Zymne Monastery

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General view of the monastery

The Uspenskyi Svyatohorskyi Monastery (in English, the Assumption Monastery at the Holy Mountain, in Ukrainian, Святогорський Успенський Зимненський ставропігійний монастир) is a stauropegial Ukrainian Orthodox cave monastery, located at the top of the Holy Mountain rising above the Luh River near the village of Zymne, five kilometers south of Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Volyn Oblast, Ukraine.


The origin of the monastery is uncertain, but a monastic legend attributes its foundation to Vladimir the Great, who allegedly built there two churches and his winter palace, from which the village takes its name. It is also claimed that the first hegumen of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra died there on his way from Tsargrad to Kiev in the 11th century.

The monastery was first mentioned in documents in 1458.[1] It remained in the hands of the Greek Orthodox Church until 1698, when it was taken over by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Within several decades, the monastic community ceased to exist, but its cathedral was revived as a Russian Orthodox parish church in 1857.

In 1893, the monastery was reestablished as a Russian Orthodox nunnery, which was disbanded by the Soviets with the annexation of Volynia in 1939. The convent was revived during the period of the German occupation, reduced to a parish church in 1945, reopened again in 1990 and acquired stauropegic status in 1996.


Entrance to the monastery
Inside the monastery

The monastery has a rectangular plan, articulated by defensive walls with towers, built in the 15th and 16th centuries. Each wall is pierced by a wide arch from the 17th century. One round tower in the southern wall was built up into a belltower in 1898-99. The style of this neo-Muscovite building is out of harmony with the quaint beauty of the other towers.

The four-pillared Assumption Katholikon was built with funds provided by Prince Fyodor Chartoryisky, who also donated to the abbey two fine bells, one of which is now on exhibit on the monastery grounds. The katholikon was completed and consecrated in 1495, when the Gothic influence in the region was still paramount. It was modernized for the first time in 1550 and subsequently went through a number of reconstructions, in keeping with prevalent ideology of the period. The Uniates dismantled its flanking towers in 1724 and reshaped its facade in the then contemporary Polish fashion. The Russians took pains to redecorate the building in the Russian Revival style, but the church was damaged during World War I and subsequently repaired by the Poles in the 1930s. Its roofing was again destroyed during World War II and was replaced by five golden helmet domes more recently.

The oldest building in the complex is the miniature Trinity Church (1465–75), a stone copy of the wooden churches of Volynia. It is situated on the mountain slope to the south from the cathedral, outside the monastery walls. There is also the 16th-century refectory with the church dedicated to Saint Juliana, the oldest refectory church in the country. Between Trinity Church and the cathedral lurks the entrance to the caves which consist of two parallel corridors joined in the middle. The cave church is consecrated to Saint Barlaam.


  1. ^ Lutsk Art Gallery Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  • Nikolsky A.V. Монастыри. Энциклопедический словарь. Moscow Patriarchate Publishers, 2000.

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Coordinates: 50°48′06″N 24°19′39″E / 50.8016666767°N 24.32750001°E / 50.8016666767; 24.32750001