Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign (Yaroslavl)


August 11, 2022

The Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign is an Orthodox gate church in the historical center of Yaroslavl, built at the Vlasyevskaya fortress tower. It was founded in 1861 on the site of a chapel in honor of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign, painted on the wall of the tower in the 17th century.


The image of the Sign of the Mother of God was written above the gate on the eastern wall of the Vlasievskaya tower of the Earthen City during its construction in 1660. He personified the heavenly patronage and intercession of the city. Passing and driving through these gates, the Yaroslavl people marked themselves with the sign of the cross and prayed before this holy image. According to legend, a wooden staircase with a platform was first made to the image of the Mother of God of the Sign, and then a small wooden chapel “on pillars” was attached to the wall of the tower, where “there is always an inextinguishable candle”. The chapel belonged to the nearby Vlasiev Church. On the day of the celebration of this icon on November 27, an all-night vigil was served. In 1736, the chapel was transferred to the Afanasiev Monastery at the request of Abbot Jonah. The reason was the lack of funds at the monastery, as a result of which Archbishop Joachim ordered: “At the image of the Sign of the Mother of God, which is on the tower of the Vlasevsky Gates, to send prayers of the Yaroslavl Afanasiev Monastery to the hieromonks and all the alms that go to this image are used in favor of that monastery.” In 1779, a stone chapel was erected instead of a wooden one. In 1850, through the efforts of the abbot of the Afanasiev Monastery, Innokenty, the chapel was expanded and decorated with paintings inside. In 1861, at the expense of Arseny Ivanovich Olovyanishnikov, a stone church was erected on the site of the chapel, consecrated in the name of the icon of the Sign of the Mother of God. The temple remained attached to the Afanasevsky monastery. Soon the church became too crowded for the pilgrims who came to pray at the icon. In 1896 vicar Ioanniky drew up and agreed with the City Duma a plan to expand the church by 6.4 meters in length and 8 meters in height. Work began in April 1897, and already on December 21 the new church was consecrated by His Grace Ioannikios. The revered image of the Sign of the Mother of God remained in its original place. One dome with a gilded dome and a cross was erected on the temple. The eastern outer side of the temple was decorated with oil paintings.