Pechenga Monastery
The Pechenga
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

( and ) was for many centuries the northernmost monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 in the world. It was founded in 1533 at the influx of the Pechenga River
Pechenga River
Pechenga is a river in Murmansk Oblast, Russia . It is the namesake for the Pechenga settlement, Pechenga Monastery and the Pechenga District. The river discharges into the Pechenga Bay by the Barents Sea coast....

 into the Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

, 135 km west of modern Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

, by St. Tryphon
Tryphon of Pechenga
Saint Tryphon of Pechenga was a Russian monk in the Eastern Orthodox Church and led an ascetic life on the Kola Peninsula and in Lappland in the 16th century. He is considered to be the founder of the Pechenga Monastery....

, a monk from Novgorod.

Inspired by the model of the Solovki
Solovetsky Monastery
Solovetsky Monastery was the greatest citadel of Christianity in the Russian North before being turned into a special Soviet prison and labor camp , which served as a prototype for the GULag system. Situated on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea, the monastery braved many changes of fortune...

, Tryphon wished to convert the local Skolts
The Skolt Sámi or Skolts are a visible Orthodox ethnic group in Lapland, Finland. They currently live in and around the villages of Sevettijärvi, Keväjärvi, Nellim in the municipality of Inari and also in the village of Neiden in the municipality of and Sør-Varanger, Norway...

 to Christianity and to demonstrate how faith could flourish in the most inhospitable lands. His example was eagerly followed by other Russian monks. By 1572, the Pechenga Monastery counted about 50 brethren and 200 lay followers.

Six years after St. Tryphon's death in 1583, the wooden monastery was raided and burnt down by the Swedes.
It is said that the raid claimed the lives of 51 monks and 65 lay brothers, bringing the history of Tryphon's establishment to an end. This revenge raid was carried out by a Finnish peasant chief Pekka Antinpoika Vesainen on December 25, 1589, and was part of the Russo-Swedish War  of 1590 - 1595.

In 1591 Tsar Fyodor I ordered to revive the monastery in the vicinity of Kola
Kola (town)
Kola is a town and the administrative center of Kolsky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Kola and Tuloma Rivers, south of Murmansk and southwest of Severomorsk. It is the oldest town of the Kola Peninsula. Population: 11,060 ; -History:The district of Kolo...

, but the new hermitage fell in flames in 1619. Although the New Pechenga Monastery was eventually moved to the town itself, it was so sparsely settled that the Holy Synod
Holy Synod
In several of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, the patriarch or head bishop is elected by a group of bishops called the Holy Synod...

 deemed it wise to disband it in 1764.

As the Russian colonization of the Kola Peninsula
Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is washed by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast...

 accelerated in the late 19th century, the Pechenga Monastery was restored at its original location in 1886. Prior to the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, it consisted of the Upper Monastery, commemorating the graves of Tryphon and 116 martyrs of the 1589 raid, and the new Lower Monastery, overlooking the Pechenga Bay
Pechenga Bay
Pechenga Bay is a fjord-like bay of the Barents Sea on the Kola Peninsula in the Murmansk Oblast, Russia, about 25 km east from the border with Norway. It has rocky shores and stretches inland for 17 km. The Pechenga River discharges into the bay. The settlements of Pechenga and...


The stauropegic
Stauropegic, also rendered stavropegic, stauropegial, or stavropegial is a title or description applied to Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christian monasteries subordinated directly to a Patriarch or Synod, rather than to their local Bishop...

 monastery continued to flourish when Pechenga became part of Finland in 1920. At the end of the Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 in 1944 the Moscow Armistice
Moscow Armistice
The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War...

 granted Petsamo to the Soviet Union. The brethren were evacuated
Evacuation of Finnish Karelia
As a result of the 1940 Moscow Peace Treaty that concluded the Winter War, Finland ceded the area of Finnish Karelia and other territories to the Soviet Union...

 to the New Valamo Monastery
New Valamo
New Valamo or New Valaam is an Orthodox monastery in Heinävesi, Finland. The monastery was established in 1940, when some 190 monks from Valaam Monastery in Karelia were evacuated from their old abode on a group of islands in Lake Laatokka to Eastern Finland...

, where they kept their autonomy until 1984 when the last of them died at the age of 110
A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110 years. This age is achieved by about one in a thousand centenarians....

. Although the monastery buildings were destroyed during the war, the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

decreed the reestablishment of the monastery in Pechenga in 1997.
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