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Chernihiv Sights | Trinity-Elias Monastery
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Ukraine Chernihiv Sights | Trinity-Elias Monastery
Trinity-Elias Monastery of X-XVIII centuries in Chernihiv is one of the most impressive architectural ensembles of Ukraine. The ensemble consists of two combined landscape and architecture parts - the former Elias Monastery of XI-XVII century and Trinity Monastery which was built in 1677-1780 years on the highest plateau of Boldin mountains.

According to the сhronicle Elias Monastery was founded in 1069 by monk Anthony Pecherskiy. The caves that were dug up by Anthony Pecherskiy and his followers in Boldin mountain over time became an underground complex which is known around the world as a monument of underground construction "Anthony Caves". In XII century at the entrance to "Anthony Caves" was built Saint Elias Church.

In 1239 Elias Monastery was destroyed by hordes of Batu Khan.

Initiator of the construction of Trinity-Elias Monastery was a prominent political and religious figure, writer of the end of XVII century - Archbishop of Chernihiv Lazarus Baranovitch. In 1672 he moved to Chernihiv from the former residence in Novgorod-Seversky.

Trinity-Elias Monastery was formed during XVII-XIX centuries. The construction of this magnificent complex was possible because Trinity-Elias Monastery owned nearly 10 000 serfs, 24 villages, 30 mills, 31 plants including brick factories. Trinity Monastery was connected with Elias Monastery by gallery arranged by stone arches and pillars.

First was built Refectory with Vvedenskaya Church (1677-1679) - the only surviving refectory with two domes on the left bank of Ukraine. Next during period of 1679-1695 it was built the main structures of Trinity-Elias Monastery - Trinity Cathedral in Baroque style on base of design of architect John Sauer-Baptiste.

There is interesting fact that on the drum of the central dome of Trinity Cathedral preserved fragment of inscription about donations of Ivan Mazepa and Lazarus Baranovych for the construction of the cathedral.

At the end of XVIII century to the north of Trinity Cathedral was built over the gate of Trinity-Elias Monastery - majestic five-story bell tower of 58 meters high in Baroque style. Bell tower was built in the period between 1770 and 1780 by Archimandrite Joel (Bykovskiy). The name of the architect-builder of bell tower is unknown but according to some information it was used design drawings of architect Johann Gottfried Schädel - author of the Great Lavra Bell Tower.

Trinity-Elias Monastery was until 1786 when by decree of Empress Catherine II all the estate of the monastery were transferred to property of Russian Empire. Trinity-Elias Monastery was given a special role: on its territory should settle Chernihiv University because in the monastery were printing house and library with more than 11 000 books. After the death of Prince Grigory Potemkin the decree was not performed so in 1790 Empress Catherine II ordered to Chernihiv bishop to move from Boris and Gleb Monastery to Trinity-Elias Monastery.

From that time the territory of the former monastery was called "Bishop House" - the residence of Archbishop of Chernihiv. Trinity-Elias Monastery was closed again in 1918 but Trinity Cathedral functioned as a parish church until 1929.

Prior to World War II buildings of Trinity-Elias Monastery were used for Chernihiv Zoological College. During the occupation in November 1941 the monastery became nunnery with head of abbess Anthoniya (Sorokina). Buildings of Trinity-Elias Monastery severely damaged during the bombings in 1941 and 1943. The nunnery on the territory of the monastery was until 1961. In 1988 after the restoration work carried out under the guidance of architect Marionila Govdenko and painting restorer Vladimir Babiuk - the structure of the former Trinity-Elias Monastery were returned to Chernihiv diocese.

Since 1990 in the house of the prior of the monastery there is religious school which trains priests and Trinity-Elias Monastery as wonderful example of craftsmanship of Ukrainian artists of the late XVII century is opened for faithful.

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