HISTORY:Description 10

On the square facing the temple of the Holy Dormition there is a church steeple containing a bell 58 pouds big (I poud = 16,38 kg).

b) The church of the Saint Apostle and Evangelist Mark, cut into the cavern rock towering the Dormition church in 1859 under the rule of Archimandrite Nicolas and thanks to the donation of the clerk of Simferopol, Marc Aivazov. Its Name-Day is celebrated on 25th April. Higher than the church, in the cavern, the sacristy and the library of the monastery are to be found.

c) The church of the Holy Emperors and equal to the Apostles, Constantine the Great and his mother Helen, built in the cavern in 1878 under Archimandrite Nicolas, thanks to the haste and extreme devotion of Elizabeth Berkova, the young daughter of a member of the Synodal College. When she died, in 1878, she was buried not far from the church she had built. This charitable woman also offered the monastery a hostel in Simferopol which encloses the church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary; the divine service is celebrated every day and the Name-Day is on 21st November.

d) The church of Saint George whose Name-Day is on 23rd April. Next to this church there are two cemeteries: a civil and a military one. Several generals and other famous personalities who gave their lives to God and to their country during the Crimea war of 1853-56.

e) A fifth little church was built on the average square of the monastery in 1896 under the rule of Archimandrite Isidore and thanks to the donations of the archbishop of Tavrida and Simferopol, Martinien. It bore the name of the first hierarch of Irkoutsk, Innokenti, that the Archbishop of Kherson and Tavrida, Innokenti, particularly venerated as his homonymous protector. This church was built in the memory of the illustrious Russian hierarch and personality, the Archbishop of Kherson and Tavrida, Innokenti, in recognition for his gifts and solicitude about the erection of the churches in Tavrida and especially for the monastic complex.

B. The Buildings of the Monastery

The most important building is the Abbot’s house, built on the medium square of the monastery under Archimandrite Nicolas, in 1862. About the same moment the two-leveled stone building, including a refectory for the monks, a kitchen with bakery and six monk cells were finished. The Archimandrites Polycarpe and Mitrophane built two cells under the rock and cut other sixteen into the rock for the other brothers. One of these cells contains an oven for the preparation of prosphoros. The cells in the rock are wet and not very fit to living conditions.

In 1867, Archimandrite Dionissi built other two stone houses on two levels on the lower side of the slope. These were meant to receive the visitors. He also erected other buildings for farming on the upper side of the slope and the holy gates with two cells at the entrance of the monastery. The icon of the Holy Dormition with an ever burning candle was placed above the gates. A. The fountains and wells of the monastery

One kilometer far from the monastery, climbing up the ravine, there is a spring at 1,5 sagene depth into the rock. In 1896, Archimandrite Isidore repaired an ancient water pipe coming from the spring. Not far from the spring there is a chapel-like pool bearing a cross and an icon of the Dormition. The water in the pool comes from the spring through the iron water pipe and then flows into a fountain laid out on the medium square of the monastery. The latter represents a one-stone jar of 1 sagene diameter bearing a bronze cross; the pure and vivid fountain water springs from the upper part of the cross. The jar is enclosed on three sides by a dome upon which there is an icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos fit into a stone nest.

The same year, Archimandrite Isidore built a water pipe to provide water for the hostel, the kitchen and the bathroom of the monastery. A well was built near the hostel and another one near the refectory.

B. The architecture of the monastery

The monastery is built on three levels.

On the highest level there are three churches: the church of the Dormition, the church of the Saint Evangelist Mark and the church of the Saints Equal to the Apostles, Constantine and Helen, 13 cavern cells and a steeple.

On the intermediary level there are Saint Innokenti’s church, the house of the Abbot (the superior of the monastery) with 3 wells and 3 cavern cells.

On the lowest level there are: the wing of the refectory with its dependencies, two wings for visitors (hostels), the holy gates and two wells.

On the left side of the ravine there are: Saint George’s church with its two cemeteries, a civil and a military one. The part of the ravine situated on the monastery land and especially its right side where lies the main sanctuary present a magnificent landscape, being coved with different trees from Southern Crimea where lots of birds are singing.

In the southern part of the monastery, in the valley, there is a mostly beautiful orchard which reminds of Gethsemani near old Jerusalem. For this reason, in 1867, a chapel was built next to the orchard and was called the chapel of Gethsemani. Only junipers grow on the mountaintop and an 83-steps ladder makes it accessible to visitors.

C. Saint Anastasia convent and collective house

In the early 1853 the Monastery of the Dormition was given the convent and collective house of Saint Anastasia on the Katcha river, 8 verstes far from the monastic complex. It included two churches: one consecrated to Saint Anastasia with its Name-Day on 22nd of December, and a smaller one, cut into the rock, and consecrated to Saint Sophie and her martyr daughters Pistis, Elpis and Agape. Its Name-Day is celebrated on 17th of September. There is a divine service every day in the convent.

D. The brothers at the Monastery of the Dormition

Presently the Monastery of the Holy Dormition, the hostel of Simferopol and the convent of Saint Anastasia shelter 60 brothers. These are: the hieromonk Arkadi (replacing the superior of the monastery), 7 hieromonks, 5 hierodeacons, 7 monks and 40 novices.

At the monastery the liturgy is celebrated every day following the rules of Mount Athos. The cleaning is made by the brothers who are sometimes helped by the pilgrims.

“Queen of the Earth, You who chose this holy rock as a dwelling, look at this holy monastery and see how it grew and extended, look at these holy churches where your Name and that of your beloved Son and our Lord are ceaselessly magnified. Look at the spiritual deeds of our brothers, at their continuous prayers and chants, their tears of repentance and humility, their ardent love for You and for your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Take this place under your all powerful protection and bestow long days upon it now and forever and ever. Amen.”

By the author of this article:

*The saint martyrs of Kherson, Ephrem, Basil, Evgueny, Eppidi, Agaphodor, Ephri and Capiton were at different times bishops of Kherson and Tavrida. They preached the Gospel and sealed their sermon by a martyr’s death in the city where later on the candle of true faith was lit for the Russians. (Meneon. March. Ch 1. The Moscow Patriarchate Publishing House.1984, p 202). The memory of the seven saint martyrs of Kherson is celebrated on 7th March.

*During the defensive war of Sebastopol, in 1854-1855, a military hospital opened at the monastery. Among the heroes’ tombs there are two remarkable ones: the tomb of the adjutant general P. Vraevski and that of the major general Wierman, who died on 4th August 1855 in the battle of the Black River.

*He died in 1898 at the Monastery of Kherson.

monastery 1890

The Monastery of the Holy Dormition in 1890.

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