The Graveyard at Donskoi Monastery

Donskoi holds a special place in my heart.  It was one of the first places I stumbled upon in my adventures in Moscow.

I went there the other day to paint, and spent a lot of time walking around the beautiful grounds.  It's still a functioning monastery, even though it was originally built in the 1500's, so there are some places that are closed off.  

The monks get to live in a place like this, every day! I am jealous. (Of their surroundings, not their monkhood.)

P.S. Those are apple trees beyond the fence.  Can I just move to the country and have a farm areddy??  Is that too much to ask?

They had some beautiful frescoes on the back wall that I hadn't seen before. These guys are about twice  life-size. (That made more sense in my head...but you know what I'm saying.)

The expressions, the textural patterns, the detail...I loved it all.

So hauntingly beautiful.  And all the while, there are NO sounds of the streets in Moscow--no honking horns, no trolley buses clanking by, no chatter...just silence.  And every now and then, a bird song or the sound of the wind through the leaves.

As for the actual graveyard, it's spread out around the church.  There are some really, really old graves in there.  And a lot of beautiful ones, too.

The ones covered in soft green moss were my favorite.

Some of these little coffins are so small--many of them look like they could contain someone no bigger than 9 or 10 years old.  I don't think any of them were kids, so I'm not sure if that's because people were just that small back then, or they only contain part of the body or just the skeleton (sometimes this happens with old saints), or if it's not actually a coffin and is instead just a marker.  

I liked this little skeleton guy.  He's so friendly. 

One of my favorite depictions of Christ in the cemetery.

Donskoi is definitely on my must-see list if you come to Moscow.  And, hey, if you come in the next three weeks we can go together! What a bargain!