Kiev Pechersk Lavra

Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

State Party = UKR
Type = Cultural
Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv
ID = 527
Region = Europe and North America
Year = 1990
Session = 14th
Link =

Kiev Pechersk Lavra ( _uk. Києво-Печерська лавра, "Kyievo-Pechers’ka lavra"; _ru. Киево-Печерская лавра, "Kievo-Pecherskaya lavra"), also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery in Kiev, Ukraine. Since its foundation as the cave monastery in 1015 [ [Magocsi P.R. A History of Ukraine. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1996. p 98.] ] the Lavra has been a preeminent center of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. Together with the Saint-Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Currently, the jurisdiction over the site is divided between the state museum, National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve [ [] ] , and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the site of the chief monastery of that Church and the residence of its leader, Metropolitan Volodymyr.

Etymology and other names

The word "pechera" means "cave". The word "lavra" is used to describe high-ranking monasteries for (male) monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Therefore the name of the monastery is also translated as Kiev Cave Monastery, Kiev Caves Monastery or the Kiev Monastery of the Caves ("на печерах").

Foundation and early history

According to the Primary Chronicle, in the early 11th century, Antony, a Greek Orthodox monk from Esphigmenon monastery on Mount Athos, originally from Liubech of the Principality of Chernigov, returned to Rus' and settled in Kiev as a missionary of monastic tradition to Kievan Rus'. He chose a cave at the Berestov Mount that overlooked the Dnieper River and a community of disciples soon grew. Prince Iziaslav I of Kiev ceded the whole mount to the Antonite monks who founded a monastery built by architects from Constantinople.

Buildings and structures

The Kiev Pechersk Lavra contains numerous architectural monuments, ranging from belltowers to cathedrals to underground cave systems and to strong stone fortification walls. The main attractions of the Lavra include the "Great Lavra Belltower", the notable feautre of the Kiev skyline, and the "Dormition Cathedral," destroyed in World War II, and fully reconstructed in recent years. Other churches and cathedrals of the Lavra include: the Refectory Church, the Church of All Saints, the Church of the Saviour at Berestove, the Church of the Exaltation of Cross, the Church of the Trinity, the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the Church of the Conception of St. Anne, and the Church of the Life-Giving Spring. The Lavra also contains many other constructions, including: the St. Nicholas Monastery, the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary, and the Debosquette Wall.

Great Lavra Belltower

The Great Lavra Belltower is one of the most notable features of the Kiev skyline and among the main attractions of the Lavra. It was the tallest free-standing belltower at the time of its construction in 1731-1745, and was designed by the architect Johann Gottfried Schädel. It is a Classical style construction and consists of tiers, surmounted by a gilded dome. Its total height is 96.5 meters.

Gate Church of the Trinity

The Gate Church of the Trinity is located atop the "Holy Gates", which houses the entrance to the monastery. According to a legend, this church was founded by the Chernigov Prince Sviatoslav. It was built atop an ancient stone church which used to stand in its place.

Church of the Saviour at Berestove

The Church of the Saviour at Berestove is located to the North of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. It was constructed in the village of Berestove at the turn of the 11th century during the reign of Prince Vladimir Monomakh. It later served as the mausoleum of the Monomakh dynasty, also including Yuri Dolgoruki, the founder of Moscow. However being outside the Lavra fortifications, the Church of the Saviour at Berestove is part of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra complex.


The Kiev Pechersk Lavra caverns are a very complex system of narrow underground corridors ("about 1-1½ metres wide and 2-2½ metres high"), along with numerous living quarters and underground chapels. In 1051, the Reverend Anthony had settled in an old cave in one of the hills surrounding the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. This cave apparently grew, with numerous additions including corridors and a church, and is now what we know as the "Far Caves". In 1057, Anthony moved to a cave near the "Upper Lavra", now called the "Near Caves".

Foreign travellers in the 16-17th centuries had written that the catacombs of the Lavra stretched for hundreds of kilometres, reaching as far as Moscow and Novgorod,cite book | first=Ruta | last=Malikenaite | year=2003 | title=Guidebook: Touring Kyiv | publisher=Baltia Druk | location=Kyiv | id=ISBN 966-96041-3-3] which had apparently brought about to the knowledge of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra around the world.


The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is also one of the largest Ukrainian museums in Kiev. The exposition is the actual ensemble of the Upper ("Near Caves") and Lower ("Far Caves") Lavra territories that houses more than 100 architectural relics of the past. The collection within the churches and caves include articles of precious metal, prints, higher clergy portraits and rare church hierarchy photographs. The main exposition contains articles from 16 to early 20th centuries which include chalices, crucifixes, and textiles from 16-19th centuries with needlework and embroidery of Ukrainian masters. The remainder of collection consists of pieces from Lavra's Printing House and Lavra's Icon Painting Workshop.cite book | year=2001 | title=Kyiv Sightseeing Guide | publisher=Centre d'Europe | location=Kyiv/Lviv | id=ISBN 966-7022-29-3] The museum also provides tours to the catacombs, which contain mummified remains of Orthodox saints or their relics.


The Embassy of Italy was located, from 1994 to 1999 in the territory of the Lavra, within the portion then belonging to the Ukrainian State, after the renewal of the building hosting the ancient baths.

During the Soviet times, the bodies of the mummified saints that lay in the caves were left uncovered due to the regime's disregard for religion. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the bodes were covered with a cloth and to this day remain in the same state Fact|date=January 2008.

The Kiev Pechersk Lavra was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine on August 21, 2007, based on voting by experts and the internet community.

ee also

*Near Caves


* [ Kiev Pechersk Lavra] in Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary
* [ Kiev Pechersk Lavra] , in the [ Directory of Orthodox Architecture] ru icon
* [ Kyivan Cave Monastery] in the [ Encyclopedia of Ukraine] .

External links

* [ Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra - Official site] en icon/ru icon/uk icon
* [ National Kyiv-Pechersk Historico-Cultural Preserve]
* [ Chants performed by Monks and Metropolitan Choirs of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.]
* [ International journalists discover the Lavra Bell Tower] en icon ru icon uk icon

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pechersk Lavra fortification — The Lavra fortification ( uk. Лаврські фортифікаційні споруди, Lavrs’ki fortyfikatsiini sporudy ; ru. Лаврские фортификационные укрепления , Lavrskie fortifikatsionnye ukrepleniya ) is a system of walls, towers and other constructions built for… …   Wikipedia

  • Gate Church of the Trinity (Pechersk Lavra) — The Gate Church of the Trinity sits atop the Holy Gates, an entrance to the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. The Gate Church of the Trinity (Ukrainian: Троїцька Надбрамна церква, Troits’ka Nadbramna tserkva; Russian: Троицкая Надвратная церковь, Troitskaya… …   Wikipedia

  • Iglesia de la Puerta de la Trinidad (Pechersk Lavra) — La Iglesia de la Puerta de la Trinidad se ubica sobre las Puertas Sagradas, una entrada al Monasterio de las Cuevas de Kiev. La Iglesia de la Puerta de la Trinidad (en ucraniano: Троїцька Надбрамна церква, Troits’ka Nadbramna tserkva; en ruso:… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Refectory Church (Pechersk Lavra) — The Refectory Church ( uk. Трапезна Палата, Trapezna Palata ; ru. Трапезная церковь, Trapeznaya tserkov’ ) is a refectory and an adjoining church of Saint Anthony and Theodosius of the medieval cave monastery of Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev, the… …   Wikipedia

  • Pechersk — and Pecherskyi Raion redirects here. Infobox Settlement name = Pechers’kyi Raion native name = Печерський район settlement type = Raion of Kiev image shield = Pechersk Kiev COA.gif subdivision type = Country subdivision name = UKR subdivision… …   Wikipedia

  • Kiev — Київ (Kyiv) Kiev Bandera …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kiev — /kee ef, ev/; Russ. /kyee yif/, n. a city in and the capital of Ukraine, on the Dnieper River. 2,144,000. * * * Ukrainian Kyyiv City (pop., 2001: 2,611,000), capital of Ukraine. Located along the Dnieper River, it was founded in the 8th century,… …   Universalium

  • Lavra — In Orthodox Christianity and certain other Eastern Christian communities Lavra or Laura ( el. Λαύρα; Cyrillic: Лавра) originally meant a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center. The term… …   Wikipedia

  • Monasterio de las Cuevas de Kiev — Kiev: Catedral de Santa Sofía y edificios monásticos relacionados, Kiev Pechersk Lavra¹ Patrimonio de la Humanidad Unesco Panorama del …   Wikipedia Español

  • Anthony of Kiev — Infobox Saint name=Anthony Of Kiev birth date=c. 983 death date=c. 1073 feast day=July 10 venerated in=Eastern Orthodox Church caption=St. Anthony of Kiev, co founder of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. birth place=Lyubech, Chernigov Principality death… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.