Zymne Monastery

Image - Zymne Monastery near Lutsk. Image - Zymne Monastery near Lutsk (main entrance).

Zymne Monastery [Святогірський Успенський Зимненський ставропігійний монастир; Sviatohirskyi Uspenskyi Zymnenskyi stavropihiinyi monastyr]. Probably the oldest monastery in Volhynia, located in the village of Zymne, 5 km south of Volodymyr-Volynskyi. Because it was built on a steep promontory atop ancient caves on the Luha River, it also had the names sviatohirskyi ‘holy hill’ and pecherskyi ‘cave.’ According to medieval sources, Grand Prince Volodymyr the Great had the monastery’s Church of the Dormition built ca 1001; Hegumen Varlaam of the Kyivan Cave Monastery died at the monastery in 1065; and the chronicler Nifont was its hegumen in the 12th century. In the 1460s Prince O. Czartoryski, the owner of Zymne, had parapets with five gates and corner towers built around the monastery, and in 1495 the Church of the Dormition was rebuilt out of stone. In 1682 the Catholic Basilian monastic order was granted Zymne and the monastery. In the 1740s M. Czacki, the castellan of Volodymyr and owner (from 1724) of Zymne, removed all of the monastery’s valuables and brought about its demise. The monastery was revived by the Russian Orthodox church in the 19th century, and from 1893 it was inhabited by nuns. Extensive reconstruction of its buildings was begun in 1899, and a campanile and a subterranean church at the entrance to the caves were built. During the First World War the monastery was extensively damaged, and its library and archives disappeared. It was renovated in the 1930s but again destroyed during the Second World War. Restoration of the monastery’s main buildings was begun in 1975. Nothing remains of the burial crypts inside the Church of the Dormition, where many prominent Volhynian nobles were once buried.

Arkadii Zhukovsky

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

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