Mezhyhirskyi Monastery

Mezhyhirskyi Monastery

The Mezhyhirskyi MonasteryRef_label|A|a|none ( _uk. Межигірський монастир) was a historic Cossack monastery located near the city of Vyshhorod in Kiev Oblast (province) of northern Ukraine. The complex was situated in the Mezhyhirya ravine, on the right bank of the Dnieper River ("Dnipro").

Founded in 988 AD, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery was one of the first monasteries established in the East Slavic state of Kievan Rus'. [cite news|title=The whole truth about the "Residence of Yanukovych"|url=|work=UNIAN|publisher=Golos|date=August 17, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-27|language=Russian] Throughout its existence, it was destroyed, and then restored numerous times, yet it was not spared destruction by Soviet authorities in 1935. At the time of its height, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery was considered a spiritual center of the Cossacks. [cite news|title=American dream. In Ukrainian|url=
work=Lvivska Hazeta|date=August 2, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-27|last=Redko|first=Dmytro|language=Ukarinian
] [cite web|url=|title=Ivan Mazepa: Hetman, which let the world honour Ukraine|accessdate=2007-12-27|work=Prosvita|language=Ukrainian]

As an important monastery of the Zaporozhian Host, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery left a rich legacy behind it. The monastery was mentioned in one of Taras Shevchenko's poems, "Chernets," written in 1847, [cite web|url=|title=Chernets| accessdate=2007-12-26|date=1847|last=Shevchenko|first=Taras|authorlink=Taras Shevchenko|work=Poetyka|language=Ukrainian] and was the subject of a drawing by him. Nikolai Gogol's novel, "Taras Bulba," published in 1835, also mentions the monastery. [cite web|url=|title=Successor of the Hetmans|accessdate=2007-12-27|date=June 28, 2007|work=Krymska Svitlytsia|language=Ukrainian]


Foundation and early history

According to records analyzed by bibliologist Yevgeniy Bolkhovitinov from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, [cite paper|last=Lysenko|first=Valeriy|title=Legends and treasures of the Mezhyhorod place|publisher=The Ukrainian Information Project|date=2007|url=|format=Word document|accessdate=2007-01-05|language=Ukrainian] the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery was founded by the first Metropolitan of Kiev, Michael, along with Greek monks arriving from Byzantium in 988 AD.cite web|url=|title=Kyievo-Mezhyhirskyi Monastery (did not survive) (ХІІ-ХІХ c.)|accessdate=2007-12-26|work=OKO-architectural and local interest site|language=Ukrainian]

In 1154, the Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal Yuri Dolgoruki divided the territory surrounding the monastery's grounds amongst his sons.cite web|url=|title=Kyievo-Mezhyhirksyi Spaso-Preobrazhenskyi Monastyr|accessdate=2007-12-27|work=Government historical-cultural reserve in the city of Vyshhorod|language=Ukrainian] His son Andrei I Bogolyubsky received the lands nearest to the monastery, now the city of Vyshhorod. Not too long afterwards, he moved the monastery to its current location in the hills of the Dnieper, giving the monastery its name, "Mezhyhirskyi."Ref_label|B|b|none Bogolyubsky despised the city of Kiev, therefore moving to Suzdal, in modern-day Russia. On his trip, he took with him the "Theotokos of Vladimir" icon, a gift from Constantinople Patriarch Luke Chrysoberges to Dolgoruki. [cite news|last=Pokotilo|first=Olga|title=To hear the sounds of that shore|url=|work=Den|date=May 18, 2006|accessdate=2008-01-05|language=Russian] The icon is one of the most venerated Orthodox icons, located in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

With the Mongol invasion of Rus' by Batu Khan in 1237-40, the monastery was completely destroyed. It was yet again attacked in 1482, this time by the Crimean Tatars led by Meñli I Giray. Reconstruction on the monastery began only 40 years later. In 1523, the monastery was transferred to the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund I. In addition, the monastery was given a full reign over its territory. In 1555, the complex consisted of four churches, including and one cave church.

As a cossack monastery

During the 16th century, the monastery frequently lost and regained its ownership rights. On the funds of the monastery's new hegumen Afanasiy (a protégé of prince Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski), the monastery's old buildings were demolished, and new ones were built in their place. In 1604, the Gate Church of Ss. Peter and Paul was constructed, in 1609 - the Mykilska Refectory, and the Transfiguration Cathedral in 1609-1611. Under his rule, the monastery was considered as the second lavra (cave monastery) in Ukraine.Ref_label|C|c|none

After its reconstruction, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery became a regional center of the Zaporozhian Host, serving the host as a military monastery. In 1610, the monastery received the status of a stauropegic monastery (orthodox church autonomy), under the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The universal (act) of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky issued on May 21, 1656 transferred the neighboring settlements of Vyshhorod, Novy Petrivtsi, and Moshchany under control of the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery. In effect, the universal made Khmelnytsky the monastery's ktitor.Ref_label|D|d|none

After the destruction of the Trakhtemyrivskyi Monastery by a Polish szlachta army, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery replaced it as the main cossack military monastery. As a military monastery, retired and elderly cossacks from the Zaporozhian Host would now come to the monastery to retire and live in until the end of their lives. [cite news|first=I.|last=Vikovan|title=What is hidden behind the walls of the presidential residence?|url=|work=UAКлув|date=November 12, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-27|language=Russian] At that time, the monastery's expenses were paid off with the help of the cossack's Sich Host.

In 1676, the area was burned down after a fire started in the wooden Transfiguration Cathedral. With the help of Ivan Savelov, a monk who lived in the monastery and later became a Patriarch of Moscow, [cite web|url=|title=Mezhygorskiy Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy, men's, 1st class monastery|accessdate=2007-12-27|work=Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary|language=Russian] the complex was reconstructed. Two years later, with the help of the cossack community, the Annunciation Church was constructed near the monastery's hospital.

In 1683, the Sich Rada voted that the ministers in the Sich's Pokrovskyi Cathedral (the main cathedral of the sich) should be only from the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery. In 1691, monasteries located near the Sich were placed under the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery's authority. Under hegumen Feodosiy at the end of the 17th century, considered as a period of prosperity, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery became one of the largest monastery's in Ukraine.

At the request of Peter I of Russia, the stauropegic status of the monastery was revoked; it was later reinstated in 1710. In 1717, a large fire destroyed a large portion of the monastery's buildings. The monastery's "military" status was reconfirmed by cossacks in 1735. In 1774, with the funds of the last Koshovyi Otaman Petro Kalnyshevsky, the Ss. Peter and Paul Church was reconstructed. Ukrainian architect Ivan Hryhorovych-Barskyi designed some of the buildings, including the monk's residence. [cite web|url=|title=Hryhorovych-Barksyi Ivan Hryhorovych|accessdate=2007-12-27|work=National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy|language=Ukrainian]

Disrepair, faience factory, and reconstruction

With the abolition of the Zaporozhian Host by Catherine II of Russia in 1775, the monastery (as well as others around Ukraine) was in a long state of disrepair. The remaining Zaporozhian Cossacks soon afterwards left Zaporizhia, and moved to the Kuban in modern-day southern Russia. There they founded the Kuban Cossack Host, which still exists to this day. When the cossacks left, they took with themselves some of the monastery's manuscripts, [cite web|url=|title=Section I. Slavic books with Cyrillic alphabet XVI-1st half of the XIX century.|accessdate=2007-12-27|work=Krasnodar Krai Scientific Library of A.S. Pushkin|language=Russian] some of which are now kept in the Krasnodar Krai Archive.cite news|first=I.|last=Vikovan|title=Kyievo-Mezhyhirskyi Spaso-Preobrazhenskyi Monastyr|url=|publisher=Nova Sich|date=May 20, 2006|accessdate=2007-12-26|language=Ukrainian]

In 1787, Catherine II of Russia came to Kiev ("Kyiv") for a visit and wished to see the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery. She never got to see it, because the monastery burned down in the night before her arrival.

In 1796, a German engineer found that the area had suitable clay for the making of faience, and two years later, founded the Mezhyhirskyi Faience Factory, the first one in Ukraine. By 1852, the faience factory had become the largest industrial organization in Kiev. [cite book|title=Little Encyclopedia of Kiev's Antiquities|author=Makarov, A.N.|publisher=Dovira|location=Kiev| year=2002|id=ISBN 966-507-128-9|pages=277] In 1884, the faience factory was closed down after it failed to bring any profits. [cite web|url=|title=Mezhigorye - Mezhigorskiy monastyr|accessdate=2007-12-28||language=Russian] During its existence, the factory produced tea, table, and sculptural works. [cite web|url=|title=Exhibit of items from porcelan and faience factories of Ukraine from museum collections (July 6-August 31 2005)|accessdate=2008-01-05|work=Museum of the National Ukrainian Decorative Art|language=Ukrainian]

In 1894, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery was rebuilt and transformed into a women's monastery. After its reconstruction, the monastery was transferred to the authority of the Sviato-Pokrovskyi Monastery in Kiev. [cite web|url=|title=Sviato-Pokrovskyi Monastery. Second continuation|accessdate=2007-12-27||language=Russian]

Destruction of the monastery and controversy

With the move of the Ukrainian SSR's capital from Kharkiv to Kiev in 1934, the city was in need of a suburban residence for government officials; Mezhyhirya was chosen as the site of the new government residence. [cite news |first=Kutsyi|last=Oleksandr|title=On the residence of Viktor Yanukovych an underground passage is being built|url=|work=Gazeta po-ukrayinski|date=August 3, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-26|language=Ukrainian] Before the scheduled demolition, the architecture and buildings of the monastic complex were photographed.

The decision of the Politburo in April 1935 ordered the demolition of the whole complex, which was carried out that same year. During the demolition, an underground library was discovered, full of handwritten manuscripts. [cite web|url=|title=Tale of the library of Yaroslav the Wise|accessdate=2007-12-26|last=Tsalyk|first=Stanislav|work=Biblioteka Sovremennika|language=Russian] There are speculations that the discovered books belonged to the lost library of Yaroslav the Wise, [cite news|last=Sverbyhuz|first=Volodymyr|title=Secrets of the Mezhyhirskyi Saviour|url=|work=Den|date=September 14, 2001|accessdate=2007-12-27|language=Ukrainian] [cite news|last=Pavlov|first=Mikhail|title=Life of Yaroslav|url=||date=July 9, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-27|language=Russian] or perhaps of a later period, during the times of the Zaporozhian Host. [cite web|url=|title=This book is of the Mezhigorskiy monastery|accessdate=2007-12-26|last=Slutskiy|first=A.|| language=Russian] The only thing that remains of the monastic complex is a water well. [cite news|title=Yanukovych is living in a medieval monastery|url=|work=Obozrevatel|date=August 3, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-27|language=Russian]

During Soviet times, the area served as a residence for Leonid Brezhnev and Volodymyr Shcherbytsky, who worked in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's government at the time. [cite news |last=Stakhovsky|first=Dmytro|coauthors=Tetyana Chornovil|title=Residence of Yanukovych|url=|work=UNIAN|date=August 13, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-26|language=Ukrainian] During this period, its location was concealed from the public.

Recently, the Mezhyhirya residence was amid an ownership controversy between the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and the new Ukrainian government, led by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Since the transferral of the 1.4 km² Mezhyhirya government residence in Novy Petrivtsi, Vyshhorodskyi Raion (district) to the "Nadra Ukraine" firm on July 11, 2007, the territory was no longer under government control. [cite Ukrainian law|type=Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine|number=521-р|law=521-2007-р|name=On the transferral of property to the NAK "Nadra Ukraine"|date=2007-07-11]

Subsequently, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych privatized the complex, already residing there while prime minister. At the time, the property's price was estimated at around 1 billion hryvnias ($200 million). [cite news|title=Yanukovych privitized the "Mezhigorye" residence|url=|work=TEMA|date=December 6, 2007|accessdate=2008-01-03|language=Russian] After Yulia Tymoshenko's election, her cabinet annulled the decree which transferred the property to the "Nadra Ukraine" firm, [cite Ukrainian law|type=Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine|number=1230-р|law=1230-2007-р|name=On the nullification of some decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine|date=2007-12-24] and again placed the territory under government control. [cite news|title=Tymoshenko gave away the government residence of Yanukovych|url=
work=Korrespondent|date=December 26, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-26|language=Russian
] However, on July 28, 2008, the Economic Court of Kiev City annulled the Cabinet's decision and returned the Mezhyhirya residence back under Yanukovych's ownership. [cite news|title=The court returned the Mezhigorye residence to Yanukovich|url=|work=Korrespondent|date=July 28, 2008|accessdate=2008-08-03|language=Russian]




a.Note_label|A|a|none The monastery's inhabitants referred to the monastery as the "Place of the Mezhyhorod Saviour" ( _uk. Обитель «Межигорского спаса»). See: cite book|title=Kiev, its sacred places and attractions|series=5th volume|work=Description of life in Russia|publisher=Nostalgiya|language=Russian|chapter=Malorossiya, Podoliya, and Volyn|chapterurl=

b.Note_label|B|b|none In this sense, "Mizh" (or "Mezh") translates as "between", while "hora" (or "hir") is equivalent to "hills" as in "between-the-hills".

c.Note_label|C|c|none It was referred to as the "Sviato-Mezhyhirska Lavra" ( _uk. Свято-Межигірська Лавра).

d.Note_label|D|d|none A "ktitor" is someone who provides funds for the construction and decoration of a monastery.

External links


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