Micha Jelisavcic
John Sloan

Thought to be the earliest of the monasteries (forts) in the Moscow principality and founded by Prince Daniel as one of the six fortified complexes guarding the southern approaches to Moscow against Tatar attack. The foundations of the monastery were laid no later than 1282 and perhaps as early as 1272. On his death bed, Prince Daniel asked to be buried in the monastery which he founded and he was so laid to rest, as is recounted in the Troitskaya chronicle, "Not in the church but within the grounds." This information is directly contradicted by L.A. Belyayev: "In as much as can be understood, the Troitskaya chronicle also did not contain any notes of the foundation of the Danilov monastery. It contains, as does the Lavrentyev chronicle, a note on the death of Danil Aleksandrovich, and the place of his internment was the Archangel Michael cathedral in the Kremlin. The date of his death is given as March, 1303. The first mention of the existence of the Danilov monastery we learn from the article pertaining to 1330 in the Troitskaya chronicle, written not earlier than the beginning of the XVth century. It was an outpost to defend against raids by the Horde.

The Danilov area in the Middle ages

Such was the apelation at any rate in the XVIth-XVIIth centuries of the area lying to the south-east of Moscow, down the river, and lying against the Danilov monastery.
The documentation of the XVIIth-XVIIIth centuries testify, that the Danilov area - was important in the political-economic sense and also in the military sense as a frontier of Moscow, possibly having in the past an even more important significance.
In the XVIIth-XIXth centuries the Danilov frontier post was little used and the road saw only rudimentary use. From the Kremlin to Danilov the roads were only archaic in the XVIIIth- XIXth centuries as they curled along the river banks.
The main road from the south ran somewhat to the west, thru the Serpukhov frontier post. One could only travel along the Danilov road after having crossed the Moscow river and then regain the Serpukhov route down river in the area of Kotlov, or turn towards Kolomenskoye. A floating bridge remained here. Possibly this was where the crossing was in antiquity.
In an analysis of the events of the military actions around Moscow in the XVIth- XVIIth centuries, one comes to the conclusion that Danilov was a place continuously contested between those laying siege and the defending forces of the city, a sort of "no man's land," a cross roads and a zone of contact between those sides.
It was rebuilt by Ivan IV who added the monastery's Cathedral of the Holy Fathers, where Prince Daniil is buried in a gold sarcophagus. In 1983, Soviet authorities released the monastery into the hands of the Orthodox Church and it became the official residence of Moscow's Patriarch. The entrance is the St Simeon Stylites gate church built in 1730's. The Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was built in the 17th century and rebuilt. The Trinity Cathedral was built in 1830's.
In the fall of 1606 the expanse between Kolomenkoye and Danilov again was transformed into a battle field. The companies of Ivan Bolotnikov and Istoma Pashkov, marshals of the cossack-noblemen army, set up two camps here. This time the attackers succeeded in taking the area surrounding the monastery and the river before the tsar's voyevodes could interveen. Isaac Massa recounts how the advance company of cossacks "soon approached Moscow at a distance of one mile and stood at the river Danilovka and occupied the village of Zagorye (Zaborye), and immediately dug entrenchments.

Photographs and descriptions




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Tower of the Danilov Monastery, this became the official residence of the Orthodox Patriarch in 1983. The monastery was founded by Grand Prince Daniel Aleksandrovich, the son of Aleksandr Nevski, around 1282 and is named after him. The monastery was transfered into the Kremlin in 1330. It was restored to its original location by Ivan IV in 1560.

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Other corner tower on front wall of Danilov Monastery. The fortress played an important role in the defense of Moscow, especially from the Crimean Tatars. Then, at the end of 1606, outside the walls there was a big battle between the peasants of Ivan Bolotnikov and the army of Vasilii Shuiski.

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Danilov Monastery, Church of St. Simeon Stylite over the gate. A large part of the monastery grounds is a cemetary in which many famous people are burried. In the 1980's the monastery had major restoration work. When the monastery was closed the bell tower was destroyed and the 18 bells disappeared. They were bought by the American engineer, Thomas Witmor, and given to Harvard University. One is at the business school and the other 17 are in a special bell tower. The bell tower, 45 meters high, was rebuilt in 1983 for the restoration of the monastery to the church for the 1000 year celebration of Russian Orthodoxy in 1988. The 23 bells there now were collected from northeast Russia.

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Danilov Monastery, Cathedral of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumencal Councils, 1554-60, built by order of Ivan IV, also has major restoration.

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Danilov Monastery, Trinity Church, 1833, with fortress tower behind. The church has major restoration inside and outside.

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Mosaic copy of the famous Trinity Icon of Rublov on wall of the Trinity Church in the Danilov Monastery.

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This is a sketch showing the church of the Fathers of the 7 Ecumenical Councils in the Danilov Monastery. This shown as illustration 101 in Drevniye Monasteri Moskvi po Dannim Arkheologii by L. A. Belyaev.


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