An Orthodox religion icon was ordered by the peasant Evphimiy, to who saint Pavel predicted healing by an icon. While he was painting, his health was improving and by the moment he brought the icon for sanctification, he had fully recovered.
According to the local tale, in 1636 widow Maria from Tatar settlement Abalak, 30 km away from Tobolsk, had a dream of the Icon of Virgin Mary Oranta (Our lady of the Sign) with icons of Saint Nicholas and Mary of Egypt on the sides. The Mother of God ordered to build a church in Abalak in honour of the icon, with side-altars of the two saints. When the archbishop knew about that, he ordered to start the building. At the turn of the 17-18th centuries the whole complex of stone cathedrals was complete: Znamensky cathedral (built 1683-1691), cathedral in honour of Saint Nicholas (built 1748-1750), the cathedral of Mary of Egypt with a bell tower (built 1752-1759). In 1783, by the request of Tobolsk and Siberian bishop Varlaam, Svyato-Znamensky monastery was opened.
In the XIX century the monastery was rebuilt not once. Its community never exceeded 15 people. At the beginning of the 20th century 57 monks from Varlaamsky monastery were sent here, and handicraft schools and hospitals for Khanty, Selkup and Nenets children were opened.
In the 1920 several monks were repressed, because they objected to confiscation of the church values. In 1927 in the monastery, which became the renewers` property, Metropolitan Pyotr (Polyansky) was imprisoned. In the 1930s, the renewed church was destroyed, a boarding school and household buildings were placed in the monastery, in the altar of the Trinity Church was a smithy, and in the cathedral itself was a garage.
In 1989 the cathedral with the destroyed churches and monastery building was returned to Omsk and Tyumen Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Next to the monastery there is a wooden fort. It is a tourist complex Abalak, which is a reconstructed Siberian fort of the period of the conquest of Siberia by Yermak Timofeyevich.
Contacts: Tobolsk region, Abalak, +7(3456)33-12-79 (tourist complex)
Working hours, directions and price list are here: www.abalak.su.