Suzdal (a.m.) / Moscow (p.m.), Russia
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
26/08/1999 Hotel Baltschug Kempinski 329 KM 37804 KM

The star-spangled domes sit atop the Cathedral of the Assumption inside the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, one of Russia's most important spiritual places and monasteries.

Vladimir's Cathedral of St. Dmitry (1193-97) shows the extraordinary ability of the craftsmen who worked on this white stone structure in the 12th century.

Raising money for the Church

The 13th century Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral with blue and gold spangled domes is inside the Suzdal kremlin.

Father Valentine's first church in Suzdal

When Jim met Father Valentine in 1999, the Archbishop lived in a small wooden house but now he calls this newly-built structure his home.

Jim met Archbishop Valentine in 1990. We found him still in Suzdal in 1999, but now Father Valentine has hundreds of Russian Foreign Orthodox Churches under his direction as opposed to 1990 when he had just one church.

26 August 1999 – The Golden Ring is a modern name for a loop of ancient towns that were the political and cultural center of Russia long before Moscow was even founded. As Kiev declined, these outposts of main towns grew and took the prominence that Kiev once held.

Historians say the most important surviving structures in the Golden Ring are three 12th-century buildings in and near Vladimir: the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Cathedral of St. Dmitry and the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl (see 25 August 1999 observations for notes on this cathedral). These structures show the link between 11th century Kiev architecture and that of 15th century Moscow.

The Church of St. Dmitry (1193-97) is a white stone structure, which was under renovation when we visited so we viewed little inside. The exterior, almost completely restored, glowed with glory. The detailed stone carvings of images – animals, mythical creatures and some Christian – were detailed and positioned around doorways and domes. Sergiev Posad
From Vladimir, we drove to Sergiev Posad to visit Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, which was the head of the Russian Orthodox Church until 1988 when the Patriarch moved to Moscow. Outside the walled-off, secured monastery, scores of beggars, young and old, touched us and followed us yearning for money.

Inside the grounds we first visited the Trinity Cathedral, built in the 1420s, which is the heart of the monastery. Inside it is dark and chilly. A replica of an icon by Andrey Rublyov and his disciples attracted a long line of people who waited to touch and kiss this icon replica. The original Old Testament Trinity icon is on display in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

We visited the Cathedral of the Assumption, with star-spangled domes, where a service was just underway. Here a non-Russian couple stood together and the man draped his arms around the woman’s shoulders. A babushka came over and motioned they should not touch. I stood watching the hundreds of people inside, many worshipping, but most, like me, watching the ornate surroundings and the serious service. Supposedly Ivan the Terrible gave money to finish the cathedral in 1585 in a show of remorse over killing his son.


  Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius (Paige)
  Vladimir in the Golden Ring (Jim)
  Suzdal and Father Valentine (Jim)
  Sergiev Posad Monastery (Jim)
  Driving into Moscow (Jim)