Panorama of the Far-off and Nearby caves, Kiev
Assumption Cathedral in Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Kiev
Church of the Blessed Virgin’s Nativity, Kiev
Address: 21, I. Mazepa’s Street, Kiev.
Phone: +38 (044) 2901177, 2900866.
Opening Hours: 9:30 - 18:00
Opening Hours n the spring and summer: 9:00 - 19:00
Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is the most famous monastery in Eastern Europe, one of the most sacred sites of Orthodox Christianity. It is also venerated as the most ancient monastery of Rus. Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is included in the World Heritage List. Since 1990 it has been protected by UNESCO. Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is the third most important site after Jerusalem and the holy Mount Athos for the Orthodox Christians. The monastery was founded in 1051. The founders of the monastery - Saints Anthony and Theodosius – made their choice. Their choice was to spend many hours praying in the caves. There the traditions of the monastic life in Russia were started. Lavra is Greek for a big and venerated monastery. Pechersk is derived from Old Russian word meaning a cave.
There are relics of about 120 saints in the caves. The pilgrims are attracted to the site by the possibility to pray at the relics of the saints. Some diseases can be cured while praying to the relics in the caves. This phenomenon cannot be explained by modern scientists. There are Upper grounds and Lower grounds in Lavra. During the World War II the Assumption cathedral was mined and blown up by the Bolsheviks. It was rebuilt only in 2000. Now the murals inside of the Assumption Cathedral are being renovated too.
The unique Holy Trinity Gate Church was constructed in the 11th century. And 96 m high Lavra bell tower is the highest bell tower in Ukraine. The Refectory Church was designed by the great Russian architect P. Schusev. There are burial sites of many prominent representatives of lay and clergy such as Metropolitan Petro Mohyla, field marshals P. Rumyantsev and F. Osten-Saken, Prime Minister of Russian Empire P. Stolypin, some Kievan governors-general, Archbishop Antony (Abashidze), General Clerk V. Kochubey and historian D. Scherbakovsky.
There are some museums in the area of the Upper Lavra. You can visit the Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine, the museums of printing, holograms, miniatures, as well as the museum of music, theater and film-making.
Primate of Ukrainian Orthodox Church,
His Beatitude Metropolite of Kyiv and all Ukraine Volodymyr
and General director of the Kyiv-Pechersk national sanctuary
visited exhibition “Under the Pokrova of the Birth-Giver of God”
in the exhibition hall of Uspenskyi cathedral.
of the Kyiv-Pechersk national sanctuary
Primate of Ukrainian Orthodox Church,
“THE SANCTUARY IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN
THE SACRAL AND SOCIETY CULTURES”
On the high slopes of right bank of Dnipro shines Uspenska Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, crowned by gold domes. It is sanctuary of The Most Holy our Lady, cradle of monkhood of Kyiv Rus and stronghold of orthodox faith. According to the Ancient Legend of the Church, Saint Apostle Andrii blessed the slopes of Dnipro during his Christian mission to the lands of Scythians. He said to his disciples: “Do you see these hills? The divine grace lies on these hills and a city will arise, and many churches will be built in the Name of God”. So, with the first temples of Kyiv Rus a Lavra monastery became realization of prophetic words.
Now Lavra slopes are territory of National Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary. The architectural ensemble consists of monuments of ХII-ХХ centuries, and actually is one large exposition under the open sky.
— Mrs, Gromova, can you describe the National Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary to a visitor, who comes here for the first time?
— Kyiv is extraordinarily rich in potentially attractive for the guests of the capital sights. However, only one monument became the undoubted symbol of our famous city, known in far away countries. Yes, it is the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. It was and remains one of the most sacred places of the orthodox world owing to the unique ancient cave labyrinths and pantheon of well-known saints. The cultural and spiritual significance of Lavra is highly appreciated by the international community − in 1990 the architectural complex of the Kyiv-Pechersk lavra and Sofia Kyivska were put on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
During difficult in ideological sense decades National Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary became the structure, which preserved, investigated and propagandized cultural and historical heritage of prominent monastery, and built the bridge of unity between sacral and society cultures. Today the sanctuary fund collections, which count over 70 thousand exhibits offers to the visitors the unique synthesis of country history, cultures of XI-ХХ centuries and the Kyiv landscape of inimitable beauty.
— Who are the main visitors of the sanctuary − residents of Kyiv or guests of the capital? Who come here more often?
— Lavra is an unique brand of not only the capital but also of all Ukraine, that’s all. According to the museum sociological questioning, National Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary is a priority place of leisure for numerous guests of the city. According to the statistics, 724185 guests visited the sanctuary last year and during the first half of the present year 330 thousand guests visited the sanctuary.
— What is the message of the sanctuary to the public opinion? Are there any scientifically-elucidative events, which arouse interest of domestic and foreign scientists?
— The sanctuary is authoritative research institution. The scientific activity proceeds in a few directions: research, scientific fund, scientific display, scientific publishing and scientific elucidation. Certainly, the priority researches of the scientists of the sanctuary is study of fund collection, the architectural ensemble, history of the Кyiv-Pechersk lavra not only in the context of Ukrainian history and culture but also in the context of history of Orthodox Church, history of law, history of creation and development of monastic complexes of Kyiv.
Three annual scientific conferences, held in the sanctuary, became a good tradition for the Ukrainian and European scientific community: “Моhylanska reading”, “Orthodoxy − science − society: matters of co-operation”, “Nestor’s studio”. The participants of these scientific conferences are representatives of scientific institutions of Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Byelorussia, USA, and Israel. The dialog of sanctuary research workers with colleagues from State historical-cultural sanctuary “Moscow Kremlin”, Central museum of the old Russian art named after A. Rublyov, State Hermitage, Federal state institution of culture the “All-Russian museum association “State Тretyakovskaya gallery””, National Arts museum of Republic of Belarus, Academy named after Jan Długosz (Poland) became traditional.
From March till May, 2010 there was an exhibition named “Gold epoch of the Ukrainian icon of ХVI-ХVII centuries”, in Ancona, Italy. And now people inUSA have the opportunity to see some unique pieces of national cultural heritage of Ukraine − ancient icons, crosses, liturgical fabrics, old printed books. Our sanctuary displays them in Museum of biblical art in New York as part of international exhibition project “Ukraine − to the world”.
National Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary actively co-operates with the National Board of Ukraine for cooperation with UNESCO. In particular, due to proclaimed by United Nations and UNESCO the 2010 to be the International year of rapprochement of cultures, an international seminar “The role of religious communities in the managing of the objects of world heritage” with the assistance of the of UNESCO World heritage Centre will be held in the beginning of November in Ukraine. Its primary purpose was to create a platform for discussions and dialog between known international experts, governing authorities, local leaders and representatives of different religious communities of the world, to come to a general decision about the improvement of long-term management. Also within the boards of the seminar participants discuss the study and practical application of national and international law for collaboration between a state and religious communities to maintain objects of world heritage and the role of religious communities in the processes of maintenance of the cultural heritage.
As regards the scientifically-elucidative activity of the sanctuary, for example, there are our free public lectures “Kyiv-Pechersk lavra. History and contemporaneity”, − which are held from the end of 1990th. Pupils of Kyiv schools, disabled children from boarding-schools, students, and veterans of work, large families, and even convicted persons became active participants of the lectures. Our sanctuary is one of the very few museum institutions of Ukraine, which provide lectures in children's homes. Within the boards of lectures our scientists deliver about 150 lectures annually, having from 5000 to 7500 listeners participating.
— The government granted considerable sum for the restoration of the architectural monuments of the Кyivо-Pechersk lavra. What it was used for?
— According to the Decision of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on April, 14, the Governmental special-purpose program of preparation for the 2012 FIFA Europe Cup, includes the following financing of the slope protection measures and repair-restoration measures of monuments and territory of the National Кyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary in 2008-2011 (147 millions 650 thousand hryvnias granted). Due to the aforementioned program for the last two years (2008-2009) directly to the National Кyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary 2 millions 943 thousands hryvnias actually were granted. Although according to the mentioned state program the sum of 43 millions 750 thousand hryvnias should be given over these two years. Available money was expended for realization of repair-restoration works and development of scientifically-project documentation on the monuments of architecture. The program provides financing of 41 million 900 thousand hryvnias for the present year.
At the same time the budgetary program for “Realization of slope protection measures and engineering defence of territory of Кyiv-Pechersk Lavra”, which was financed last year by Ministry of regional development includes 7 million hryvnias. Only 299 thousands 500 hryvnias were actually granted for development of scientifically-project documentation for “Strengthening of monasterial walls (corps №92) and reconstruction of breastwall along Blyzhnyopecherna Street”. Remaining sum of 6 millions 700 thousand hrn. − Ministry of regional development sent to the Svyato-Uspenska Kyiv-Pechersk lavra (friary) on implementation of the mentioned program.
— As we know from the records − in ancient times a sum of 100 hryvnias was spent on building of the Uspenskyi cathedral on lavra territory. It would be interesting to know, how much hryvnias the present renewal of cathedral requires? When the restoration will be finished?
— As for today, the re-creation of the cathedral requires about 221 million hryvnias, and 61 million is already spend on implementation of the program. Due to lack of financing in 2008-2009 there were no renewal measures for the interiors of the Uspenskyi cathedral. According to the 2012 FIFA Europe Cup preparation program a sum of 160 million hryvnias is budgeted for the restoration of the cathedral: in particular, 77 millions hryvnias in 2010, and 83 million hryvnias in 2011.
— Does lavra has devotees? Who does help in workaday troubles of Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary?
— Due to support of government and, in particular, Ministry of culture and tourism of Ukraine, National Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary gets sufficient financing for the solving of all problems.
— There are rumours that destruction of the historical monuments on the territory of Kyiv-Pechersk lavra can lead even to exclusion of lavra from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Is it possible? Is lavra in danger?
— In Ukraine there are only three architectural pearls, acknowledged by UNESCO as the monuments of world significance, objects of cultural heritage of all mankind. Two of them − the architectural complex of the Kyiv-Pechersk lavra and Sofia Kyivska – were added to the UNESCO World heritage List almost 20 years ago, on December, 10, 1990. The state, having such monuments on its territory is obliged to protect, study and popularize the cultural heritage not only before the local citizens but also before all humanity.
In my opinion, rumours about the exclusion of Kyiv-Pechersk lavra from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites are spread by people who don’t care about the international image of the country. In March, 2009 we received visitors from UNESCO. They really made some certain remarks which we must take into consideration and improve the situation. I think we will succeed, because the government of Ukraine understands that its important for our country.
Therefore there is no reason to exclude Кyiv-Pechersk lavra from World heritage Sites. In order to accept such decision, it is necessary to deprive the monument of his international significance. In other words it is as to eliminate the reason of this monument being entered in the List. For example, last year UNESCO World heritage Committee passed a resolution to exclude from World heritage List the valley of the river of Elba in Dresden, Germany. The reason was building of the bridge in the core of cultural landscape. For the city it appeared more important, than to be in UNESCO World heritage Sites. In Ukraine sights of the country are inviolable; the government assign sufficient funds to develop them.
— Is there something that does worry you as the Director of the Кyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary?
— The essential question is completion of all necessary repair-restoration works. I’m sure that with governmental help the Кyiv-Pechersk lavra will reserve the rank of the pearl of the orthodox world.
Being the part of UNESCO World heritage List means that land siting, privatizing and building on the territories of cultural monuments must halt. However, unfortunately, there are some decisions of the Kyiv city council about the transfer into the ownership of lands in the guarded areas of National Кyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary. For example, by decision on September, 25, 2003 an area of 0,83 ha, located on the Lavra provulok, 9 in the Pechersk district, given for "a long lease for a term of 25 years for building, exploitation and maintenance of hotel complex with the improved services and underground parking place.
Another example: in July, 2005 Kyiv house-operating administration body gave areas, located in the guarded area of the sanctuary on Ivan Маzepa Str, №38 and №40, to the Department of building of Ministry of defence of Ukraine.
The transfer of property of the sanctuary to the community property of territorial community of Kyiv, whilst the sanctuary actually is subordinated to the Ministry of culture and tourism of Ukraine is an urgent matter. It would be of a great assistance for the improvement of financing the restoration works and a good decision which meet the requirements of budgetary Code of Ukraine. According to these documents, the objects of national significance must refer exactly to the state property.
Traditionally in monasteries there are wonderful gardens symbolizing the paradisial garden. Once, such gardens were in lavra too. By the general layout of the development of the sanctuary which is included in the list of tasks of the Governmental special purpose program of preparation of 2012 FIFA Europe cup in Ukraine it is provided to implement the complex project of landscape gardening and planting of greenery on the territory of the sanctuary and also study of the basis of historical dendrology.
Me as the General Director of the National Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary am concerned by the question of arrangement of workplaces of employees of the sanctuary. Because of the lack of sufficient places and apartments for exhibitions we are about to decide to move out from the territory of Kyiv-Pechersk historical-cultural sanctuary off-site organizations which are not connected with regulation tasks and functioning of the Svyato-Uspenska Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra friary.
— In your opinion, what do our descendants see in 2051 on the millennial anniversary of Lavra?
— I’m sure that till 2051 all necessary works will be finished in order to our descendants would be able to enjoy the unique monument of all orthodox humanity. However all is in our power.
Media-center of the “Prime excursion bureau”