Храм Рождества и Покрова Пресвятой Богородицы от Пролома
Храм Рождества и Покрова Пресвятой Богородицы от Пролома
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The history of the double church of the Intercession and Nativity of the Holy Virgin
The history of the double church of the Intercession and Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God dates back to 1399 when the first church, which was named the Intercession of Our Lady was built.

It is not known exactly, when the Monastery was founded, but it was firstly mentioned in a manuscript concerning Pskov, written in 1465. Also the Monastery was mentioned in a chronicle concerning Pskov in 1544 which mentioned that the Monastery was damaged in a fire.

The Intercession Monastery became famous during the Livonic War. Dorofei, an elderly monk of the Monastery had a vision of the Holy Virgin during the siege of Pskov by Polish-Lithuanian troops of Stephan Batoriy in 1581. The vision happened on the site of the future attack. On September 8, 1851 the enemy successfully breached the wall and almost entirely destroyed the Intercession Tower. It seemed that enemy would capture the town, but the inhabitants rallied to the defense of the town after being inspired by a religious procession in which the following icons were displayed; "Our Lady of Tenderness" and the relicts of Prince "Vsevolod-Gabriel" of Pskov.

In 1582 after the siege was broken the grateful inhabitants of Pskov together with Ivan Petrovich Shuisky, who was an army officer who had been sent to help with the defense of the town, organized the reconstruction of the intercession church and added one more building which became the Nativity of Our Lady Church. The two churches which were combined into one then had the distinctive Pskov belfry built between them to complete the unification of the two churches. The church now stands as a monument to the courageous defense of Pskov. Within the church is a commemorative list of the inhabitants who perished during the siege and which acts as a reminder to future generations of their heroism and courage. The renowned icon "Our Lady Pskovo-Pokrovskaya" with an eternal flame affixed in front of it was also kept there until it was stolen by the German forces during World War II. The impressive gild frame of the icon was made of silver and beautifully adorned and tells the story of blacksmith-monk Dorofei and the events connected with the assault undertaken by Stephan Batoriy's army.

The Monastery was inhabited until the 18th century when it was closed down by Catherine the Great in 1764. According to ecclesiastical records of 1764 the church was removed from the parish register but was endowed with a small state grant to manage the up keep of the church. In 1813 it became part of the Nikitskaya Church parish. In 1847-48 the church was refurbished, the ancient belfry was demolished and a new one was built, funded by donations. The new belfry was made of brick and had five bells. It is stated in clerical reports that the church contains two altars; the main one is in honor of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin and one in the side-chapel, which is in honor of the Nativity. The second altar was invested again on October 23, 1893 after being renovated. In 1912 V.I. Ozeling, the employee of the Pskov Archeological Society, discovered and cleared about 51,5 meters of the monastery's catacombs, which run from the right from the precincts of the Intercession Church to the Intercession Tower and left to the Batoriy Breach.

The church was closed after the revolution. The icon "Our Lady Pskovo-Pokrovskaya" which was stolen during the Second World War was rediscovered in 1970 at an exhibition of Russian icons which was held in Munich. The icon was named "Pskov und seine Umgebung" (Pskov and its outskirts) and was from a private collection from the Berrchtesgadene. In the summer of 2000 the icon was taken from the owners and was given as a symbolic gift to the Russian President Vladimir Putin by the German Chancellor Gerchard Shreder. On the 31st of August it was handed over to the Holy Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia Alexiy II by the German Ambassador Ernest York von Shtudnitz. And on the 7th of September 2001 the icon was returned to Pskov and now it is kept in the main city church - the Trinity Cathedral. A replica now stands in the Church of Intercession and Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Mother of God.

The church of the Intercession and Nativity of the Holy Virgin was renovated again in 1961 to 1964 according to the design of V.P.Smirnov. Restoration and maintenance were carried out based on historical documentation and non-historical building works were cleared away and the church was restored to its original condition. The belfry and narthex were removed, while the gable roofs of the two churches and both narthexes were restored. On the west side of both quadrangles, a three-pillared belfry was erected. The cupolas were covered with small, slightly curved planks, resembling tile, which is characteristic of Russian timber architecture. All the restoration work was carried out in accordance to historical evidence collected from the examination of architectural records and to iconographical material.

In memory of heroic events of 1581 and to commemorate the brave people who gave their lives during the siege, Smirnov created a stone cross which is mounted on a boulder. In 1993 the church which was appropriated by the Soviet government was given back to the Russian Orthodox Church. In the following few years' services were held only occasionally. On October 27, 2006 Father Vladimir (Tantsurin) was assigned as the first priest of the revived church the Intercession and Nativity of the Holy Virgin. Henceforward church services are now carried out regularly on religious holidays.

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