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Zvirynets Caves in Kiev

Zveirynets Cave complex is a unique underground monastery, located in Kiev. The caves were discovered in the late XIX century, and then partially reconstructed. Nowadays, the monastery has the status of Zvirynets Caves in Kievarchaeological monument of national importance. The monks continue to conduct the services in the cave church of the Miracle of Archangel Michael at Chonae. The construction of the new churches near the entrances to the caves has been conducted. There is a skete of the Ionynskyi monastery and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin.

The history of the  Zvirynets Monastery goes back to the old times. Archaeologists and scientists believe that the complex was built in the XI century; some scientists suppose that it is older than the Lavra Caves. There are suggestions that the legendary book collection of Yaroslav the Wise was stored the caves. According to historical sources, Zvirynets caves were inhabited by the Byzantine missionaries.

In the XIII century, during the Mongol-Tatar invasion, the monastery fell into disrepair. Most of the caves were blocked and remained unknown for seven centuries. By 1911, due to strong landslides two cavernous galleries were opened. Over the next few years, more than 200 monks' burials were excavated. Zvirynets cave monastery was restored owing to the active efforts of the churchmen. Soon, it became a famous pilgrimage site.

Zvirynets Caves in Kiev, Ukraine

The monastery was supported by the Prince Vladimir Zhevakhov, known for his charitable activity. Owing to his efforts, Zvirynets cave monastery obtained the status of the Lavra skete. Moreover, the Prince organized a relief fund, and invited professional archaeologists and engineers to clear the caves and to create a temple for the brethren and pilgrims. In 1924, Zhevakhov took monastic vows and in two years he began his Episcopal ministry.

Kiev, Zvirynets Caves

In Soviet times, the complex remained unknown. Full-scale excavations were resumed only in the 1880s by the Museum "Underground Kiev". By 2000, the excavations were completed; the caves were cleared and strengthen, and the services were resumed. Zvirynets Caves are a unique architectural monument visited not only by the pilgrims but also by all interested in architecture. Welcome to the monastery tours that are regularly conducted by monks.


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