Naglimozero (Aglimozero) Pustyn (Monastery)

Founder of the monastery

Naglimozero (Aglimozero) monastery was founded by the monk Timofei in the 1630 on a solitary monastery island of Naglimozero lake. The founder of the monastery had 30 years of service in Arkhangelsk archers before the tonsure. In the Time of Troubles in the late 16th — early 17th century Timofei was sent fr om Arkhangelsk to smaller towns with a small detachment, where he participated in battles. He was wounded, captured by the Lithuanians, and received tonsure fr om wounds and diseases, «founded a Naglimozero (Aglimozersko) Pustyn with a salary for the merciful money of the great sovereign of the tsar and Grand Duke Mikhail Fedorovich of all Russia». In 1649, the elderly monk Timofei and the «seven brothers» received lands around the monastery for «obrok» and received «annual alms fr om customs revenues.» The founder of the monastery lived here with the brotherhood for about 20 years.

Nagymozero Temples

Two wooden churches were built on the island: in 1645 — in the name of the Burning Bush with the side-chapel of St. Nicholas, in 1690 — in the name of the Three Saints Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom. Separately there was a wooden, tented bell tower, which in 1653 was awarded with bells fr om Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. A miraculous image of the Nagymozersko (Aglimozersko) monastery — the icon of the Mother of God of the Burning Bush was in the temple of the same name. In September 1653 Timothy wrote in the prayer to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich about the miracles, such as the resurrection of the deceased son of Father John (the psalmist of the church of Peter and Paul in the village of Morshchikhinskaya), about the prevention of a fire in the monastery and many others. There were few monks, and in 1702 the monastery was attributed to the Kargopol Savior-Transfiguration Monastery (Strokina Pustyn).

New Church

In the 1760s, the monastery was transformed into a parish church with the priest Dmitry. With «the work and diligence» of the next priest Johann Vasilyev Arefinsky in 1811 a new stone single-domed church in the name of the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God was built with warm aisles — in the name of St. Nicholas and icons Mother of God «Burning Bush». It was constructed with the sum collected at the benefactors in St. Petersburg on the place of the dilapidated wooden church of Our Lady of the Burning Bush. A bell-tower is attached to the church. The bell-tower is crowned with a dome «with a needle». The church with the bell tower reached 25 m in length, 17 m height, the height of the bell tower with 6 bells — 21 m.

The multi-tiered iconostasis in the church was decorated with carvings. A special place in the lower row of the iconostasis was occupied by the temple image of the Tikhvin Mother of God in a silver robe. Icons were written by Maksimov Grigory Fedorov, a disciple and follower of the peasant icon-painting artel of Bogdanov — Karbatovsky. On the north wall of the Nikolsky chapel there was a small ambry with relics: chain mail and two iron belts of the founder of the monastery, the monk Timofei. Service in the church was performed in the days of St. Nicholas — May 9 and December 6. In 1834, the parish was closed «for the scarcity of content» and attributed to Lekshmozero Peter and Paul Church. The last priest of the parish, Johann Andreev, «was dismissed from his post for the sustenance of relatives».  

In the 1940s the church was destroyed. The territory of the monastery, «where humble monks glorified God, the, serving vows as much as one is able», remains a holy, attractive place for pilgrims. The «image» of the monastery is preserved by oral histories about monastic life, the remains of a monastic cell and a wooden cross placed on the foundation of the temple.

Nicolin cross

Aglimozero road for carts divides into two. The path leading off the road is directed to the Lebyazhaya Laghta of Naglimozero and to Lake Bolshoye Lebyazhye. At the site of the fork, the «parting» of the roads — on the crossroad — Nikolin’s cross is standing.

Wooden crosses, standing at roads, villages, in fields — is a phenomenon characteristic for the Russian North. Currently in the park there are more than 30 memorial crosses, which date from the XVIII — the beginning of the XIX century. Memorial crosses — crosses are memorable. They marked places wh ere people had to ask God for help. The place wh ere the cross is installed is considered sacred. A person, leaving for a long journey, must stop here, bow, and ask God for blessings.

According to the ancient northern mythology, «rostan» (a crossroad) was considered an «unclean» place, and crosses were placed to drive away evil forces, to save the orthodox traveler by the «god sign». The crosses were placed at the fork, also so that the travelers moving in different directions could pray. The cross at the crossroad also delivered simple household function of a road mark that does not allow one to loose his way. Memorial crosses were put in many places of Kenozero. The peasants erected intending crosses at the entrance to the village and at the exit to the forest. They were placed wh ere the chapel was burned or the monastery was abolished, wh ere someone was killed by lightning, at the entrances to bridges — wherever it was considered necessary to cross oneself.

The first cross was placed under the covenant in the 1930s by Dmitri Vasilyevich Vavulinsky. Perhaps there were more ancient crosses on this site. The second cross was staged by Ivan Fedorovich Podgornikh. At the age of three his legs were run over by a cart and for all seven classes of the school he used crutches. The village old ladies advised him to put the worship cross in place of the old one. The cross was put when he already was at a conscious age, when he worked as a secretary in the administration — in 1953-54. After a while he was operated on his legs. The next cross was put here in the late 1970s by Ivan Mikhailovich Popov, and in 1999 the residents installed the last cross, which stands at this place until now.

Nicolin’s Stone

Nicolin stone and other similar boulders were transferred to our region by glaciers, which left a «layered pie» from alternating deposits of sand, gravel, clay, boulder loams (moraines). They brought to this territory huge boulders, including «Nicolin stone» from the mountains of the Scandinavian Peninsula. In Kargopolye there are several such stones attracting the attention of pilgrims.

At the concave bowl of the «shrine» — the moraine boulder «Nicolin stone» the ditch with rainwater is considered «God’s gift of Nicholas the Sinner» and is an object of worship. Pilgrims still keep coming here, they put candles, leave money donations, and wash with holy water. According to the testimony of local residents, they perform a ritual of christening: «I christened my grandson Andrey the same way. Holy water, and I came to the holy stone and I bought water. And I have left money on the stone».

Among the fishermen and hunters of Lekshmozero Nikolin Stone is a special worship place. People of Lekshmozero tell legends about the sacred properties of Nikolin stone, contributing to procreation. The ritual of washing with water from the surface of a stone for the purpose of christening, healing, procreation means a miracle of the «salvation» of a person through familiarization with the deep forces enclosed within the stone.