Maniava Cell Monastery
Located in the picturesque village of Maniava in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine, the Maniava Cell Monastery was built in 1611 and continues to serve the purpose of being a monastery of the Orthodox Church of the Kievan Patriarchate – one of the three major Orthodox Churches in Ukraine. A magnificent and well-preserved building, Maniava Cell was originally surrounded by a high stone wall with three look-out towers, offering the inhabitants of nearby villages a place of refuge from attacks by the Crimean Tatars and Turks, which was a fairly common occurrence in those tumultuous times.
With its large and comprehensive library, Maniava Cell was one of the most prominent Christian centers in the historic region of Galicia – an area which today incorporates Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk, overlapping into Poland. It was also known for its iconostasis – the intricately decorated wall featuring icons and religious paintings which separates the nave from the sanctuary in the church. Although not able to pinpoint the location of the grave, it is believed that Ivan Vyhovsky, who was the influential Hetman of Ukraine from 1657 to 1659, is buried in Maniava Cell, a rumor that adds to its historical value.
Although the Monastery is once again a place of worship, there was a time when Soviet authorities closed it down, with plans to convert it into a home for Soviet cosmonauts to rest and build up their health, most likely because of reports of the rejuvenating and therapeutic properties of the Monastery. However, this never came about, and instead they set up a museum, which to some extent deterred the vandalism of this religious site at a time when religion was barely tolerated.
Maniava Cell is seen by many of religious faith to be a place of prayer and purification, with the presence of the ‘Blessed Stone’ near the monastery adding to this view. The Blessed Stone is located about a kilometer from the bridge of Mount Manyavka, in a large cave, or niche, typical of the dwelling of monks in ancient times. Visitors to the Maniava Cell Monastery, with its beautiful lush surroundings in the Carpathian Mountains, will find it to be an ideal place for peace, tranquility and introspective reflection.