Pilgrimage. Travel to sacred places became fairly common among Ukrainians after the introduction of Christianity and has remained a prominent public manifestation of faith. Individual pilgrimages to the Holy Land from Ukraine were known to have taken place as early as the 11th century (eg, by Hegumen Varlaam in 1062). Hegumen Danylo from Chernihiv left an account of the pilgrimage he made in 1106–8, and Saint Anthony of the Caves traveled to Mount Athos in the early 11th century. The shrines of Rome and the relics of Saint Nicholas in Bari, Italy, also attracted pilgrims from Ukraine. Such treks became so common that some churchmen even warned against the exaggeration of their spiritual significance. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem, continued despite the fall of Constantinople, and accounts of these trips were widely read in Ukraine. Particularly valuable descriptions of pilgrimages in the 18th century were left by Vasyl Hryhorovych-Barsky and the monk Serapion of the Motronynskyi Trinity Monastery.
The most popular pilgrimage destinations in Ukraine have been the many churches and monasteries in Kyiv, particularly the Kyivan Cave Monastery. Although the Soviet authorities actively discouraged pilgrimages, ruined many shrines, and turned others into museums, factories, or administrative buildings, this repression did not stem the annual flow of thousands of pilgrims. The greatest flow of pilgrims occurred on days of particular celebration at the shrines, such as the feast of Yov Zalizo (10 September [28 August OS]) and the festival of the Dormition (28 August [15 August OS]) in Pochaiv. Pilgrimages to the Pochaiv Monastery began in the 18th century, and it remains the second most popular destination, although it too had been subjected to depredations under Soviet rule. In Galicia the more prominent holy sites are Zarvanytsia in Podilia, Hoshiv in the Carpathian foothills, and the Krekhiv Monastery in the Buh River region. Others include Chernecha Hora, near Mukachevo, in Transcarpathia, and Suceava and Khreshchatyk in Bukovyna. In the 1930s in Turkovychi, in the Kholm region, some Ukrainian Orthodox pilgrimages became national, patriotic demonstrations against Polish persecution. In the late 1980s, particularly during the celebrations of the millennium of the Christianization of Ukraine, many pilgrims gathered around the monument to Saint Volodymyr the Great in Kyiv, and in Galicia large gatherings were held at the Church of the Three Saints in Hrushiv, in the Boiko region near Drohobych, where people were said to have witnessed apparitions of Virgin Mary. Emigré Ukrainians (esp Catholics) frequently travel on pilgrimages to Rome and Lourdes, France, the site of the Dormition Church for pilgrims.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine