sovereign in 1673, according to the book of donations of the monastery. Considering the spiritual closeness of the Grand Prince to the Holy Elder, this testimony seems plausible. The first annalistic mention of the metochion dates back to 1460 in connection with the construction of the stone Church of the Epiphany by the St Sergius Elders on its premises. It was located to the north of the Grand Prince's Court, opposite the Kremlin’s Trinity gates, which were named after the metochion.

It is believed that in the 15th century there was also another church named after St Sergius as well, probably built after the uncovering of the saint's relics and his canonization, i.e. shortly after 1452.

In the second half of the 15th century, the Trinity Metochion was called the Bogoyavlensky Monastery after the main Church of the Epiphany, which was rebuilt in brick in 1482.

The sovereigns visited churches of the Trinity Metochion on holy days to which they were dedicated. Special internal passages from the palace were arranged for that purpose. Eminent elders resided in the metochion. In 1473, Metropolitan Philip, the builder of the first huge Assumption Cathedral, died in the Epiphany Monastery. Patriarch Job, who was dismissed under the impostor Dmitry, lived here several times and was summoned by Tsar Vassily Shuisky in 1607 to make national repentance for the sins committed during the Time of Troubles. Metropolitan Philaret, father of Tsar Mikhail, lived in the metochion before his consecration as Patriarch in 1619. New stone cells were built for his arrival. Joasaph, Archimandrite of the Holy Trinity Monastery also lived in this metochion in the Kremlin in 1667, before his election as Patriarch. Beggars lived near the metochion walls, which is probably why it was also known as the Trinity Shelter.

The Holy Trinity–Saint Sergius Monastery’s Metochion on the “Kremlenagrad” plan“Procession going to the Epiphany Monastery, to Avraamy, the cellarer and elder of the Holy Trinity–Saint Sergius Monastery’s Metochion, with the petition on Electing the Tsar”View on the Old Building of the Armoury Chamber in the Moscow Kremlin

During the reign of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich in 1661, a side chapel was built in the name of Theodore Stratelates, the namesake of Tsarevich Feodor Alekseevich. The metochion burned down in a fire in 1737, but was rebuilt. The outwardly dilapidated buildings were repaired in time for the coronation of Catherine II in 1762.

According to the inventory of 1763, in addition to the three churches, there were also stone cells for the elders and brethren and two stables (one stone and one wooden) in the metochion surrounded by a stone fence.

In 1764, during the secularization of church lands carried out by Catherine II, the Trinity Metochion was abolished and all its territory was annexed to the Kremlin Palace. Soon the buildings of the metochion were taken over by the Senate Department and occupied by the Judicial Prikaz (State Office). In 1778, a part of the metochion at the Trinity gates was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Commander-in-Chief, and the Church of the Epiphany was registered to the Commander-in-Chief's house.

At the beginning of the 19th century, on the initiative of the Head of the Court Administration P.S. Valuyev, the reconstruction of the Moscow Kremlin began, which required the regulation of the territory with the demolition of the old dilapidated buildings. This included the area of the former Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius Metochion, where the construction of a new Armoury Chamber was planned. All the buildings of the metochion, including the churches, were demolished in 1807-1808, and the commandant was given the Poteshny (literally “amusement”) Palace.