There is a poultry yard at the territory of the monastery behind Holy Assumption Cathedral.
Lots of pilgrims and travelers like visiting this place.
The monastery monks keep dozens of birds that are exhibited in the cages that are located behind Holy Assumption Cathedral.
There are several kinds of birds:
and one mammal:
Coati (Nasua rufa)
When you walk around the cathedral, you can’t help standing in front of the cages admiring the birds’ beauty and listening to their songs and feeling once again your unity with Mother Nature....
The monastery and the parish celebrate Patron Saints’ Days during the year.
One of the first big holidays of the year is St.Arsenius the Blessed Day on May 21 with a cross procession. The cross procession heads for St.Arsenius Hermitage.
The cross procession also takes place on July 15 on the day of Akhtyrka-root icon of the Mother of God. The procession heads for the place where the church in honor of that icon used to stand.
July 30 is a big holiday at the monastery. On that day they celebrate the Patron Saints’ Day of Svyatogorsk-root Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God. There is a cross procession around Assuption Cathedral with that icon that heads the procession.
Transfiguration Day on August 19 is another reason for a cross procession. On that day Transfiguration of Jesus Christ Our Lord is celebrated. The procession heads for Favor Mount where Transfiguration Church used to stand.
Another big holiday is August 24 – the Patron Saints’ day of St.John the Hermit of Svyatogorsk. There is a cross procession with the saint’s body around the cathedral where his body lies in a special coffin to the left of the altar.
August 28 – the Day of Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God – is widely observed here. To honor that day there is a cross procession around Assumption Cathedral.
And the last cross procession of the year takes place on October 14 when the day of the Protecting Veil of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated. The cross procession moves around the Cathedral of the Protecting Veil of the Most Holy Mother of God.
Many Orthodox pilgrims strive to visit the caves.
There are organized groups there, but you often have to stay overnight to get into one for the line is very long.
We were privileged to pay a visit to the caves and to see its churches. I couldn't help taking pictures there, although there is a strict photography ban in the caves.
There are two or three cave churches inside the caves.
The service is held there regularly and it is usually attended by the monks.
There was no service when we were there, so we could move freely.
The cave passages are rather narrow.
We were shown the Cell of St.John the Hermit. We learnt a lot about this Man of God.
St.John the Hermit of the Holy Mountains
(September 20, 1795 – August 11, 1867)
is famous for his Christian deeds.
He spent 17 years in a monk cell in constant prayers and worship without ever leaving the cell.
August 24 is a big holiday – the Patron Saints’ Day of St.John the Hermit of Svyatogorsk.
There is a cross procession with the saint’s body around the cathedral.
His body lies in a special coffin to the left of the altar of the cathedral.
This icon was painted by a Greek monk who had come to the dedication of the monastery in 1844. He painted the icon of the Most Holy Mother of God and left it as a gift at the monastery. It was kept in a cave church and survived the fire and the dampness.
In Soviet times it was hidden carefully by the parishioners and was only returned to the monastery when it was dedicated again in 1992.
At present the icon is adorned by golden chains, crosses, coins and other gifts that the thankful people brought to Our Heavenly Queen as a sign of love and acknowledgement for healing and heavenly help to many people.
It is a must to approach the icon and to kiss the glass covering it.
There is a line of people who want to do it before the service starts.
The cathedral opens for service at 4.30 p.m. and people try to get there in time to perform that veneration.
Flowerbeds have become very popular in the city.
They are especially beautiful at the monastery.
You simply can't pass them without a moment of admiration.
We couldn't help admiring them on our way to Assumption Cathedral.
Lots of holidaymakers and visitors of the city allow some time to take a stroll along the promenade on the left bank of the Seversky Donets.
Turn right before the bridge, walk or sit on a bench admiring the views of the Laura from the opposite bank.
Also, you can do some window shopping or some real shopping there.
There are a lot of stalls with souvenirs or dried fish (our famous treat for beer).
Also, you can relax at one of the numerous bars and cafes here.
You can see and buy works of local artists (pottery, souvenirs, pictures, embroidery, etc.) at the improvised markets:
- at the Embankment located on the left bank opposite the monastery;
- at the Souvenirs Market located near the city beach.
You can see a lot of sculptures in the city.
There is a park of sculptures at the crossing of Ostrovsky Street and Shevchenko Street.
Here you can view a very unusual sculpture called Comets.
It was created ny N.Telizhenko in 2006.
I think its message is connection of times.
I went round the sculpture and could not help taking a picture of it.
The service takes place every day:
the morning liturgy is at 6 a.m. ;
the evening one is at 5 p.m. at Assumption Cathedral.
There is also a service at St.Nickolas Cathedral on the top of the chalk cliff at 2 p.m. every day. It is a small church that is always full of people.
After you leave the caves you will see an open chalk space at the hill where some pilgrims take some chalk home as a wonder-working souvenir.
Our group leader advised us to do so, too.