Resurrection Monastery, Torzhok

Resurrection Monastery in Torzhok, Russia, an Orthodox nunnery located in a historic quarter along Tvertsy River, is a key city landmark and one of the most important religious institutions in the diocese.

Resurrection Monastery looks out onto the river from Ilinskaya Embankment. The first mention of the nunnery dates back to 1584. Likely founded in the 16th century, it did not rise to prominence until the late 18th-early 19th centuries. Although many of its original structures have since been damaged or destroyed, several early photographs of the complex, most notably a 1911 shot taken from Cathedral Square, have been preserved to our day.

The most significant buildings at the religious ensemble are Resurrection Cathedral, built in 1796 and renovated in 1851, and a bell tower, built some thirty years earlier. The main relic of Resurrection Cathedral was the famous Icon of the Resurrection of Christ, which was donated to the convent by the mother of Michael I, tsarina Marfa Ivanovna.

Additional sites on the compound include living quarters of the abbot and nuns, the northeastern tower which once housed Chapel of the Holy Saviour (1778), the compound walls (1778-1780) and Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist (1840).

By the early 20th century, the convent housed around 250 nuns and apprentices. In 1923, most of the abbey’s churches were destroyed in the Soviet anti-religion campaign, while the surviving buildings were converted into factories, warehouses and workers’ dormitories. Some of the nuns, however, continued to live at the convent for another decade.

Today, visitors to Resurrection Convent in Torzhok can appreciate the magnificent 18th-century Baroque churches and the bell tower, the earliest surviving building on the compound. Remains of the 18th-century walls and lesser fragments of the nunnery stand as a reminder of its former grandeur. An old staircase leading from the historic bridge across Tvertsy River to the convent has also survived to this day.