The Alexander Nevsky Lavra functions nowadays as an orthodox monastery belonging to the St Petersburg eparchy. Founded by decree of the Emperor Peter I in 1710, the monastery is located on that very place where, according to the legend, prince Andrey, a son of prince Alexander Yaroslavitch (Nevsky), gained a victory over the Swedish troops in 1301. The St Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra thus became one of the first large architectural ensembles in the northern Russian capital. Include it in the program if you want to create a holiday package in St Petersburg.
Before the Synod was established, the Alexander Nevsky cloister had been the administrative church center of St Petersburg and adjoining districts. Its Theological Academy was regarded as one of the best in Russia in training highly educated clerical cadre. Since its founding, the Alexander Nevsky monastery was placed above other Russian cloisters. It enjoyed the favour of all Russian emperors and empresses, the Father Superior being nominated by a sovereign’s personal decree. On December 18 (31), 1797, due to decree by Paul I, the monastery was elevated to the status of lavra (monastery of the highest rank). From the very beginning, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra became a most significant sepulchre of the Russian Empire. It was used for the burial of the court nobility, members of the Imperial Family, prominent state, military, clerical and art figures. The monastery sacristy had priceless sacred and historical objects in its disposal, including ancient manuscripts, holy relics, crosses, icons in precious settings. Thus, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, equally with Kunstkammer, can be considered to be one of the first museums in Russia.
After the October revolution the monastery was closed by the Soviet authorities. It was only in 1956 that the Trinity Cathedral was given back to the Orthodox Church. In 1987 was St Nicholas (Nikolskaya) cemetery church reopened (now belongs to the Lavra). November 25, 1996 is the official date of the monastery’s rebirth. At present time, services are being performed in the both temples of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, some important reconstruction works are being held on its territory; sewing, joiner’s, icon-painting and baguette-making workshops have been opened in the cloister recently. There is also an increase in the number of the monastery monks.