Vydubychi Monastery

Image - Taras Shevchenko: The Vydubychi Monastery (1844). Image - Vydubychi Monastery in Kyiv.

Vydubychi Monastery (Видубецький or Видубицький монастир; Vydubetskyi or Vydubytskyi monastyr). An architectural monument of the 11th to 18th century in Kyiv. The monastery known as Vydubychi was founded ca 1070 by Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavych on the southern edge of Kyiv by the Dnipro River. Vsevolod and his descendants (eg, Prince Volodymyr Monomakh) were the monastery’s principal patrons. In 1088 the stone Saint Michael’s Church was completed at the monastery. The monastery was damaged by the Cumans in 1096. A century later Petro Mylonih built a support wall under the monastery’s slope to prevent landslides. In the early 17th century (until 1637) the monastery belonged to the Uniate church; then it reverted to the Ukrainian Orthodox church. The eastern part of Saint Michael’s Church collapsed after the Dnipro flooded it in the 1580s, and was rebuilt with the financial support of Metropolitan Petro Mohyla as a two-story wooden structure. It was rebuilt again in its present form in 1766–9 by Mikhail Yurasov. The present monastery complex dates back to the late 17th and early 18th century, when the baroque Saint George’s Church (containing a magnificent iconostasis with five rows of icons) and a refectory building (containing the Trinity Church), financed by Colonel Mykhailo A. Myklashevsky (1696–1701), and a campanile, financed by Hetman Danylo Apostol (1727–33), were built. In the 19th century the monastery ran a hospital for the clergy, a school, an orphanage, and a home for retired priests. Many luminaries were buried in its cemetery. In the 1920s the monastery was abolished, and its buildings and churches were used by workers’ clubs and, later, converted into military warehouses by the Soviet authorities. The monastery’s iconostases and cemetery were destroyed. Later the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR used the buildings, all of which were restored in 1967–82. In 1968–9 the restricted archive kept in Saint George’s Church, which contained over 500,000 books, incunabula, prerevolutionary periodicals, and Ukrainian National Republic and All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences documents, was destroyed by four mysterious fires that ravaged the building.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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