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Main page / Museums and sightseeing in Veliky Novgorod / St. Varlaam Convent of the Transfiguration of Our Savior in the village of Khutyn, 12th c.
St. Varlaam Convent of the Transfiguration of Our Savior in the village of Khutyn
Village of Khoutyn, Novgorod district, Novgorod region

+7 (816 2) 74 96 02
+7 (816 2) 77 37 70 - заказ экскурсий


Working hours:
07:30 – 20:00
Богослужения в 8:00 (10:00 по выходным) и в 18:00

Open: 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Entrance Fee:
вход свободный/бесплатная фотосъёмка
entrance is free/ taking pictures is free

58.58700000, 31.39518000

You can get St. Varlaam Convent from the central railway and bus station on bus №121 to the village of Khoutyn.

Bus schedule is here

Monastery is situated in the village of Khoutyn in 10 km from Veliky Novgorod. You can get there by bus №121. There is a hostel for pilgrims. 
Varlaam was neither the first Saint in Novgorod, nor the first Saint in Novgorod region, but people honored him posthumously as much as Sergiy Radonezhsky was honored in Moscow.

The son of the wealthy Novgorodians Mikhail and Anna, whose Christian name was Aleksey, he early began to study the books and the word of God, and despite the exhortations of the parents, he was noted since young years for a strict abstinence, fasting, and all kinds of deprivations, and after parents death took vows and received the monastic name Varlaam, living in Lisitsky monastery. However, the life in the big monastery did not satisfy a strict ascetic, who was looking for solitude. There was a picturesque but ill-famed place Khutyn downstream the Volkhov River (otherwise Khudyn – derived from the word «thin»). There, according to folk belief, from time immemorial nested evil spirit, and disturbed people who came there. Being attracted by the beauty of the place, Varlaam settled there, putting first the cross and a small cell there. But one day, Varlaam was astonished by a beam of light in the woods nearby, which illuminated the place, and in memory of this Holy sign he built the Church in the name of the Transfiguration of the Savior on that place.

After building and consecration of the church Khutynsky monastery arose, and Varlaam was enthroned as Abbot of brothers, who began to gather there. Among those who came to the Varlaam`s monastery were commoners and nobles not only from Novgorod and its suburbs, but also from other remote places. Varlaam did not forget to give everyone individual patristic teachings.

Learn more about St. Varlaam and the monastery

Varlaam, living in the desert, controlling brothers, leading a strict ascetic life, at the same time, went often to the city to Vladyka Anthony. The road to Vladyka`s yard (next to the Sofia Cathedral) lay through the Volkhov bridge, which was used at that time as a place for criminals execution, who were thrown into the water. Walking on the bridge, he saw the preparations for such execution and stopped the executioner; he asked to take the convicted person in the monastery. After a while Varlaam became again the witness of a new upcoming execution of criminal, whose parents threw themselves at the feet of the monk, begging him to save their son, but, to everyone`s surprise, Varlaam passed by quickly, as if not noticing the surrounding. The execution was made, and when one of the brothers, who was a witness of the situation, asked him to explain his behavior, Varlaam said: «The first criminal was convicted justly, but there was a feeling of remorse in his heart, and I foresaw that he would be able to make amends for his past sins leading the virtuous way of life, the second man was innocent, but in order his anger wouldn`t prevail over his mind and his flattery wouldn’t be fascinated by his soul, the Providence of God deigned him to suffer a painful death and by martyrdom road enter the Kingdom of heaven: that is why I could not intercede for him».

Next time, saying goodbye to the Novgorod Archbishop, monk Varlaam surprised him with a promise to come next time, on Friday, in the first week of Petrov fasting (i.e. in June) by sledge. But the prophecy was carried out in the most unexpected way: on the night of the aforesaid Friday so much snow fell that the monk came indeed by sledge to the city. He found the Archbishop in a deep sorrow on the lost bread, which at that time had already started to blossom. Elder Varlaam reassured him, saying that there would be a hunger without the frost, because all the corn roots were infected by the worm, which was dead now because of the cold. Next day it was hot, the snow melted, and watered the earth, as abundant and beneficial rain, and the harvest that year was really rich. In memory of this event the Archbishop commanded to make always on the first Friday of the Petrov fasting the solemn procession of the cross from Sophia Cathedral to the monastery. Till the XVII century there were even two procession of the cross: on the eve – overland way and in the feast - by water. The procession of the cross by water was especially solemn. At dawn the procession with icons, banners, a lot of clergy, with the Novgorod Bishop at the head, passed through the Vladychnye Gate to the riverbank, they went to the ferries and sailed away. There they continuously sang moliebens, read the gospel, the life of monk Varlaam. On the riverbank near the monastery the brothers and the monastery head met the procession and joined it and they all passed into the main Church, where the Liturgy was celebrated. At the end of church service the boyars, the voevoda, the confessors had a modest monastic meal in the monastery, where they drank the Sovereign’s health and ate Theotokion bread.

Many Novgorodians, who were in the halls of the icon painting of the Novgorod Museum, saw a large wonderful icon the Vision of Sexton Tarasy, where another miracle is painted which happened in the Khoutynsky monastery in 1505. According to legend, the following events preceded the creating of this icon. In 1505, in Varlaamo-Khoutynsky monastery Sexton Tarasy, who came to the church to light the lamps to Matins, saw a wonderful vision. The church was lit. The monk came out of his tomb and prayed in front of the local icons of the Savior and the mother of God for the salvation of Novgorod. Then he turned to Tarasy, and told him that the Lord wanted to destroy Novgorod because of its big sins. Then he sent three times Tarasy to the Church roof, to see how the city would be punished. In the first time Tarasy saw that the waters of the Ilmen rose high above the city. In the second time he saw many angels, shooting at people with flaming arrows, and, finally, in the third time he saw that there was a fiery cloud over the city. The monk explained that thanks to his prayer the God turned away the first two disasters - the flood and plague, but the trading side of the Novgorod would be burned up, and it would kill many people. After that he lay down again in his tomb, and the candles in the church went out. Tarasy immediately told people his vision, and later in 1508 on 20th of August a terrible fire happened on the Trading side of Novgorod which carried away many human toll.

The miracles which happened with Varlaam Houtynsky, continued after his death. In the middle of the 15th century Novgorod Archbishop Evphymiy the Second testified the Holy relics of Varlaam Khoutynsky. When the coffin of the elder was opened, the relics of the monk were imperishable there.

Soon after this the great Prince Ioann Vasilievich the Third visited the Khutynsky monastery. Entering the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, the Prince wanted to see the incorruptible relics of the Saint Varlaam, but he didn’t manage to see them. As soon as the lid of the sarcophagus was raised, a blame blazed from the tomb, it was so strong that, according to the eyewitnesses, it almost burned the wooden church door. Frightened Prince Ioann left his rod near sarcophagus and ran out of the church. Later this event was described by chroniclers, as the Prince "struck by the miracle, went away".

Ioann Vasilievich the Third started to get the donations and contributions for Khutynsky monastery from Russian princes and kings. Dmitry Pozharsky, Vasily Shuysky and many other historical figures of Russia, and even Peter the Great contributed to Novgorod monastery.

In 1611 Khutynsky monastery was used as a headquarter of the Swedes, who attacked Veliky Novgorod. That is why the Orthodox monastery was not really affected by the Swedish invasion. However, the Swedish took with them over 139 pounds of silver from the tomb of Varlaam-miracle maker and pearls which cost 58 rubles.

In 1764 the monastery in Khutyn gained the first monastery class. In 1816 a poet Gavrila Derzhavin was buried in the Theological side-altar of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior, according to his will.

After the revolution, in the twenties of the last century, the monastery was robbed. However, it did not stop working. In the nineties of the 20th century an active restoration of the Khoutynsky monastery began. To the present moment, it is known not only as one of the most important, but also as one of the most beautiful monuments of Old Russian architecture in Russia. Pilgrims come to the monastery shrines not only from Veliky Novgorod and its region, but also from all over Russia.

The monastery meets everyone warmly and joyfully. And if you are lucky, you will see a miracle...

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