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The underground church in Kiev opens its secrets

Temple discovered when it was possible to clear the rubble from the monastic caves dug into the hills Zvirynetsky in the XII century

Caves of Kiev Pechersk Lavra are known worldwide, but in the capital, there are several equally interesting monastic caves. In one of them - Zvirynetsky cave - we went along with the head of the department of the Museum of History of Kyiv candidate of historical sciences Elena Vorontsova. There has discovered the most ancient surviving in its original form of underground churches in Kiev. "While few know about it, because under the Soviet regime Zvirynetsky caves were abandoned, - said Elena. - When we began excavations there (in the first field season of work itself), 70 percent of moves were filled with soil. We had, in fact, open their for science again. "
"From the relics of saints comes positive energy"
Cave City
History of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra has almost 1000 years. In the Near and Far Caves Monastery, where repose the holy relics of the ascetics of piety for the millennium was visited by countless pilgrims.
Today, as before, in a cave tomb twilight reigns. In the corridors, cells and temples are the tomb with the relics of saints in incorruption which can be seen firsthand. They touched upon death, but their bodies for hundreds of years has not decayed. Moreover, they exude a fragrance and healing.
A little history
And it all started with a small cave, excavated in the woods near the village of Berestovo, near Kiev. There in the XI-th century, retreated to fasting, prayer and works of the future Metropolitan of Kiev Hilarion, the author of "Words on Law and Grace."
After the monk Hilarion was elevated to the rank of metropolitan management, the monastery took over Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. When the number of monks increased to 12 in Illarionova cave began to form underground monastery. Soon the cave was too crowded for St. Anthony. In 1061, putting the senior brethren of St. Barlaam, he retired to a nearby hill, where dug himself a new cell. So firmly established Caves. Once here, near St. Anthony gathered monks, formed two sets of underground monastery, known as the Near and Far caves.

The supreme feat of self-sacrifice in the cave monastery was a retreat. The monks with the blessing of Abbot and Confessor went into the gate, that is dug out a small cell in which bricked leaving for communicating with the world a small window. For years they stopped to talk with people being doomed to solitude. Two or three times a month abbot or anyone else came to a narrow window, leaving prosphora and a little water. If there was no answer, and the food remained untouched, it meant that the monk finished his earthly heroism. Cell open and recluse funeral right there.

Burial in caves
The rite of burial caves in Kiev was significantly different from the usual Christian burial. Died they washed the exposed parts of the body, folded his arms, covered face, put on a board and laid in a specially dug lokulu (a niche for burial in a cave). From the cave burial of the body was covered with an icon or bricked. Three years later, remains open. Skulls and bones piled separately in special ossuary - a more spacious compartments or rooms. In the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra many bodies of devotees were found incorrupt. In these cases might have remained in lokulah. On the boards, concealing them, icons were painted and indicate the exploits and spiritual gifts, which in life had a reverend.

Myrrh-streaming chapter
In the Caves in front of the Church of the Nativity of Christ is a deep niche where the metal and glass containers are stored Myrrh-streaming heads belonging to the saints of God.

The uniqueness of them is that they (the dry and uncovered skin) supernatural exude oil or ointment. Chapter streaming myrrh are not both of them the world is uneven. Over time, forgot the names of saints whose heads are stored in caves. We only know that one of them belongs to the martyr Clement, the Pope.

Under the shadow of the mighty chestnut Kiev, near the main entrance to St. Sophia's Cathedral is a memorial stele, carved from the gray granite. It reminds visitors of the ancient temple of landmark event in the history of Kievan Rus - Based in 1037 the Grand Duke Yaroslav the Wise, the first library. From the stele to us looks very Prince of Kiev, a relief image which are inscribed the words from "The Tale of Bygone Years:" In the summer of 6545. This Yaroslav, son Volodimer, NACE book sayings hearts of the faithful people. More great benefit is a man of book learning. " Years, of course, are listed on the calendar of Constantinople, in which the count was conducted on the creation of the world, and BC was 5508 years. In our modern calendar year 6545 corresponds to 1037.