Novy Byt

Voznesenskaya Davidova Hermitage

In 1515 a monk by the name of David decided to leave the Pafnutev Borovsky Monastery in Borovsk and set up his own monastery. He selected the area now known as Novy Byt on a hill in a forest overlooking the Lopasnya River as it flows into the Oka. Here he established a hermitage which was eventually named the Voznesenskaya Davidova Hermitage in honour of the Ascension (Voznesenie) of Christ and the Hermitage's founder. Even now it is clear why St David of Serpukhov, as he became known, chose this location - the beautiful views you get from the hermitage of the neighbouring landscape. During the Soviet period the hermitage was closed, its treasures pillaged and its building left to fall into disrepair. After it was returned to the church in 1992 and restoration work was carried out, the hermitage once again became a working monastery. Visitors will immediately notice how the hermitage has been carefully restored without losing its charm.


From outside the most striking sight is the red-brick and golden-domed Bell Tower which was constructed between 1730 and 1740 over the grave of St David of Serpukhov, in place of the original wooden chapel. To the sides of the bell tower are walls which date from the mid-19th century and the main entrance to the hermitage.

Upon entering the hermitage you are immediately greeted with a row of five splendid colourful churches and domes. These churches are the white-stone Dormition Church which dates from 1732; the pink 19th-century Saviour Cathedral, the yellow 19th century St Nicholas' Church; the smaller orange 19th-century Our Lady of the Sign Church which now houses the relics of St David of Serpukhov and finally the grand white-stone Ascension Cathedral which was built between 1676 and 1682. This ensemble of churches looks especially beautiful when viewed from across the hermitage's pond, so that they are reflected in the water.

At the back of the hermitage is the Refectory with the All Saints' Church which was built between 1897 and 1898 and recently restored. Outside the refectory is the hermitage's small graveyard where former monks and several notable figures are buried.