Convent of Holy Mother’s Sign
According to the Irkutsk chronicle of P.I. Pezhemsky and V.A. Krotov, the year of the construction of the Convent of Holy Mother’s Sign is considered to be 1693. There is also a version that the convent was founded in 1689 by the order of the Paul, Metropolitan of Tobolsk and Siberia. The first wooden church in the name of the Holy Mother’s Sign, which laid the foundation for the monastery, was built by Vlas Sidorov on the bank of the Angara river in the mouth of the river Ida (Ushakovka) one kilometer away from the Irkutsk ostrog. The first building of the temple soon fell into decay and in 1727, it was replaced by another wooden one. In 1757, a stone building of the Convent of Holy Mother’s Sign was built with funds donated by I. Bechevin, a local merchant. The temple was consecrated around 1765, later chapels were added to the church. By the end of the eighteenth century, the church became four-fold. The convent territory housed not only Holy Mother’s Sign church but also the church of St. Demetrius and Tryphon, and the temple of the Transfiguration of the Lord. In 1893, a school for girls, where pupils were taught reading, writing and church singing, was officially established at the monastery. In 1908, the parish school was opened. In addition, there was a poorhouse for girls in the monastery. By the end of the nineteenth century, the convent was ranked 2nd class, it had a large property - a candle factory, a bakery, bookbinding and sewing workshops, a greenhouse. Vestments for priests and worship tools were made in the workshops of the convent. Wedding dresses, as well as clothes and shoes, bed-quilts were made by order for residence. The nuns were skilled craftswomen, they possessed techniques of gold embroidery sewing, embroidery with colored and white smoothness, beads and precious stones. After the revolution in 1926, the convent became a parish church, and from 1929 it functioned as the cathedral, since the Cathedral of the Epiphany was closed, and the Kazan Cathedral was demolished. In 1934, by the decision of the Presidium of the City Council, Convent of Holy Mother’s Sign was closed. The convent accommodated the air service squad for the headquarters and dormitory. In 1945, the monastery was returned to the community of believers and began to gradually revive. In 1948, the convent returned the status of a cathedral. On August 30, 1960, the Convent of Holy Mother’s Sign, by Resolution No. 1327 of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR, was announced to be the monument of architecture of republican (federal) significance and placed on state protection. The territory of the monastery housed the necropolis, where many abbesses and nuns of the monastery are buried. Here Grigory Ivanovich Shelikhov, the founder of the Russian-American Company, is buried. By order of his wife N.A. Shelikhova, a marble monument, erected by the masters of Yekaterinburg, was established on his grave, an epitaph for the monument was composed by the poet G.R. Derzhavin. On the territory of convent lie the remains of а Decembrist’s wife Ye. I. Trubetskaya with her children, the Decembrists N. Panov, P. Mukhanov, V. Bechasnov. Also on the territory of convent lie members of the families of the well-known merchant dynasties of Irkutsk: the Trapeznikovs, the Kotelnikovs, the Rodionovs, the Telnykhs, the Goldobins, the Malykhs and others. On the night of 6 to 7 February 1920, in the direct proximity to the monastery Alexander Kolchak, the Supreme Ruler of Russia, and Viktor Pepelyaev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, were shot. In 1960, the remains of the second Irkutsk bishop Innocent (Nerunovich) were brought from the Bratsk, in 2001, the relics of the St. Innocent (Nerunovich) were reburied at the altar of Convent of Holy Mother’s Sign. In 1990, the relics of St. Innocent of Irkutsk were transferred to the monastery from Yaroslavl. St. Innocent of Irkutsk (Kulchytsky) was the first Irkutsk bishop, patron of the Irkutsk and China. In the convent there is the part of the relics of St. Sophronius (Kristalevsky). In 2015, V. G. Rasputin, a writer, was buried on the territory of the convent.