Trinity Cathedral
Main Church of the Holy Trinity Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery
The heart of Diveyevo, one of Russia's spiritual centers, is Trinity Cathedral, where the relics of the Venerable Seraphim, miracle-worker of Sarov, are held. Its construction fulfilled one of Father Seraphim's prophecies.

He foretold a great cathedral would be built in Diveyevo, a wonderful marvel so great that even the monks of Sarov would envy it.
June 5, 1848

Construction begins
July 28, 1875

End of construction
Araunah Jebusite had his threshing floor in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah. This is where King David saw an Angel with a sword directed at Jerusalem during a time of plague and where he received a Divine commandment to build an altar to God. Araunah offered David this place of sacrifice for free, but David decided otherwise. "I will surely buy it of thee for a price; neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver (2 Sam. 24:24)." Upon sacrificing the burnt offerings, "the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel (2 Sam. 24:25)." This is a site of special significance since Abraham built his altar there to offer his son as a sacrifice, and, being blessed with such a glorious deliverance, it was later chosen as the site of Solomon's temple.
At the end of 1820s, the Venerable Seraphim received a revelation that a great cathedral should be built to the east of Our Lady of Kazan church. It was critically important to purchase this land, just as King David did.

"When Holy King David desired to build an altar to the Lord on Mount Moriah," Father told Elena Vasilyevna Manturova, "he did not accept Araunah's threshing floor for free but paid a price for it; the same will happen here. The Queen of Heaven has willed that She should receive the land for the cathedral as a purchase instead of a gift. I could seek to solicit its purchase, but it is not pleasing to Her! Go to the town of Temnikov and locate this plot's owner Yegor Ivanovich Zhdanov and give him the money I have for him and bring back the land deed of ownership!"

When Elena Vasileyvna returned with the deed, Father Seraphim was so thrilled that he kissed the paper and exclaimed: "Here, matushka, what a joy it is! What a cathedral it will be, matushka! Such a cathedral! Truly a wonder!" He ordered Elena Vasilyevna to issue a copy for him to keep and told her the original should be kept safe until her death and then delivered to her brother Mikhail Vasilyevich. Foreseeing it all with his all-knowing inner sight, he pleaded with Mikhail Vasilyevich to hold onto the deeded land for the construction of the cathedral until the time was ripe.
At the end of 1820s, the Venerable Seraphim received a revelation that a great cathedral should be built to the east of Our Lady of Kazan church. It was critically important to purchase this land, just as King David did.

"When Holy King David desired to build an altar to the Lord on Mount Moriah," Father told Elena Vasilyevna Manturova, "he did not accept Araunah's threshing floor for free but paid a price for it; the same will happen here. The Queen of Heaven has willed that She should receive the land for the cathedral as a purchase instead of a gift. I could seek to solicit its purchase, but it is not pleasing to Her! Go to the town of Temnikov and locate this plot's owner Yegor Ivanovich Zhdanov and give him the money I have for him and bring back the land deed of ownership!"

When Elena Vasileyvna returned with the deed, Father Seraphim was so thrilled that he kissed the paper and exclaimed: "Here, matushka, what a joy it is! What a cathedral it will be, matushka! Such a cathedral! Truly a wonder!" He ordered Elena Vasilyevna to issue a copy for him to keep and told her the original should be kept safe until her death and then delivered to her brother Mikhail Vasilyevich. Foreseeing it all with his all-knowing inner sight, he pleaded with Mikhail Vasilyevich to hold onto the deeded land for the construction of the cathedral until the time was ripe.
«What a cathedral we will have! A true wonder!.. Greater than the one in Sarov, to their envy!»

Venerable Seraphim of Sarov
«What a cathedral we will have! A true wonder!.. Greater than the one in Sarov, to their envy!»

Venerable Seraphim of Sarov

Mosaic icon of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov at the northern façade of the Trinity Cathedral
The laying of the cathedral's foundation, which was prophesied by the great elder and Diveyevo's founder, took place on June 5, 1848. The event was marked by an apparent sign of God's grace and blessing from the Queen of Heaven. While laying the foundation stone, an Archpastor from Nizhny Novgorod, a godly man, exclaimed: "From dawn till night, this church is being built aloft by so great a miracle." These prophetic words came true, when, despite all the obstacles from the enemy of mankind, this holy place was established as chosen by the Queen of Heaven Herself and built on land purchased
by the Venerable Seraphim.
The laying of the cathedral's foundation, which was prophesied by the great elder and Diveyevo's founder, took place on June 5, 1848. The event was marked by an apparent sign of God's grace and blessing from the Queen of Heaven. While laying the foundation stone, an Archpastor from Nizhny Novgorod, a godly man, exclaimed: "From dawn till night, this church is being built aloft by so great a miracle." These prophetic words came true, when, despite all the obstacles from the enemy of mankind, this holy place was established as chosen by the Queen of Heaven Herself and built on land purchased by the Venerable Seraphim.
More than one miracle occurred during the cathedral's construction. In winter the sounds of ongoing construction work were heard from inside the boarded-up cathedral. At times, in the evenings or at nighttime, a transcendent light would glow above it.

Once the exterior work was done, His Grace Joannicius decided to consecrate the cathedral's main altar. The day of the consecration fell on July 28/August 10, the feast day of the icon "Tenderness" of Seraphim-Diveyevo. It was a reminder of what father told the sisters not long before his death in front of that holy image in his cell: " I leave you while entrusting you to the care of this Queen of Heaven."

Originally, the cathedral was to be consecrated in the name of the icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness," but His Grace ruled it to be named to the glory of the Live-Giving Trinity. Thereupon, it was done in accordance with God's will and confirmed by a special sign: in 1864, upon the raising of the cross, three white doves circled the cathedral while three cranes flew uniformly below. Once the "sign of Christ's glory" was installed, the birds flew off to the east.

Beginning in 1875 and with the exception of winter seasons, the cathedral had a schedule of daily services. Simultaneously, the local artists among the monastics painted and installed large canvasses depicting Old and New Testament stories as decoration. The Crucifixion, so great in size that it could be seen from anywhere in the cathedral, stood in the altar behind the High Place.

On June 2, 1880, the lower right chapel was consecrated to the icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness." On June 3, 1884, the right-hand chapel of the choir loft was consecrated to the icon of the "Oranskaya" Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. A day later, the left-side choir loft chapel was consecrated to the Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist. Hegumenia Maria left the lower left chapel for 28 years without consecration faithfully awaiting the impending future canonization of Father Seraphim. The lower left side altar was consecrated on July 22, 1903.
What a joy it will be, yet we will not live to see it, neither will I, but what a five-domed cathedral it will be!

Venerable Father Seraphim
What a joy it will be, yet we will not live to see it, neither will I, but what a five-domed cathedral it will be!

Venerable Father Seraphim
Eclecticism is an architectural movement of the 1830s-1890s, known for its variety and freedom in selecting design prototypes over the strict standards and uniformity of space layout of late classicism.
The cathedral was built according to the project design of Athanasius Ermilovich Turmyshev, graduate of St. Petersburg Academy of Art, Assistant Chief Architect of Nizhny Novgorod Province. It offers a striking example of eclecticism in architecture. Trinity Cathedral has blended in its form various features of Classical, Byzantine, and Old Russian architecture, thus conveying the unity of "all tongues" in a temple of God to the glory of the Creator. It was built for summer use, without a heating system. As past pilgrims described it, the cathedral looked magnificent.
The cathedral was built according to the project design of Athanasius Ermilovich Turmyshev, graduate of St. Petersburg Academy of Art, Assistant Chief Architect of Nizhny Novgorod Province. It offers a striking example of eclecticism in architecture. Trinity Cathedral has blended in its form various features of Classical, Byzantine, and Old Russian architecture, thus conveying the unity of "all tongues" in a temple of God to the glory of the Creator. It was built for summer use, without a heating system. As past pilgrims described it, the cathedral looked magnificent.
Trinity Cathedral is 54 meters high.

Its area is about 1500 square meters.

Trinity Cathedral is 54 meters high.
Its area is about 1500 square meters.
"The interior of the cathedral inadvertently invites admiration for its airiness and unusual lightness! Whoever enters notices before anything else the cathedral's fine shining iconostases with the hand-painted icons. The icons and holy images are located symmetrically along the columns and the walls of the cathedral. The choir lofts are raised high above. They stretch from the back wall along the sides towards the iconostasis, guarded by cast-iron balustrade, gilded here and there. The lofts rest on cast-iron, partially gilded and ornate plates. Like a beautiful cornice, the lofts divide the cathedral walls into two upper and lower parts. High above, spanning the same distance between the lofts and the floor, the ceilings of the side loft chapels soar aloft. In the middle part of the nave, the cathedral rises up to the same height as between the floor and the choir lofts. Due to the harmonious arrangement of the choir lofts and the ceiling vaults from top to bottom of the cathedral, its interior resembles the firmament.

Built up by the choir lofts, the great cathedral presents itself as quite an inviting and relatively small building. Everything inside, from its paintings to gilded surfaces to artistic finishes and symmetry, dazzles the eye and attracts the visitor's gaze. The beauty of the interior décor and design of this church seems to suggest luxury. However, if one takes a closer look, the key to its unusual splendor is the laborious life of the 800 or so sisters of the monastery, who paint icons and holy images and perform other types of handiwork.

Located in the middle, the main iconostasis to the Life-Giving Trinity is crafted quite exquisitely. In the middle of the lower tier, there are Royal Doors with locally painted icons of the Savior and the Mother of God of Kiev Caves on each side. Above the first tier, there are two more tiers displaying various icons. Above the Royal Doors, there is only enough space to have two icons of great size: "The Descent of the Holy Spirit" and an image of the Holy Spirit as a dove, radiant and emanating light. A small gilded cross rises above this icon at the top of the iconostasis, slightly bigger than a pectoral cross in size. The iconostasis is capped by this cross!"

Description of the Trinity Cathedral dated 1886
"The interior of the cathedral inadvertently invites admiration for its airiness and unusual lightness! Whoever enters notices before anything else the cathedral's fine shining iconostases with the hand-painted icons. The icons and holy images are located symmetrically along the columns and the walls of the cathedral. The choir lofts are raised high above. They stretch from the back wall along the sides towards the iconostasis, guarded by cast-iron balustrade, gilded here and there. The lofts rest on cast-iron, partially gilded and ornate plates. Like a beautiful cornice, the lofts divide the cathedral walls into two upper and lower parts. High above, spanning the same distance between the lofts and the floor, the ceilings of the side loft chapels soar aloft. In the middle part of the nave, the cathedral rises up to the same height as between the floor and the choir lofts. Due to the harmonious arrangement of the choir lofts and the ceiling vaults from top to bottom of the cathedral, its interior resembles the firmament.

Built up by the choir lofts, the great cathedral presents itself as quite an inviting and relatively small building. Everything inside, from its paintings to gilded surfaces to artistic finishes and symmetry, dazzles the eye and attracts the visitor's gaze. The beauty of the interior décor and design of this church seems to suggest luxury. However, if one takes a closer look, the key to its unusual splendor is the laborious life of the 800 or so sisters of the monastery, who paint icons and holy images and perform other types of handiwork.

Located in the middle, the main iconostasis to the Life-Giving Trinity is crafted quite exquisitely. In the middle of the lower tier, there are Royal Doors with locally painted icons of the Savior and the Mother of God of Kiev Caves on each side. Above the first tier, there are two more tiers displaying various icons. Above the Royal Doors, there is only enough space to have two icons of great size: "The Descent of the Holy Spirit" and an image of the Holy Spirit as a dove, radiant and emanating light. A small gilded cross rises above this icon at the top of the iconostasis, slightly bigger than a pectoral cross in size. The iconostasis is capped by this cross!"

Description of the Trinity Cathedral dated 1886
How majestic is this cathedral, flooded with light, as if perennially filled with some cheerful exaltation and joyful warmth, as it wonderfully reflects the notion of an infinitely good, inviting, and comforting God giving His blessing.


Evgeniy Poselyanin

How majestic is this cathedral, flooded with light, as if perennially filled with some cheerful exaltation and joyful warmth, as it wonderfully reflects the notion of an infinitely good, inviting, and comforting God giving His blessing.


Evgeniy Poselyanin

Trinity Cathedral held the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness," before which St. Seraphim reposed as he knelt in prayer. He used to tell the Diveyevo sisters: "I entrust you to the Queen of Heaven of Tenderness Herself, She will not forsake you!" These days, the holy icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness," painted at the beginning of the 20th century and just as miracle working as the original, takes its rightful place in the Trinity Cathedral in the right-hand icon-case. At Father Seraphim's request, each Sunday before Liturgy a prayer service to the Theotokos, the so-called Paraklesis, is sung in front of the "Tenderness" icon.
Icon of "Tenderness." Such a countenance: whether the Theotokos attends to the prayers of the faithful or heeds the innermost strings of Her heart, all in all, She is - a luminous beauty and mystery.

Evgeniy Poselyanin

Icon of "Tenderness." Such a countenance: whether the Theotokos attends to the prayers of the faithful or heeds the innermost strings of Her heart, all in all, She is - a luminous beauty and mystery.

Evgeniy Poselyanin

The last service before the monastery closed was held on September 21, 1927, on the feast of the Nativity of Theotokos. No priest was there to serve the festal Vigil service – all the monastery's priests had been arrested earlier that day. A hyeromonk, who ended up staying in Diveyevo after the dissolution of the Sarov monastery, served.

After the monastery closed in 1927, the cathedral was desecrated and its crosses were taken down. When the crosses were ripped down, the domes and the roof were damaged, so water leaked inside the cathedral.

During Soviet times, Trinity Cathedral was first turned into granary and later a construction warehouse. That is how Alexey Artsybushev sums up his feelings upon seeing the ruined cathedral: "Up front, a wooden fence and construction crew shacks encircle the cathedral; a construction crane looms above its south side; with its exterior blistered down to the brick and the roof overtaken by birch saplings, it pierces the March sky with its rusty domes. As I entered it, I was so dumbstruck that I could not at first get my bearings. Piles of plaster, buckled rotten wooden floor; in the dull morning light of early spring, the walls, stripped naked down to red brick, were rising up towards the light that streamed down from the broken windows of the dome."
In October of 1989, Trinity Cathedral was returned to a local parish. In the spring of 1990, a shining rainbow marked the day its cross was raised. The services in the cathedral resumed on Saturday of the Akathist on March 31, 1990. The main altar was consecrated that day.

The consecration of the side chapel of the Icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness" took place on December 2, 1996, and St. Seraphim's chapel at the lower left corner - on December 31, 1997. The upper right chapel of the "Oranskaya" Vladimir icon of Theotokos took place on May 13, 1996, and the Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist chapel in the upper left corner on November 21, 1997.
Since January 1, 1991, the main Diveyevo cathedral has held daily morning and evening services according to the monastic Typicon: Midnight Office, prayer service with the Akathist to the Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, and Liturgy. Twice a day, at 1pm and 2 pm, the clergy from the Nizhny Novgorod Diocese and Diveyevo choir members read the Akathist. At 5pm, the evening service begins. The day ends with the reading of the evening prayer rule. Each service in the monastery ends with the singing of the Exaltation to the holy Sarov elder.

Every major feast is marked by festal services held at Trinity Cathedral. The cathedral looks particularly festive on the eve of the Nativity of Christ, Holy Trinity Day, and feasts to the Venerable Seraphim of Sarov and the founding of the monastery. On those days, the sisters and pilgrims, who are professional florists, decorate the choros, iconostasis, the canopy above the relics of Father Seraphim, his icon and the icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness" with intricate floral arrangements. Ordinarily, all of the significant and memorable occasions in the Diveyevo monastery are marked by an Archpastoral service. Celebrations honoring the Venerable Seraphim of Sarov bring together dozens of archpastors.
On July 30, 1991, a shrine holding the holy relics of Venerable Father Seraphim was solemnly installed. A canopy, imitating the one previously installed in Sarov, was set up above the shrine with relics. The left-side chapel has glass cases exhibiting the personal belongings of Father Seraphim: his pectoral metallic cross, stole, leather gloves, winter boot covers, hoe, and others.
Left
Right
The Trinity cathedral did not previously have walls painted. Recent paintings were made by artists from the Trinity-Sergius Lavra under the guidance of Anatoly V. Alyoshin, the Instructor of icon and wall painting at Moscow Theological Academy.
No other church I have ever seen has made such a joyful impression on me as the cathedral in Diveyevo. Spacious, bright, decorated with excellent wall paintings, spotlessly clean, it captivates and enchants.

Priest Mikhail Elabuzhsky
No other church I have ever seen has made such a joyful impression on me as the cathedral in Diveyevo. Spacious, bright, decorated with excellent wall paintings, spotlessly clean, it captivates and enchants.
Priest Mikhail Elabuzhsky
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