11.05.2012 - Travel

Walking The Paths of “Tauride Athos”

Another miracle of Ukraine – Holy Monastery of Grigorievsky Bizyukov

On a warm and sunny southern Ukraine, with the free steppes and rapid river, located our own, the Ukrainian “Taurian Athos,” called, the Holy Monastery Grigorievsky Bizyukov. Why is this place also called the “Tauride Athos?” Because it is a monastery, more than two hundred years old and it is located on the gentle slopes of the high limestone cliffs of Kakhovka reservoir. It is known that in the early 20th century monastery Bizyukov spiritually ranked as the second in the Ukrainian lands (after the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra) and was considered the religious center of the south. The monastery is located in the village of Krasny Mayak Berislavskogo district, in Kherson region.


The rocks and caves, or the mysteries of monks of Tavria

The special feature of the monastery is its caves and underground passages, which paved the monks in the 18th century. In fact, the “underground life” of the monastery is even more interesting and more mysterious than its tip, which is available to every ordinary tourist. Under the ground in the monastery – the real maze, which has not been fully investigated and discovered. According to the legend, the founder of the Monastery Archimandrite Theodosius, an Orthodox priest from Moldova, during the invasion of the Turks escaped thanks to the underground passages, because, having found peace in the land of Tavria, and then decided to lay the same subterranean passage from the monastery. But in one passage his intentions did not complete. First came the course from the central church of a monastery to the cave, cut through a steep slope of a limestone cliff. Through this course the ascetic monks who went to the cave to pray and fast, were given crackers and water from the monastery. But later, the territory under the shrine has become a completely planned and designed an extensive network, like a maze. The monks even went so far as to cut through the path under the water to the ship with food, so it did not have to come to the shore, and almost in the middle of the river the monks took the food from the ship and came back to the monastery, directly into the dining room.

The monastic town

By the late 19th century on the territory of the monastery has had five churches, in addition to one central cathedral – the Cathedral of the Ascension. At the beginning of the 20th century the monastery was similar to the spacious and densely populated, “the Orthodox camp”, which was located in an area of ​​45h7, 5 kilometers from the area of ​​32 hectares. The income of the town was 500-800 thousand gold rubles (for comparison, the Solovki monastery had income of 500,000 gold rubles). 910 people worked in the monastery. It operated mills and wineries, oil mills and molokarnya, which produced cottage cheese. There were beehives, there were two fish factories, one of whom gave up the lease. In the area of ​​the beam located near Propasnoy stables and various workshops. The smithy and a tile-brick manufacture operated there. A special place was reserved for the lime. Lime decades prepared by special technology were used in permanent construction. The buildings of the monastery, which survived two wars, the period of Stalin’s destruction are preserved to this day, show the properties of such a consummate processing technology of lime. Not so long ago have been discovered in the vicinity of the stocks of the old monastery workshops. The strength of materials can be seen by every visitor, because ceilings are lined with brick fraternal body (now a hotel for pilgrims), and other structures are preserved in the monastery until today.

In the early twentieth century, the monastery had already ensured their own electricity. The archives kept such a record, “power station in which the two gas generators, two motor forces of 30 to them, 2 water pump diameter of 700 buckets of water per hour each, charge batteries, dynamos, motor 23 forces and all other accessories complete plant equipment. ..” In 1924 the plant was ruined. The monastery still supplies the village with water. The water supply system operates till today.

The flow of pilgrims and worshipers to the monastery was endless. In the early twentieth century to worship the image of the Miracle of the Holy Mother of God Kasperovskaya they came to several thousand. The monastery housed and fed the pilgrims for free. The seminary and the hospital operated in the territory of the monastery.

Interested in the sacred abode even the nobility of Moscow and St. Petersburg came to visit the monastery. Especially for the famous pilgrims was built the hotel on the picturesque banks of the river. The monastery was a favorite place of Russian Orthodox kings at the time of Catherine II. The Grand Empress often visited it. In 1916, the Holy Monastery Grigorievsky Bizyukov visited the family of Tsar Nicholas II. In Stalin’s time the hotel for the nobles was converted into the kindergarten.

The test of time, weapons and the Soviets

How then such a respectable, prosperous and populated monastery almost completely sunk into oblivion? Why is it hardly known among the public? Since the beginning of the civil revolution in the under Russian Empire lands, hard times had began in the life of the sanctuary. In 1919 the monastery was attacked by a gang of Makhno. They demanded money from the monks, and when they refused to give them, the assailants locked the servants in the cellar and killed all of them. Monks in the monastery at that time were about 1,800. Since then, the blood of murdered monks still comes out on the walls of the basement, no one can erase it, or paint it. So far no one has found where ithe monks had hidden the gold – it’s another one secret of the monastery.

An interesting fact is that the beginning of Mikhail Bulgakov’s play “The Run” probably begins in the Gregory-Bizyukivskomu monastery. Reminding the beginning of the work: “filling the abbey church somewhere in Northern Tavria” and the replica of Golubkov, “… They are at the bottom of Dungeons … Obviously, the cave, as in Kiev. ” Besides, there were only one monastery in Northern Tavria, where there are caves, – Gregory-Bizyukivsky.

But the tests of the strength of the monastery were just beginning. It witnessed the creation of a collective farm “Red Lighthouse,” and visits to the commission to seize church property and lease the American colonists. The monastery obtained “on its own brick” all the “charms” of Soviet power: the Young Communist League Party School on the site of the seminary and kultmassovuyu work within the walls of the Pokrovsky Cathedral. In 1967, Ascension Cathedral was destroyed. Since that time there were only three great arches, on the altar of which, the strokes every year build their nests. Soon after demolishing two arches, the third could not be ruined, no matter how people were trying. Steel cable, hooking, pulling it with three tractors, undermined the foundation and laid the explosives – all to no avail. In 1969, the eve of the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s bulldozers cut the monastery’s cemetery. Demolished and destroyed the old stone crosses and headstones, the graves of saints were opened. Old-time livers of the village recalled that at the burial ground opened incorruptible relics of saints. Everything was taken to an unknown destination. Remains of bones, which were able to gather, the locals were hiding in boxes and buried outside the village.

Rebirth from the ashes

The revival of the monastery began only in 1992 and continues till this day. For about ten years, the head of the monastery is Archimandrite Theodosius. Serve in the Gregory-Bizyukov two monks and a secular priest. That’s such a humble group of men on their own feet and cheer the old, worn out the fate of the monastery, return it to its former glory. The locals are also helping, because the village’s life has long been associated closely with the Orthodox shrine. In the monastery there are pilgrims from different cities of Ukraine and even Russia, it provide humanitarian aid to orphanages and hospitals.

According to Archimandrite Theodosius, it is not they, the servants, who restore the monastery, support it, and that the monastery has been living his own life and the holy people united by a circle of light of goodness, peace and mutual aid. And as long as the source of the light runs out on the Taurian land, the monastery will live and fill the lives of their parishioners with this light.

Anastasiia Vlasova