sviatohirski

sviatohirski is a monastery, and a 3 hour drive from mama's front door. i have been to ukraine several times now and have yet to see this amazing, historical sight. i told illya this trip,
"come rain or shine, we are going to the sviatohirski monastery!"
... instead, we got snow.


(
first picture borrowed from the website)
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sviatohirski is rich in history, which dates back to the 16th century, where the monastery originated on the banks of the river. when the ukrainians and the mongolians were fighting for the land, the monks made the decision to move their home and church 393 ft up the mountain for safety (wise move!).

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they carved caves to live and worship right into the side of the cliff. they made st. nickolas cathedral on the top of the mountain, where, to this day, it remains and has this amazing view around itself....

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we were able to travel the man made, chalk caves
(
for a price, of course)
to see just how the monks lived all those many years ago. just imagine;
miles of narrow tunnels and many windowless rooms, all seen by just the light your candle.
interesting, exciting, and claustrophobic all in one! i think the part that got to illya was when our tour guide monk, pointed to a dark cavern and stated in russian,

"...Eto tam gde poxoroneny monaxi..."

("...and here is where the monks were buried...")
yes, at that point, we BOTH were ready to leave the caves!

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we exited at the very top of the mountain and then enjoyed the hour long trek back down the mountain. the views were amazing all around us. we saw more churches along the way...

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...and even saw some farm land, dusted with snow. here, our friend, artyom, wanted to use me in the picture as his "wife"...
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...and then it was illya's turn...
(yep, he's single, ladies!)
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sviatohirski isn't just a "museum" of historical facts. it's an actual, running monastery for the monks and it's followers to this day.

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but, that hasn't always been the case. back in soviet times, this orthodox church
(like so many other churches),
were taken over, shut down and horrendously turned into such things as movie houses, "spas" & even a place for storage.


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it wasn't until late 2000 that it was restored and sanctified again to run as a working church, like the holy assumption cathedral here...
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and, as you can see, after its' devastating history, it still is breathtaking...

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p.s. if you are wondering to yourself, "why is sarah wearing pants AND a skirt? is that a ukrainian fashion?" my answer is, no! i have not stepped back into the 90's with that whole layered look thing. here, women have to wear skirts & also keep their heads covered out of respect... hey, i don't make the rules! i just follow them.

4 comments:

  Hilary and Brian

6:31 PM

yAy I'm the first to leave you a comment! probably because as soon as I saw you blogged it on facebook I bolted to it! I so wish I could become a monk just to live there, and I still think that one guy with the long gray beard should be in harry potter! We should bring back the pants under the skirt haha its soooo sexy! oh and p.s. I love the first picture of you, your so freaking bEaUtiFuL!!

  The Paxton Family

10:37 PM

yeah, Hilary is right, you ARE so beautiful :-)
I love the pictures, it is SO amazing that you have the opportunity to travel like that. The pictures are amazing, the story REALLY amazing and tragically beautiful.
Thanks for finally updating your blog some more ;-)

  Piter and Heidi

11:51 PM

I remember when Piter and Illya sent me pictures when they got to go there with their work...These are different angles and very good...why can't we see them closer...did you put a block on them or did flicker?

  Adam and Dantzelle

2:07 PM

LOVE all your pics! They are amazing. Both of you are so talented with photography! Ukraine looks amazing. I am glad you had fun on your trip! Now us four should get together and backpack through europe! Wouldn't that be so sweet!!???