In 1744 Empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta Petrovna) thanked the monastery for helping her father by granting it the highest church rank of lavra, thus making it in fact Russia's top monastery. In the mid-18th c. the Sergius Lavra was the biggest landowner in land and people. It possessed over 2K km2 of land and 106K serfs in 15 provinces and 45 towns.
In 1764 the Lavra was dispossessed of all its lands due to church secularization (land nationalization). The state took on maintaining the "staff" of 100 monks and 100 priests.