Although the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent itself was only recently founded in 1992, it was established around two pre-existing buildings which date from the 18th century. The Russian Orthodox Church first decided to establish a convent in Belgorod around the Intercession Church which was returned to its possession in 1991. Subsequently the larger Dormition and St Nicholas' Cathedral was returned to the Church and became the convent's cathedral. Work was carried out in the 1990s to restore the existing buildings and to build a new chapel and walls surrounding the convent. During such work over 100 sets of human remains were found, some dating from the Second World War and some from the time that the NKVD used the cathedral and church as prisons.
Dormition and St Nicholas' Cathedral
The convent's cathedral is the Dormition and St Nicholas' Cathedral, as it is dedicated to both the Dormition of the Virgin Mary and to St Nicholas. It was built between 1692 and 1709 and a memorial plaque on the cathedral tells of how Peter the Great himself donated 100 roubles towards the construction of the cathedral. The white cathedral takes the form of a 'ship-like' church with a cuboid building with five golden domes attached via a vestibule to a bell tower. After the revolution the cathedral was closed and briefly used as a prison before being turned over for use as a bread factory. In 1998 the building was returned to the Orthodox Church and re-consecrated in 2005 after having become the convent's cathedral.
The blue Intercession Church was built between 1766 and 1791 and extended in 1865 with the addition of an altar dedicated to St Tikhon of Zadonsk. Like the Dormition and St Nicholas' Cathedral, it too was used as a prison after the revolution. Later it was used as a mechanic's workshop, until it was finally returned to the Orthodox Church in 1991 and restored.
Tsarist Passion-Bearers' Chapel
The only building inside the convent to be built after its establishment is the Tsarist Passion-Bearers' Chapel which was completed in 1998. It is a small chapel set in the convent's walls and dedicated to the family of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Aleksandra Fyodorovna and their five children who were canonised as passion-bearers for meeting their death in a Christ-like manner. The human remains found on the convent's grounds during the restoration work have been interned underneath the chapel.
St Ioasaf of Belgorod
Just outside the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent is a statue of St Ioasaf of Belgorod who was an 18th century bishop of Belgorod and Oboyan, especially known and loved for helping people in need. Almost immediately after his death people from all around the Russian empire started going on pilgrimage to Belgorod to visit Ioasaf's relics which were credited as miracle-working. Finally at the request of Emperor Nicholas II, Ioasef was canonised in 1911 as St Ioasaf (Joseph) of Belgorod amidst great celebrations in the city.
|Location||19 Ulitsa Pushkina|