Sarov is a town in the south of the Nizhny Novgorod region, 200 km from Nizhny Novgorod and about 500 km southeast of Moscow. The history of those places has been very rich in events. It began in 1328, when the town and its neighbourhood were conquered by Mongol Tartars. After they left in 1390, the city was completely destroyed, became uninhabited and for 300 years was known as Staroye Gorodishche (Old Town).
At the end of the 17th century monks-hermits settled down in the Old Town, which was situated far from inhabited places. Thus it became a monastery, the Sarov hermitage that has functioned since 1706.
The history of Sarov is connected with the pride of the Sarov and Diveyevo monasteries. This place became known due to good deeds and spiritual achievements of monk Seraphim, it is the last retreat of St Seraphim's hallows.
By the middle of the 18th century the Sarov hermitage had become a well-known spiritual centre. In 1903 it was visited by Emperor of All Russia Nicholas II who with his family and court attended the ceremony of canonization of St Seraphim of Sarov.
After 1917 the hermitage was destroyed.
Life in Sarov received a new impulse in the post-Soviet era. The town opened a monument to St Seraphim, one of the most revered saints in Russia, the 100th anniversary of whose canonization the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates in cooperation with secular authorities from July 29 till August 1, 2003.
A dome and a cross have been installed in the Sarov monastery's bell tower. Several religious processions have arrived in Diveyevo to attend the celebrations. To receive pilgrims and numerous guests, hotels and hostels have been prepared, two large tent camps opened, field kitchens made ready.
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