The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Abraham monastery, located next to the Smolensk fortress wall (from the Eastern part) – is a unique beauty of the monastery, built in the Baroque style. Not always a visit to the monastery is included in the sightseeing tours of Smolensk, but if you decide to visit our city and walk along the Fortress wall from the intercession Church up the street Timiryazev, be sure to pay attention to this monastery.
Abraham monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Smolensk, founded in the early XIII century by Bishop Ignatius. The monastery gained fame as the spiritual center of Russia after the monk Abraham came here. The monk Abraham of Smolensk is called the light of medieval Russia. An outstanding preacher, educator and teacher, Saint Abraham was engaged in rewriting books, interpreting and explaining the Holy Scripture, and was a gifted iconographer. Around him was a whole school, his knowledge and experience spread from Smolensk throughout Russia. Archival data indicate that at the end of the XII century Smolensk monasteries had a huge book Depository of handwritten books.
Unfortunately, specific historical data about the history of the monastery up to the XVII century almost did not survive.
It is known that in 1609-1611 the monks of the monastery actively participated in the defense of Smolensk from the Polish army. After the fall of the city, the poles plundered the monastery. During those terrible events disappeared without a trace the main Shrine of the monastery – the relics of St. Abraham. The monastery itself was given to the Dominican Catholic order, and in 1634 it was completely closed. Its revival began only after the liberation of Smolensk.
During the Patriotic war of 1812, The Abrahamic monastery was badly damaged by enemy nuclei during the shelling and storming of the city by the French. Still over the altar window of the Transfiguration Cathedral protrudes from the wall of the unexploded core.
Gradually, the monastery returned to the role of spiritual and educational center. It especially increased after the placement on its territory founded in 1728 Smolensk theological Seminary. It was built several stone buildings, which housed classrooms, library, etc.Archimandrite of the monastery began at the same time to hold the post of rector of the Seminary. It was located here until 1891.
In 1918 the monastery was closed and its brethren were repressed. For some time there was even organized a concentration camp for those who disagree with the Soviet regime. In the same years, some buildings of the monastery were dismantled. The monastery suffered significant damage during the great Patriotic war and the occupation of Smolensk in 1941-43, when the unique three-domed gate, some buildings were destroyed, and the Transfiguration Cathedral was also seriously damaged.
After the war, for a long time before the monastery no one cared. However, since the 60s, some of the remaining buildings have been restored and given to a medical clinic. Garage cooperatives, public and residential buildings are being built on the territory of the monastery. The Transfiguration Cathedral was restored only in 1972-74.
In 2000 the Spaso-Avraamiev monastery was opened, and in August 2008 the monastery buildings were transferred to the Smolensk diocese.
In 2010, the monastery celebrated its 800th anniversary, and the anniversary year was declared the year of Abraham of Smolensk in the diocese of Smolensk. In 2013, the restoration of the monastery was completed, and in 2014 a monument to Abraham of Smolensk was erected in front of the monastery.
Abraham monastery is the only monastery of the XIII century in the Smolensk region and it is a must to visit. In the lower Church are venerated icon with the relics of Smolensk and the Church of the saints. And not far from the monastery is a Holy spring, dug, according to legend, by the monk Abraham of Smolensk.