The first ruler to make a pilgrimage to the Trinity Lavra was the Great Prince Dmitry of the Don, a contemporary of St Sergius. He went to Sergius for confession, time and time again. The Prince also did so before setting out to the decisive battle against the Mongols to the Kulikovo Field, a name as famous in Russia as Hastings or Gettysburg is in the West. There, on the bank of the river Don, Sergius's blessing helped Dmitry to gain a historic victory over Mongols; thereafter he was always known as Dmitry of the Don.
Thus was laid the foundation of a tradition: the tzars would visit the Lavra before any important undertaking. These frequent and sumptuous processions, the royal pilgrimages, were especially spectacular in the 17th century.