This is one of the oldest monasteries of the «North Thebaid», founded in 1316 by Kirill, the professed of the Novgorod monastery of St. Anthony of Rome. "The Life of Kirill Chelmogorsky«(XVII century) tells that the saint lived alone on Mount Chelma for 52 years, was engaged in «teaching by the Book» and «christened the white-eyed pagans». After the death of Kirill, monks began to come here and a small convent appeared. 17 miracles, described in the book «Miracles after the revelation of the our Reverend Father Cyril» strengthened the faith in the local population. The prosperity of the monastery was also determined by the holy objects that existed in the monastery. The icon of the Assumption of the Mother of God, that according to the legend belonged to the saint, and the silver sanctum of St. Kirill with his relics attracted many pilgrims to the monastery.
The spiritual icon of the monastery are icons with the image of the Monk Kirill Chelmogorsky. The icon of Kirill Chelmogorsky with a panorama of the monastery belongs to a unique type of iconography. The iconographer recreates the real appearance of the monastery of the first quarter of the XIX century. The convent was surrounded by a wall with towers on the corners. Stone Cathedral of the Epiphany stood inside the monastery walls , with a chapel in the name of St. Kirill Chelmogorssky and St. Nicholas (1818). The second Assumption Church of the monastery was wooden(1803).
The only thing that reminds us today of the monastery is the river Chelma and the wonderful lakes Monastyrskoe and Lekshmozero, which surrounded the monastery before. The preserved foundation of the Epiphany Church determines the location of the lost church.
Kensky Transfiguration Monastery
The spiritual father of the northern territories of Kenozero was the Kensky Transfiguration Monastery, located «on the left bank of the Ken river», a few kilometers from lake Kenozero. The monastery was founded by the Monk Pachomius, who founded it in the second half of the 15th — beginning of the 16th centuries. Kensky monastery was particularly famous due to the fact that in 1508, during Pachomius lifetime, Andrew Nikiforovich, the future founder of the Antonievo-Siysky Monastery, received tonsure here. The monastery owned large land territory at the end of the XVII century — 500 square miles of land.
The architectural ensemble of Pachomius Transfiguration Kensky Monastery at the turn of the XVI — XVIII centuries included three churches — the Transfiguration of the Lord, St. Nicholas and the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. Unique monuments of this period of monastic history are monuments preserved in Russian museums. In 1968, employees of the Museum of Old Russian Culture named after Andrei Rublev in the village of Korovino (on the territory of the former monastery), twelve icons of the 16th century were found. According to written sources, it is known that a precious reliquary cross of the 17th century was transferred from the Pachomius Kensky Monastery to the Trinity Svirsky Monastery with a large number of relics and relics of Novgorod saints embedded in it. This is the only work of precious liturgical utensils of the Transfiguration Khensky Monastery stored in the collection of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
After the abolition of the Kensky Monastery in 1764, the destruction of ancient temples as a result of a devastating fire, in the first half of the 19th century the parish stone five-domed Savior-Transfiguration Church was built. Unfortunately, the destroyed temple, was demolished in 1949, and did not survive to our days.
Makaryevskaya Hergozerskaya Pustyn
A memorable place and a major religious center was the Makaryevsky Hergozersky Monastery, founded by monks Sergius and Loggin in 1630 on the shore of Hergozero lake. The fame of the monastery was determined by the fact that a particularly revered miraculous icon of Venerable Macarius of the Yellow Water Lake and the Unzha, the Miracle Worker was kept here, the miracles of which were written in a special work. Written sources indicate that in the XVII century three wooden churches were erected in the monastery dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the Three Saints of Moscow. After a fire that destroyed the temples «with all utensils and icons» in 1782, a warm stone temple of The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built, and in 1872 the construction of a five-domed stone Holy Trinity Сathedral was completed. These temples were built already as one parish church, because in 1764 the monastery was abolished.
After the closure of the parish (1930’s), the stone temples retained their appearance until the middle of the 20th century. In the 1960s Vvedensky church was dismantled, and the Holy Trinity Church in ruined state reached our days. Photographs made by N.N. Pomerantsev in «Macarius» in 1958 are of valuable historical and cultural information. Thanks to the photographs, it was possible to determine the belonging and location of 25 icons in the iconostasis of the Holy Trinity Church stored in the museum fund of the Kenozero National Park. Now Makarevskaya Monastery is being revived by the zeal of N.Ya. Ushakov, the great-grandson of the parish priest D.I. Lebedev, by the senior priest of the of St. John the Baptist Church^ Victor Pantin, and by the priest of John the Apostle Church of Oshevenskoye village, Vasily Cheremisin, with the support of the Kenozero National Park and many benefactors.
Aglimozerskaya Pustyn (Aglimozero Monastery)
A special island location on Naglimozero lake had the Naglimozersky (Aglimozersky) Monastery. «This is the only lake with such a picturesque position, almost in the entire Olonets province — Lake Naglimo, whose beauty almost does not lend itself to description» — local historian K.A. Dokuchaev-Baskov wrote. The monastic documents of the 17th century, which preserved the history of the monastery, testify that the founder of the monastery was the monk Timofei, who served here before joining the Arkhangelsk Streltsy service(the units of Russian guardsmen). A wooden Church in the name of the Burning Bush and a wooden Church in the name of the Three Hierarchs, a bell tower, monk’s cells and a fence were built in the monastery between 1645 and 1690. In 1811 a new stone church was built in the name of the Tikhvin Mother of God. Particularly revered miraculous icon of the monastery was the image of the Mother of God of the Burning Bush, which attracted pilgrims to a remote forest monastery. In 1730 — 1740 monastic life in the monasteries ceased. A unique map of the abolished monastery of 1783 is kept in the museum fund of the Kenozero National Park, «arranged for the purpose of surveying the land». The map is an invaluable source for determining the territory of the monastery. In the 1940s the churches of the Naglimozersky Monastery were destroyed. But the territory of the monastery, «where the humble monks praised God», still remains a holy place of pilgrimage. The historical image of the monastery is preserved in oral histories about monastic life, by the remains of a monastic cell and a wooden cross placed on the foundation of a stone church.
Monasteries of Kenozero
At different historical times, the Kirillo-Chelmogorsky Monastery (XIV century), the Pakhomiy Kensky Transfiguration Monastery (XV century), the Makaryev Hergozero Monastery (XVII century), Naglimozero Monastery (Aglimozerskaya Pustyn) (XVII century) were located in a small area of Kenozero (a territory representing a single whole along the basis of natural, geographical, cultural and social features). The building of monasteries of Kenozero by the first «devotees of piety» is associated with the Novgorod and Moscow spiritual development of the European North.