October 26, 2014

1319 UKRAINE (Donetsk Oblast) - Sviatohirsk Lavra

Named also the Holy Mountains Lavra, due to the surrounding mountains, Sviatohirsk Lavra is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery (a lavra) located on the right bank of the Seversky Donets River. The first monks settled in the area in the 14th century, but the first written mention of the monastery was in 1526, and in 1624 it was officially recognized as the Sviatohirsk Uspensky Monastery. During times of the Crimean Khanate it was invaded a couple of times, being restored in 1787, and in 1844.

The lavra's main Dormition Cathedral was designed by Alexey Gornostaev, who included a traditional Byzantine tower. Before WWI It was inhabited by approximately 600 monks, in 1922 it was rebuilt and converted into a residence, and during the 1930s it was destroyed by the Soviets. After the fall of the Soviet Union the monastery was restored again. In the end of the ХVII century it was a huge five-storey cave complex, towering nearly 50m above the ground, but the rock carved with numerous tunnels and paths partly collapsed / three upper storeys disappeared almost completely.

Nevertheless, the two lower storeys that have survived still boggle the imagination of visitors. The cave church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker carved deep into the cretaceous rock was the main shrine of the monastery for a long time. A cave extending 400m in length and only 60cm width leading to the rock premises of the monastery has also survived to this day. Nowadays Svyatogorsk Lavra is a miraculously beautiful architectural ensemble in the mature Classical style.

Its focus is the grandiose Uspenski Cathedral (Assumption Cathedral), while the the centrepiece of the complex is the Pokrovsky Church with the campanile and the main entrance to the monastery. Its blue dome decorated with golden stars instantly draws a look, it has long become a kind of lighthouse for many pilgrims.

About the stamps
The stamps, depicting Astrakhan Kremlin, Novgorod Kremlin and Moscow Kremlin, are part of the series Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

Holy Mountains Lavra - Wikipedia
Sviatogorskaya Lavra - travel.flyuia.com

Sender: Tatiana
Sent from Shakhty (Rostov Oblast / Russia), on 13.09.2014

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