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Russia's President Vladimir Putin visited the Hypatian, or Ipatievsky, Monastery
Archbishop Alexander of Kostroma and Galich greeted him, and told the President about the most memorable pages of monastery history. The monastery made a tremendous contribution to peace-making and consolidation efforts in the Time of Troubles, early in the 17th century. It was there the youthful Michael was elected to the throne to found the Romanov dynasty, which ruled Russia for longer than 300 years. The President saw the Romanov Chambers, which house an exposition on monastery history, and made the monastery a precious gift-an icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov, one of Russia's most worshipped saints. Before leaving, President Putin made an entry in the Visitors' Book. "The Hypatian Monastery holds pride of place in the history of Russia and Orthodox Christianity. Russia's renascence will go hand in hand with its own renascence," he wrote. Archbishop Alexander invited the President and those accompanying him to extend their itinerary by visiting the Epiphany Monastery nearby. Mr. Putin was enthusiastic about the idea. The monastery possesses a miracle-working icon of Our Lady of Fedorovo. The holy image was always with Prince Alexander Nevsky, 13th century Russian military leader and saint. He had the icon with him on all his glorious campaigns. The icon has never left the monastery church since then. It stayed intact even in several conflagrations that razed the edifice to the ground, said the Archbishop. From there, the President went on to the city's former Nobility Club, which now is one of the Kostroma Art Museum premises. It is hosting today a joint session of the State Council Presidium, and the Presidium of the Presidential Council for Culture and the Arts. The Hypatian Monastery was in the foreground of 16th and 17th century landmarks of Russian life. Renowned boyar families-the Godunovs and the Romanovs-were among its sponsors and donors. According to tradition, the monastery was founded by one Mirza Chet in 1330. The Tartar prince fell badly ill while on the way from the Golden Horde to Muscovy. In a feverish dream, he saw the Virgin Mary with St. Philip the Apostle and the holy martyr Hypatius of Gangra. The heavenly vision promised him healing. That was on the site of the future Hypatian Monastery. Chet soon got well, reached Moscow to receive baptism, and eventually founded the monastery. Mirza Chet is known as forefather of the Godunov family. Michael Romanov and his mother were putting up at the monastery early in 1613. Delegates of the Assembly of the Land visited them in March to announce that Michael had been elected to the throne. A Polish military force attempted to raid the monastery and seize the young Czar. Local peasant Ivan Susanin rescued the new dynasty by enticing the invaders into an untrodden woodland to meet their doom. The monastery was closed in 1918. Its restoration started at the turn of the 1960s as the USSR Council of Ministers determined to make it a depository and exposition premises of the Kostroma State History and Architecture Museum-Preserve. Archbishop Alexander served a liturgy at the monastery's Trinity Cathedral, January 1991-first after many years' break. The monastery re-opened in 1993. The Hypatian Monastery serves a commemoration liturgy every year, on July 18, to bewail the martyred Royal family. This pious custom started in 1992. The last of the Romanov dynasty met their death by the Bolshevik firing squad in the small hours July 18, 1918.
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