Borodino

Spaso-Borodinsky Monastery

The Spaso-Borodino Monastery is located on Borodino Field. It was founded in 1839 by Margarita Tuchkova, the widow of General Aleksandr Tuchkov who was killed at the Battle of Borodino. After the battle Margarita Tuchkova went to Borodino Field to find the body of her husband but was unsuccessful. Struck by grief she decided to build a church on the location of her husband's death. In order to raise funds she sold her jewellery and sought help from Empress-Dowager Maria Fyodorovna (widow of Emperor Paul). With the funds she was able to buy the land and in 1818 started work on a chapel. After a generous donation from Emperor Alexander I, it was decided to build a stone church instead and the Saviour Miraculous-Image Church was completed in 1820. In 1825 after the death of her 15 year old son, her father and her brother's exile as a Decembrist, Margarita moved permanently to her cottage on Borodino Field and organised the Spaso-Borodinskaya Religious Community, being joined by other war widows. In 1838 Margarita became a nun herself and a year later she founded the Spaso-Borodinsky Monastery, eventually becoming its mother superior. The monastery was closed in the Soviet times and only returned to the Church in 1992.


Our Lady of Vladimir Cathedral

The monastery's main cathedral is the Our Lady of Vladimir Cathedral, a large red-brick cathedral with five green domes dedicated to the Our Lady of Vladimir Icon. It was built between 1851 and 1859 using the funds of soldiers and officers of the Guards and Grenadier Corps. It was closed in the Soviet period but re-consecrated and restored in the 1990s.


Miraculous-Image of the Saviour Church

The Miraculous-Image of the Saviour Church was built between 1818 and 1820 using the funds of Margarita Tuchkova and donations given by the imperial family. It is the oldest building in the monastery, having been completed even before the monastery was established. It is built in the empire style with a small single-domed cube building and a column façade. Next to the church is a simple bell tower which was completed in 1840. Margarita Tuchkova (Mother Superior Maria) and her young son are interred inside the church.


St John the Baptist Church

The Beheading of St John the Baptist Church is a small red-brick church with a single green dome and dates from the second half of the 19th century. Now the church is used as an exhibition hall. Inside the Military Gallery of the Borodino Field has 73 portraits of Russian generals and officers who took part in the Battle of Borodino. This exhibition was prepared in the run up of the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Borodino in 2012. A second exhibition in the church is dedicated to Toy Soldiers of various periods but mainly concentrating on the war of 1812.


Mother Superior Maria House-Museum

Also on the territory of the monastery is the small house where Margarita Tuchkov (later known as Mother Superior Maria) lived which has been restored and is now the Mother Superior Maria House-Museum. Exhibitions include several personal items of Mother Superior Maria and information about her husband and about how she founded the Spaso-Borodinsky Monastery. All the interiors of the house were recreated based on photographs and witness accounts.


Monastery's Guesthouse

Located just outside the monastery's walls is a small building which was once the monastery's guesthouse. Now it houses the exhibition entitled Characters from 'War and Peace' on Borodino Field. War and Peace is probably the most famous novel regarding Russia's involvement in the Napoleonic Wars and contains detailed descriptions of the Battle of Borodino, which Lev Tolstoy researched by visiting Borodino Field. The exhibition is dedicated to both the real generals who fought at the battle and to those characters invented by Tolstoy. The displays are interspersed with quotes from the novel and illustrations. The exhibition was prepared in the run up of the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Borodino in 2012.