CYCLE ARTICLES ABOUT VOLYN "SVYATOGORSKY DORMITION MONASTERY OF ZYMNE"
On the steep bank of the Luga river, flowing not far from Vladimir-Volynskiy, there situated a picturesque village of Zymne. As legends of Volyn tell us, as early as in 1001 the first Ukrainian Christian Kyiv Prince Vladimir the Great erected the Prince palaceand two churches on the high bank of the Luga river, not far from a Slav altar of Duliby. Since that time, the Prince would spend almost every winter there, which gave the name to this settlement – Zymne (winter). From those times people started to call the mounting hosting the churches and the Prince winter residence (“Vladimir Palace”) “the Holy Mountain”.
The first record of Svyatogorsky monastery in the village of Zymne dates back to the end of the XI century and appeared in the well-known “Tale of Bygone Years”. Nestor the Chronicler states that the first Father Superior of Kiev Monastery of the Caves reverend Varlaam died in this monastery on his way from Constantinople. However, other sources state that the first documental mentioning of Zymne Svyatogorsky Monastery appeared in 1458, in times of Feodor Chartoriysky reign, on whose order on the place of the wooden church of Prince Vladimir the Great a stone Svyato-Uspensky church was constructed in1495. It harmoniously suits the existing monastery ensemble. Along with the church, a bell-tower (weight of the bell is 720 kg, it is called “Bell of Chartoriyskys”) and towers which greatly enforced defensive capacity of the fortress were built. And this fact was rather important taking into account often attacks of the Tartars.
Cave church of Varlaam existed in pre-Mongolian period and was an important part of Zymne Monastery. Later on, archeologists discovered here ancient graves and eldest inscriptions on the walls. The oldest church of Zymne Monastery – the church of Saint Trinity – is located close to the caves entrance. Despite continuous wars lasting for several centuries, it survived till nowadays. In those times, as early as in XV century, Zymne Svyatogorsky monastery was considered to be one of the biggest and the most powerful church-fortification complexes.
The main sanctity of Zymne monastery is Zymne wonderworking icon of Mother of God, which according to legends was presented by Vladimir the Great. This is the icon the marriage between Prince and Greek Princess Anna was blessed with by Patriarch Nikolay II Khrisoverg from Constantinople in year 988. In spite of complicated existence history (wars, sieges, confrontation between churches for the right to posses Zymne monastery and many other sad issues), the icon of Mother of God remained intact till nowadays. It still works miracles and graciously helps the faithful and protects Zymne Svyatogorsky monastery.
In 1724 Zymne monastery came into possession of Volyn senior man (starosta) Mikhail Chatsky. Being a fanatical Catholic, he ordered to rebuild Orthodox Svyato-Uspensky church into a Catholic one, and to turn the five-domed monastery into two-domed. Reliquary of Princes Chartoriyskys, founders of the monastery, was robbed and demolished. Legend say that at the moment when the Mother of God icon was desecrated, M.Chatsky lost his sight and died three years later.
Due to funds of the Emperor’s Court, general reconstruction works were started in the second half of the XIX century. 30 years later construction works were finished and Svyato-Uspensky church regained its canonical Orthodox appearance.
During one of cruel fights of the First World War, 3 missiles of devastating power caught Svyato-Uspensky monastery. However, a true miracle happened and they didn’t explode. The church was saved. These three charges are still sticking in one of monastery walls.
Zymne monastery couldn’t avoid influence of Soviet authorities. In 1939 it was closed and a tractor station was located on its territory.
Finally, in 1991, due to eager efforts and strong prayers of Nun Stefania and Nun Galina, who came to Zymne from Koretsk monastery, as well as due to generous donations of benefactors, horrible ruins of Zymne Svyatogorsky monastery were turned into Volyn paradise.
Author Marina Melnichenko