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Archaeological Reserve Kitaev


   Kitaev is located near the area called Mousetrap and Korchevatoe, on the southern outskirts of Kiev.

   The first buildings were laid down in the XIVth century. The terrain is interesting in the first Orthodox monastery, with caves which resumed its activities only in the 90’s of XX century.
According to an old legend, the name was derived from the Turkic language of the word "Kitay" means as "fortifications, protected area".

   Actually, in the twelfth century there was an old Russian outpost, a settlement, a reliable bulwark protected from the enemy ramparts, moats, forest and water.

   In the XIVth century the cave monastery was established and which was under the patronage of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, called Kitaevskaya wasteland, where the monks created the first cave monastery, and later the Lavra monastery.

   They say that the skit that appeared already in the seventeenth century. But the history of the monastery was documented in 1716, when with the support of Dmitry Golitsyn there was built a wooden church dedicated to St. Sergius, the refectory and the cell of. New dining wooden hall with a church in honor of the three Russian saints – Peter, Iona and Oleksey was built on donations from the Empress Elizabeth, who visited the desert in 1744. From the seventeenth century Kitaev was a place of pilgrimage, the permission to visit that gave the Laurel.

   However, in 1930 the desert was abolished, the territory and premises were handed over to the All-Union Institute of Experimental fruit and berry farms. The bell tower was dismantled in 1932, other facilities are damaged during the fighting. The Republican Training industrial beekeeping and the Ukrainian Scientific-Experimental Institute for Plant Protection were placed there in the postwar period.

   After a restoration in the early 1990's the Trinity church was transferred to the UOC with a renovated refectory and cells. In 1994 it revived the monastic life. The first chief of the restored monastery was the Archimandrite Pafnutii. Since 1996, the Kitaev receives the status of an independent monastery.

   The Kitaev’s wasteland is known not only as a cave monastery – it is known with acts of elders. The story of one of them about the elder Dositheus – became one of the main and central stories of this sacred place.

   Once in 1736, a young fugitive peasant came in the glorious Trinity Sergeeva Lavra near Moscow. The boy introduced himself as Dositheus and asked to permit to serve the Christ. Yet the elders took a discussion to him refuse because in those days there was a strict royal decree order to prohibit fugitives to give a haircut. However, they noticed the great desire to serve the Lord by this young man. In addition, they saw his upbringing and education. That is why they were allowed to serve him in Laurel secretly. The boy was only 15 years old. The young person worked very hard and the people were surprised his pious. However, after three years of life at the Laurel Dositheus escaped in Kiev.

   In the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra young villager was refused in tonsure, and then Dositheus who was not admitted to the Church officially decided to serve the Lord himself. So he made a cave in the barren Kitaev’s mountain as his home. During his life there he wore rags and even in winter he didn’t kindle the fire, walked barefoot on the cold ground. He had only bread and water as a meal and during Lent he ate only the roots and some moss. The talk about Dositheus, where so much the pilgrims became to visit and to see him by own eyes and to ask some advices, to give them prophecy and those healing. If the hermit gave his guest the incense, it mean death, but some communion bread – it was healing and blessing. And once Dositheus took some incense and began to distribute a little piece of it to everyone who came in Kitaev. Then he prophesied that people started to dies like flies, but urged not to lose prays in their hearts. And soon, in 1770 in Ukraine the pestilence began. The people, who had received pieces of incense and blessing survived.

   Even the Empress Elizabeth knew about his glory and decided to visit him herself. Especially for her they made the wooden stages to the cave. Dositheus came to her at the meeting although he spoke through the tiny window with everybody. They entertained such a genuine spiritual conversation that Elizabeth permitted to serve him the Lord officially by her order and also she gave so much money to build a church in Pirogovo.

   Dositheus died kneeling near the lamp as the holy. He left a will to bury him as an ordinary person without any preparing. However, younger church attendants disobeyed it and decided to wash the body. And then it turned out that the famous Dositheus was ... a woman.So the secret of old Dositheus was opened difficult to say what was true and what is myth, but it remains an indisputable fact that this man has lived a decent life and was buried in the desert of Kitaev. In the Holy Trinity Monastery in the icon is the inscription "Saint", and in brackets "Girl".

   How does a girl become a saint?

   When the parents of the Ryazan noblewoman - Daria Tyapkina gave her to the grandmother to get a church education in the Ascension Monastery during two years, they could not think the end of this event. She cut her hair and bought men's clothing and as a guise of a peasant-boy went to the Laura. During the service in The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius the girl met her mother, who was there and saw among young novices her daughter. Then Daria ran to Kiev. When Dositheus was already known as the pious elder in Kitaev, the Daria Tyapkin sister came asked for a peace of advice to know about the fate of a lost sister. The elder replied that she was not worried about her sister because she went out of the house for the Lord. Later, after the death of the elder sister, she was again in Kiev. Looking at the portrait of an old man made when he was alive, she recognize her sister Daria.

   Now, walking in the area, which seemed to disappear, sense of time and space, you can imagine how much more amazing stories the grassy hills of Reserve Kitaev could tell.

Author Horostovska Natalia (Aranrut)

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