Vidubitsky Monastery – Retreat of Quiet Reflection

The Botanical Garden of the Ukraine Academy of Science is home to thousands of different plant and tree species, a landscape filled with beauty and magic. But, amongst the daydreams of fairies and elves which you half expect to see between the rows of rose bushes or hiding underneath the fern leaves, looms the walls of the Vidubitsky Monastery. The Vidubitsky Monastery in Kiev brings a touch of nostalgia to any visit, and there is an atmosphere of chivalry here that befits the tranquility and peacefulness of the botanical gardens.

Vsevolod, Yaroslav Mudry’s son, is believed to have founded the Vidubitsky Monastery between the years 1070 to 1077. The construction of the monastery, as the story goes, was done on donations that were received from the Colonel of Myklashevsky, who lived in a small town by the name of Starodub. The name of the Vidubitsky Monastery originated from a Slavic legend of a valiant battle that took place on the site of the monastery. Perun, a pagan god, swam out of the Dnepr River one day but was met by the brave and heroic Prince Vladimir. Prince Vladimir had established Russia as a country of Orthodoxy, and pagan idols, gods and anything that related to the old religions was outlawed by his laws. Paganism was against everything he believed in and so Vladimir gallantly fought and defeated Perun on the rivers’ bank. Vidubitsky is therefore derived from the Old Slavic word “Vidubat” that, when translated means “swimming out”. In ancient times the area close to the Vidubitsky Monastery in Kiev was used to cross over the Dnepr River.

Next to the monastery is the Mykhaylivsky Cathedral which also known as the St. Michael’s Cathedral. It was constructed during the same time period as the monastery and it is said that the graffiti that can be seen in places on its walls dates back to almost the same time period. On the interior walls of the Mykhaylivsky Cathedral are beautifully preserved frescoes which are from the 12th and also the 18th century. In later years, in the year 1696 to be exact, another cathedral was constructed next to the monastery: the Georgievsky (Heorhiyivsky) or St. George’s Cathedral. The architecture of the cathedral is described as “Ukrainian Cossack Baroque” style and the structure includes a refectory, a belfry and a five-domed roof.

The Vidubitsky Monastery and its adjoining cathedrals are places of quiet reflection. Many visitors enjoy a peaceful afternoon here whilst sitting on the grass next to the monastery and taking in the spectacular scenes that only nature can provide. It is still a retreat where one can find peace for the mind and soul, even though it has been many years since a congregation has passed through its doors.

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