Bogoroditskiy Men's Monastery of Raifa
The Raifa Monastery is an active monastery surrounded by majestic churches and untouched nature. The cathedral in honour of the Georgian Icon of the Mother of God stores the main treasure of the monastery - an ancient miraculous copy of the shrine that gives healing to the sick. Nearby, you will also find the Trinity Cathedral as well as the cathedral which was consecrated in honour of the slain venerable Fathers in Raif and Sinai. The Sofia Church of the late 18th century is the smallest in Europe: only 7 people can fit inside the temple at any one time. The flowerbed in front of the monastery’s "Dom Palomnika" (translation from Russian: "House of the Pilgrim") hotel features a sundial and a small chapel with a blue dome which stands over the Holy Raifa Spring. The water in the spring is considered to have healing powers, which was confirmed as per the research investigations that took place in 1997 where experts proved that the water contains useful mineral properties, including silver. In winter, magnificent ice temples appear on the frozen lake. People from all over the world come here to breathe in the "crystal" air of an amazing place and to see the majestic architecture with their own eyes. The Raifa monastery is part of the Volga-Kama State Nature Reserve. If you’re venturing out here, another nearby place to put on the list is the Raif arboretum, where over 400 varieties of exotic plants from North America, Asia and Europe are presented.
Hieromonk Philaret is considered to be the founder of the Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery. He would often leave the monastery he lived in to spend time in the forests near Kazan. One time he stumbled north-west and found a young forest which stood on the shores of an unknown lake. He loved this place so much that he built himself a small hut in those parts. This happened in 1613 and it is from this date that the Raifa area dates back to. At first the hermit's hut stood alone, however soon a fraternity grew and ascetic wooden huts started popping up all over the place on the shore of the forest lake. In 1661, monk Thaddeus from Raifa monastery, came to see Bishop Lavrenty in Kazan. The monk arrived here with two elders on behalf of the brotherhood, to ask for the blessing of the construction of the church and the appointment of a clergyman. The Bishop fulfilled the desire of the Raif Brotherhood and so the construction of the Monastery began in 1662.
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