Part of the picturesque Golden Ring, the town of Sergiev Posad grew around one of the most important monasteries in Russian Orthodox religion, The Holy Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius. St. Sergius was born in 1314 and from an early age, dedicated himself to the monastic life. He began his religious journey in his youth, and spent years living in the desert to observe his beliefs of solitude, fasting, and prayer. He began to gain followers as word of his dedication spread, but the Mongol invasion forced him to give up his desert lifestyle and relocate to more welcoming grounds. In 1337 the new monastery, located to the north east of Moscow, started as a small, wooden church and a couple of cells for fellow monks, but grew quickly as more and more people flocked to St. Sergius to learn from his devotion and receive blessings.
Many miracles have taken place in the Lavra according to the Orthodox belief. A blind man could see, a rheumatic man could move his arm again. The Chapel-over-the-Well celebrates a spring whose water provided some of these miracles and is still drunk from by pilgrims today for their health and relief from their troubles. Another church on the grounds was built to contain the icon of the Mother of God “Hodegetria” Smolenskaya, which is said to have performed miracles for those who touched it. Currently the icon remains in the Sergiev Posad Museum of History and Art, but a copy can be seen in the outer wall of the church. Now with over 13 chapels and a variety of functional buildings, the Lavra remains an active monastery, theological college, and icon painting school that keep traditions alive. From miracles to sieges, the Lavra and town of Sergiev Posad withstood time and changing political and belief systems that made it what it is today.