The Holy Trinity St. Sergius LavraThe main place to visit in Sergiev Posad is the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra. In 1993 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The architectural complex including a working monastery is composed of numerous churches and other buildings erected in different centuries, monuments and graves (for example, the Shrine of the Godunovs).
For the celebration of the 700th anniversary of St. Sergius of Radonezh birth, information boards were installed in the town telling about his life. One of them is pictured below.
I duplicate the text from the stand: Life of St. Sergius of Radonezh
People often call St. Sergius an all-Russian prior. A humble hermit alien not only to pride, but also to irritation, anger, sadness...
Cloister of the Holy Trinity
He was born in 1314 in a family of Kirill and Maria, devout Rostov boyars. By the holy baptism, he was given the name of Varfolomei (Bartholomew).
The birth of Varfolomei was preceded by a miraculous event: in the church, during the liturgy, a baby, being in Maria’s womb, cried three times – this way one of the greatest of Russian saints declared himself.
When Varfolomei was seven years old, he and his brothers were given to a sacristan for education. But the Reverend studied poorly. Neither trying, nor praying helped him to lay down the letters into words. And then there was another miracle. Once, Varfolomei met a hermit monk in the field, told him of his sorrow and asked him to pray to God for the help in teaching. The old man handed a piece of prosphora to him: "This is a sign of God's grace and understanding of Scripture given to you. Child, do not grieve on the literacy: you should know that now the Lord gives you a good knowledge of letters, greater than that of your brothers and peers".
Search for a secluded place
Varfolomei had an extremely early desire to asceticism. Twenty-three year-old Varfolomei, together with his elder brother Stefan, retired to the forest tract in the vicinity of Radonezh. On a small hill covered with forest, Makovets mount, the brothers made a small church later consecrated in honor of the Life-giving Trinity.
Unable to withstand that hard life in the desert full of privations, Stefan went to Moscow Monastery of the Epiphany. Varfolomei stayed alone in the hermitage spending his days in works, abstinence and prayers. Some time later, he took vows in the angelic image and was given the monk name of Sergius.
Be a servant to everyone
Sergius’ loneliness lasted no more than two years, after which people began coming to him for spiritual help. The fame of the ascetic spread throughout the county. There were people willing to share the hermitage with him. A curious fact: for a long time, the number of Sergius’ student monks was 12 - exactly as the apostles of Christ. The abode started growing; the brothers continued its further arrangement, axes knocked... The Reverend labored along with all the rest.
Peasants began coming to Sergius for advice and blessings, some of them settled nearby. Sorrowful circumstances of the Mongol-Tatar Yoke forced people to seek protection behind the walls of the formed monastery.
Wonderworker of the Russian land
Miracles in the monastery did not stop. How many of them Sergius made – no one can count! Sometimes, he raised the dead. Largely due to him nearly all the Russian princes acknowledged the primacy of Dmitry Ivanovich by the time of the Kulikov battle. On the eve of the battle, the latter went for a blessing, not just anywhere - to the Holy Trinity Monastery. The abbot foretold the victory to our army and sent two monks of a princely family - Peresvet and Oslabya.
First keep the fear of God
St. Sergius of course knew about his coming death and said the words on the day of September 25 (October 8, New Style), 1392 to the monks: "Take heed to yourselves, brethren. First keep the fear of God, purity of soul and unfeigned love..." 30 years later, on July 18, 1422 his relics were found incorrupt.
Both paintings pictured above are inside the passage of the Holy gate of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.