The Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos was founded in the deserted forest of Pskov Oblast, among the caves of the Holy Mountain. This event marked the beginning of a great story. 1473 is considered the year the Monastery was founded. Surprisingly, this monastery has never been closed during the Soviet era, unlike other cathedrals in Russia.
This place attracted monks, who were looking for solitude and quiet life, since the 15th century was the time of the constant Tatar-Mongol invasions of Kievan Rus’. Mark, who is considered the monastery founder, also settled here.
A little bit of history
Many people wonder why the caves in the mountain are called “God-given”. The answer is very simple: they are of natural origin. The territory around the lavra belongs to Ivan Dementiev, who is an ordinary local resident. He gave the land to reverend John for use. John came to the monastery after he had become a widower. He was an ordinary priest before this tragic event. He is considered the monastery builder.
The temple was well protected from the Mongol-Tatars, but not from the German attacks. Therefore, the Pechersky Monastery became a fortress because of its strategic location, that is its proximity to the Livonian garrison. Hegumen Cornelius in his turn expanded the Assumption Monastery by building the Nikopol and Annunciation churches. He also deepened the caves so that even more monks could say prayers. Unfortunately, he was killed by Ivan the Terrible, so he was declared to be a Holy Martyr. Thanks to the labors of Hegumen Cornelius, the monastery was able to withstand the attack of the armies of:
- the Germans;
- the Swedish;
- the Poles.
Since the end of the First World War, the monastery had belonged to Estonia, which prevented the Bolsheviks from ruining it. In the 20th century, a famous priest John Krestiankin served there and was buried in the caves of the monastery after his death. The prayers said in these caves helped people to endure many life’s challenges.
It is fascinating, however, despite the fact that all the monks are buried in these caves, there is no smell of decay there. Instead of placing coffins under the ground, they are built into special openings of the cave. Therefore, this place is considered holy, because this is the burial site of the monks who helped people by saying prayers. Nowadays, a large number of religious people turn to the Pechersky Monastery to be prayed for by monks.