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The first thing we notice when passing by Goritsy is a very dilapidated Church of the Resurrection of Goritsy Nunnery, which is situated on the banks of the river.

However, the main attraction of the place is the Kirillo-Belozersk monastery (monastery of St Cyril on the White Lake), in the village of Kirilov 8 km away. It is located on the shores of the Lake Siverskoye and Lake Dolgoye some 100 km northeast of Cherepovets. Kirillov was founded in the 14th century around the monastery of St Cyril on the White Lake as a monastic settlement.

The Monastery of St Cyril on the White Lake was one of the largest and most famous monasteries in Russia and was converted into a museum at the beginning of the 20th century. History tells us that one day a monk from Moscow named Cyril had a vision of a Blessed Virgin in which she told him to head north and to find a monastery. Thanks to Cyril, it was not simply a monastery but it also served as a northern bastion, which protected and defended the territory under Moscow’s control. Cooperating in this way with Moscow meant that the monastery not only received generous donations it also gained political influence.

During the Civil War, the monastery supported the White Guards in the hope of conquering the atheistic Bolsheviks. When the counterrevolution failed the monastery’s bishop was shot dead by the Red Guards.

The new government placed the monastery under state control and opened a museum of Local History on its grounds in 1923. In 1969, the Soviets officially declared the monastery a museum and thus ensured that it will continue to receive financial support and undergo restoration. You will have a chance to walk around its territory, visit archimandrite’s chambers and worship ancient icons in the museum of icons.

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