The Bizyukov Monastery has seen a great deal during the 250 years of its existence. Its tragic story will surely touch your feelings. Pilgrims from all over Ukraine come here. Tourists will also find this place interesting due to the preserved ruins of old temples, cave cells of ascetic monks, and underground passages. Further, you will learn about the history of the Monastery and the sights you may see there.
History of the monastery
The history of this place began in 1782 with the founding of the Sofronievskyi courtyard. Hegumen Theodosius applied to Prince Potemkin with a request to allocate land for the construction of a monastery and church in the Kherson province. The request was satisfied – several cells for monks and a chapel were built near the Kyzykermen (Beryslav) Fortress. As a gesture of gratitude and respect for Potemkin, the settlers built a wooden church, consecrated in the name of his patron Saint George. The church was later moved to the other bank, but in 1969 it was completely destroyed.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Monastery was renamed Novogrigorievsky. Where does the name Bizyukov come from? To understand this, let's move to the Smolensk province.
In Bizyukovo village (Smolensk region), a hermitage was founded with the Saltykov boyars’ money in the middle of the 17th century. For a long time, it ‘defended’ the Orthodoxy from Polish-Lithuanian Catholicism. After the Russian-Polish war in 1654, the monastery found itself in the composition of the Moscow State. For 150 years, the Smolensk Bizyukov Monastery experienced prosperity and downfall. In 1803, Alexander I abolished the monastery in the Smolensk province and converted the Novogrigorievsky hermitage into a second-class regular Gregory’s Bizyukov Monastery.
In the 19th century, the Bizyukov Monastery was actively developing. The Intercession Church was built here and the governorship was established. Church ministers – abbots, arch-flamen, rectors of seminaries and schools – were spiritually trained there. Ascetic monks settled in the skete caves along the Dnipro River. By the end of the 19th century, there were already five churches and one Ascension Cathedral there. The vaults of the temples were painted by Italian artists.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Bizyukov monastery grew big and rich. A hospital, an orphanage, a guest house were opened there. Its own power plant was built there as well. In 1914, a ministerial and missionary seminary was opened.
The Soviet period affected the development of this holy place. After the revolution, only the Intercession Church remained in operation. In 1921, the monastery was closed, and the property was transferred to the state farm "Krasny Mayak". A dance floor, a club, and a gym were placed in the buildings of churches and on the ruins.
In 1991, the first prayers were read in the church of the courtyard. A nunnery was opened there. However, it was transformed into a monastery in 1992. Services, sacred rites, and missionary courses are held here today.
The architectural style of the Bizyukov Monastery was finally formed at the beginning of the 20th century. Old temple buildings, fences with towers, a brethren's building, and outbuildings are made of red brick in the pseudo-Russian style.
The following remained of the architectural ensemble:
- a brethren's building;
- a room for making communion bread and bakery, made in classicism style;
- base and altar arch of the Ascension Cathedral;
- bishops' chambers without a roof;
- the Intercession Cathedral, whose original appearance has been unfortunately lost.
In the coastal cliff of the Dnipro River, the cells of ascetic monks have been preserved.
Caves and underground passages
Kilometer-long underground passages and caves go deep into the slopes and cliffs on the banks of the Dnipro River. This is unknown, who dug them, and when. There is an assumption that this is the work of free Cossack robbers. They hid the stolen goods and themselves from the koshevoy in underground caves.
Now, you can find paths to the monks’ caves. One of them became a place of pilgrimage for believers. There is also a small cave church, which you can get into. You need to ask for a special metal ladder and get a blessing from the abbot. Most of the underground passages are flooded. Some are under reconstruction, so the possibility of excursions should be clarified on the spot.
How to get there
The Monastery is located along Tsentralna Street in Chervonyi Maiak village of the Kherson region.
You can get to the Monastery as follows:
- by your car, leave Kherson by Beryslavske Highway. You need to go 54 km to the roundabout. Then, take the T0403 highway towards Beryslav/Kakhovka/Novovorontsovka. In 26 km, there will be a sign indicating the way to Chervonyi Maiak. At the fork, turn right.
- by bus, take a bus to Chervonyi Maiak at the Central Bus Station in Kherson. Get off there at the final stop. You may ask the driver to give you a lift to the Monastery.