Several families of high aristocracy chose the Donskoy monastery as location of their burial vaults. The Alexander Svirsky Church, for instance, was constructed in 1796–1798 as a sepulchre of Princes Zubov. Princes Galitzine were buried in the Archangel Church (1714–1809), whereas the Church of St. John Chrysostom (1881–1891) marks the Petrushin family vault.
An old necropolis in the south-eastern part of the cloister is remarkable for its ornate tombs, executed by some of the best Russian sculptors. They mark the graves of the poets Mikhail Kheraskov and Alexander Sumarokov, the philosophers Pyotr Chaadaev and Ivan Ilyin, the historians Mikhail Shcherbatov and Vasily Klyuchevsky, the critic Vladimir Odoyevsky, the architect Osip Bove, the painter Vasily Perov, the courtier Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov, the actress Faina Ranevskaya, the general Anton Denikin, and the aviator Nikolay Zhukovsky. Some of the tombs were transferred by Soviet authorities to the Tretyakov Gallery, where no one can see them now.
A new necropolis was inaugurated in the 20th century outside monastery walls. Valentin Serov and Sergey Muromtsev were among the first notables to be interred there. After the Revolution, scores of Soviet soldiers killed during the Battle of Moscow and people executed by NKVD were secretly buried as well. The former church of St. Seraphim, situated at this cemetery, was reconstructed into the first crematorium in Moscow in 1927.