Suzdal Monastery

Vladimir Province, Russia

CLICK on Pictures to ENLARGE
Suzdal is in north-central Vladimir province (oblast)
In 2004, I had the opportunity to visit Suzdal and the prison where Maksim Gavorilovich Rudometkin spent the last years of his life. MGR organized the Jumper-Molokans in the 1800s in Armenia and was their single leader until his death.

I was surprized that my Russian tour guides did not know that there had been a prison at Suzdal Monastery, and they were amazed to hear this information from an American tourist.

When I entered the museum I saw a display featuring 3 of the 4  Molokans imprisoned there. The actual room where MGR slept was fixed up with a manikin dressed to show how he lived. See photos below.

Also, see photos of my trip in 2001 to Fioletovo, Armenia, and my visit with some of the Rudometkin clan.

-- John Michael Novikoff
biography, e-mail

200 years ago Suzdal had 15 monasteries, with a prison in one. After many wars and fires, 5 monasteries remain and about 50 churches. Suzdal is now a popular museum town, with a conference center and hotels, on the "Golden-Ring" tourist route north-east of Moscow. Its best monuments -- the Kremlin, the monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euthimius (with the prison) and the Museum of Wooden Architecture -- belong to the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve. It's one of nearly 800 sites in the world (21 in the FSU) protected and preserved with assistance from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -- UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "The most important ... is the Monastery of Our Saviour and St Euthymius, founded in 1352, with its Cathedral of the Transfiguration built in the 16th century but in the 12th century tradition of Vladimir."

JOHN: Examine the 3 pictures below and e-mail your response.

Check photos "A" and "B" below

"A" -- Turn left just inside?

"B" -- This is on the prison website. It may have be taken from #6 or #7 above? Do you recall the tree? If it was from #6, then your entrance would have been from the end of this walkway and you entered the museum near the tree.

CLICK to ENLARGEMonastery of Our Saviour and St Euthymius (Russian: Spaso-Evfimiev Monastyr). Mentally rotate this diagram clockwise 45 degrees to match the photo on the right. CLICK on the map to ENLARGE. The long building in the center (11) is the monks' dormatory. The prison or jail block (8) is on the north side. The  entrance for the jail museum tour is .....
Monastery of Our Saviour and St Euthymius (Russian: Spaso-Evfimiev Monastyr). The photo shows the fort [kremlin] wall, with distinctive towers, enclosing the monastery. The prison is along the back wall, behind the trees, which are behind the two big churches left of center. The main highway, Lenin Street at the top, leaves Suzdal going north along the "Golden Ring" tour.

This is the entrance to prison section of the Suzdal monastry. 
The sign at the entrance informs Russians that a famous martyr of the December 1845 revolt died here --

This is the actual room that MGR spent time in from 1850-1852.  He was one of many dissidents and political prisoners that occupied this wing of the monastery. During the communist period, it was also used to hold prisoners before sending them to the Gulags. The figure is a mannikan. I didn't ask if this was the actual furniture.

#2 Pic   slavdmir 4

#3 Pic   slavdmir 6
This may be hard to read but the center plaque refers to MGR imprisoned in 1850-1852.  I cannot read it very well but it  refers to him as one of the leaders of the Molokan Sect.

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This looking at one of the wings of the monastary after you enter the premises.  If my memory serves me right, the prison was in this section.
Note:  Prior to entering the monastary, our group was in a restaurant for lunch.  Seated at my table was our tour guide.  She asked if I had been here before to which I answered no.  However, I pointed out that one of our leaders of the Molokan faith was imprisoned there.  The tour guide expressed disbelief that I knew about the monastary being used as a prison.
Later, I was invited to the prison and taken right to the room that MGR occupied as an inmate.

# 4 Pic  slavdmir 7
Behind me is another wing of the prison. I did not have time to go through all of it but there was a lot of memorobilia left to indicate who occupied this area such as pictures of soldiers and other military, uniforms, pictures, etc.