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Solovetsky Monastery

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In 1651, the abbot of Solovki Monastery, Ilya, was raised to the dignity of archimandrite, a title that all subsequent abbots of Solovki would hold. By this time Solovki Monastery held about 350 monks, supported by some 600 to 700 lay workers.
When Patriarch Nikon issued the revised liturgical books in 1658, the monks of Solovki looked at them as a perversion of the ancient and pure Orthodox teaching and firmly refused to accept new corrected books. Initially, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich attempted to use peaceful means to influence the monks. But, after an extended time of unsuccessful negotiations with the monks, the tsar decided to use force. Regular soldiers were sent against the recalcitrant monks. The siege of the monastery lasted for seven years, from 1668 until January 1676, before the monks were overwhelmed. Many of the monks were killed and of the survivors many became spiritual leaders of the [[Old Believers|Old Believer]] movement. While the monastery remained among the richest, its economy never recovered fully from this revolt.
In the late eighteenth century the importance of Solovki as a fortress diminished after Catherine II’s church land reforms. In 1854, during the Crimean war, two British frigates approached the monastery fortress, demanding surrender. After the monastery’s Archimandrite Alexander refused, the British conducted a nine hour cannon fire siege. Although the ships fired about 1,600 shoots, they abandoned the siege without causing any human casualties or any significant damage to the buildings of the monastery.

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