Lavra (Лавра; from the Greek word meaning ‘walled part of a city’). Originally a term applied to fortified monasteries in Palestine, it was later used to designate any large or important monastery that came under the direct jurisdiction of the highest church body (eg, the metropolitanate or patriarchate) in a country. In Ukraine, the designation of lavra was, for many years, used in reference to only two Orthodox monasteries, the Kyivan Cave Monastery since 1688 and the Pochaiv Monastery since 1833, although unofficially this title had been used for the latter as early as the 18th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries the local bishop bore the title ‘priestly archimandrite’ of the given lavra, and it was directly administered by his appointee, who had the title ‘archimandrite.’ In 2004 the title of lavra was also conferred on the Sviati Hory Dormition Monastery.
[This article was updated in 2009.]