Skip to main content

Solovki Monastery


Located on the Solovki Archipelago in the White Sea, the Solovki (Solovetsk) monastery was founded between 1429 and 1436 by the hermits Savaty and German, followed by the monk and future abbot Zosima. By the early sixteenth century, Savaty and Zosima had become the patron saints of the White Sea region. Solovki, also a garrison, was one of Russia's most important cloisters with extensive territories, earning income from trade, salt, fishing, and rents. Metropolitan Phillip II of Moscow contributed significantly to Solovki's architectural development while serving as abbot (15461566). Its monastic rule, formulated in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, became a template for later communities.

Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich's troops besieged Solovki from 1668 to 1676 in a conflict traditionally linked to Old Belief. Solovki's leaders and a large part of the brotherhood first accepted, then rejected, Patriarch Nikon's liturgical reforms. However, rebellion against central authority combined religious concerns with anti-Moscow sentiment fostered by political exiles imprisoned at Solovki. After their defeat, many monks left, ultimately to swell the number of trans-Volga eldershermits who served as spiritual fathers to disaffected Orthodox communities.

Solovki remained an active monastery and popular pilgrimage site until the October Revolution, after which the Soviet government transformed it into a military training camp. It became a labor camp in the 1920s and 1930s for political prisoners. Abandoned soon afterward, Solovki was reopened as a museum in the 1970s, then closed again until the end of Soviet rule, when it was reopened to the public.

See also: kirill-beloozero monastery; monasticism; old believers; simonov monastery; trinity st. sergius monastery


Michels, Georg. (1992). "The Solovki Uprising: Religion and Revolt in Northern Russia." Russian Review 51:115.

Spock, Jennifer B. (1999). "The Solovki Monastery, 14601645: Piety and Patronage in the Early Modern Russian North." Ph.D. diss. Yale University.

Jennifer B. Spock

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Solovki Monastery." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . 20 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Solovki Monastery." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . (January 20, 2019).

"Solovki Monastery." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved January 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.