Moscow was founded in 1147 by Grand Prince Yuri Dolgoruky who founded a Kremlin (fortress) where the rivers Moskva and Neglinnaya meet. The city was the site of many raids, and as it enlarged, it fortified it’s new areas. First with the area known as Kitay-Gorod, then Beliy Gorod inside the present Boulevard Ring. Next came the Zemlyanoy Gorod inside the Garden ring. Outside of this a series of fortified Monasteries protected the city. One of these is the Danilov Monastery.
The Danilov Monastery was founded in 1282 by the son of Alexander Nevsky, Prince Daniil Alexandrovich who was the Prince of Moscow from 1276-1303, and founder of the Rurik Dynasty. In 1330 Ivan Kalita (the only surviving son of Daniil) dissolved the Monastery and moved it’s monks and icons into the Kremlin. It underwent a revival during the reign of Ivan IV (the Terrible 1547-1584) and new church buildings were constructed.
Daniil was canonized in 1652 and the monastery was renamed in his honour. He was laid to rest in a golden coffin in the Cathedral of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. This church was built by Ivan IV in 1565 On the original site of St. Daniil’s church. The fresco of St, Daniil is the oldest in the church. The first church had been dedicated to St. Daniil Stolpnik and the cloisters were also named after him.
In the seventeenth century, the cathedral precincts were encircled by a crenellated wall with ten towers, and included an alms house and hospital.
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity which dominates the complex today was built in the nineteenth century to the design of Osip I. Bove in the neo-classical style. Although, after the October Revolution the monastery was officially closed, it survived as the last working monastery in Russia until 1930,when the monks were expelled and it was used for a children’s home and as a reformatory for young offenders.
In 1983 the state handed the monastery back to the Orthodox Church, which restored it fully. The four church buildings now show forth in all their ancient splendour and quite a few new buildings have been constructed, including the Patriarch’s residence, the administrative wing of the Holy Synod, and accommodation for the monks.
In 1988, on the occasion of the celebrations in honour of the millennium of the birth of Christianity in Russia, The patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, together with his holy synod, moved his seat from the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Zagorsk to the Danilov Monastery in Moscow. A modern press center was opened in 1988 and a hotel was added.