NEW – June 8, 2022
“The Russian armed forces are completing the liberation of the city of Svyatogorsk of the Donetsk People’s Republic and its surrounding territory. In order to prevent the retreat of Ukrainian troops from Svyatogorsk, Ukrainian nationalist formations acting as defensive detachments today blew up a bridge over the Seversky Donets River. Under the onslaught of Russian units, cut off from the main forces and supplies due to the bridge explosion, the remnants of the battalions of the 95th Airborne Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the 81st separate Airmobile Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces abandoned military equipment along with weapons and scattered along the coast,” said the official representative of the Russian Defence Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov, on the evening of June 6 (today, by the way, Vladimir Putin promoted Konashenkov to Lieutenant General).
A little later, the head of the DPR Denis Pushilin said on the air of the “Rossiya-24” TV channel: “Svyatogorsk is almost liberated, a sweep is taking place. There are certain difficulties with the fact that the enemy has occupied a certain height in the vicinity of Svyatogorsk, but this is also a matter of time. Our units know and understand what to do with it.”
And – finally. A huge, long-awaited event.
The spiritual fortress of Holy Rus, the main shrine of Donbass, the Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra – has been liberated.
As the Monastic Bulletin emphasises, the preserved historical literary monuments and a comparative analysis of the architecture and traditions of various cave monasteries make it possible to attribute the appearance of the monastery to the 8th–9th centuries, and to consider its founders Byzantine monks during the persecution of Christians from iconoclasts. The “Ipatiev Chronicle” says that in 1111 local Christians met Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh here. In the 16th-17th centuries, the monastery was an important Russian outpost on the border with the Tatar steppe and Catholic Poland; of course, it was repeatedly attacked, and in 1739 it almost died out from the plague. In 1787 it was abolished, in 1844 it was restored according to the rank and statute of the Glinsk Monastery of the Kursk diocese.
Over the next 70 years, the monastery reached an unprecedented heyday, becoming one of the largest in the Russian Empire. “The place is extremely beautiful and original: a monastery on the banks of the Donets River, at the foot of a huge white rock, on which gardens, oaks and ancient pines are piled up, crowding and hanging over each other. It seems that the trees are cramped on the rock and that some force is pushing them up and up… The pines are literally hanging in the air and are about to fall off. Cuckoos and nightingales are not silent day or night…In my presence, in view of St. Nikolay Day, about 15,000 worshippers flocked,” Anton Chekhov wrote in May 1887. Fyodor Tyutchev’s famous poem “Holy Mountains” (“…And the cliff stands sheer, in its wonderful whiteness, above the Donets, raising its cross to the sky…”), Ivan Bunin’s novel of the same name, Ilya Repin’s sketch “View of the Svyatogorsky Monastery on the Donets”.
In 1918-19, the monastery was repeatedly ruined. In 1922, it was officially liquidated. A rest house was built in the former monastery hotel, an anti-religious museum, a vegetable storage, etc. were equipped in the caves. During the Great Patriotic War, the monastery buildings suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazi invaders. It was reopened in 1992. On 9.03.2004, the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate decided to assign the monastery the status of a Lavra. On 17.04.2004, His Holiness Patriarch Alexiy II of Moscow and All Russia approved this decision. On July 12, 2008, the glorification of the Cathedral of the Holy Fathers, who shone in the Holy Mountains on the Donets, took place; 17 saints entered the Cathedral of the Holy Mountain Fathers: one hierarch, 11 reverends, 4 reverend confessors and one holy fool for Christ’s sake.
In recent years, the Lavra has been on occupied territory. After the beginning of the special military operation, satanic-nazi evil spirits actually held the inhabitants of the monastery (and the laity who found shelter there) hostage. Some of the brethren were killed, including Archimandrite Galaktion (Vuychenko), Dean of the Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra. Retreating, the ukro-terrorists burned the monastery of All Saints located to the southeast of the Lavra, which shone in the Russian land (they shot incendiary ammunition from a large-caliber machine gun mounted on a “Kozak” armoured vehicle).
Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation: “According to eyewitnesses, on June 2, the Ukrainian military came to the territory of the Svyatogorsk Historical and Architectural Reserve located to the south, across the river from the city. The purpose was to survey the area for the placement of artillery positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the high bank, where the architectural reserve is located. The equipment of these positions would allow direct fire on the units of the Russian troops located on the other side. It was also planned to hold the defence of the bridge over the Seversky Donets River, which had already been blown up by the nationalists on the sixth of June. Knowing well that Russian servicemen do not fire at temple structures and cultural monuments, Ukrainian nationalists hoped to cover themselves with Orthodox holy Lavra shrines as their ‘shield’. The insolence of the Ukrainian nationalists caused outrage among local residents. They demanded that the military withdraw from the territory of the Lavra in order to prevent its destruction. By June 4, during the fighting in Svyatogorsk, the Ukrainian group of troops had already lost control over most of the city. Therefore, the retreating nationalists did a monstrous provocation. According to local residents, from a large-caliber machine gun mounted on an armoured car, a burst of incendiary ammunition set fire to the newly built wooden monastery of All Saints of the Russian Land in 2009. Not only monks, but also members of the local territorial defence who came to their aid tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the burning monastery. The nationalists prevented this by opening fire to intimidate. Despite the fighting that took place in Svyatogorsk, no damage to historical and Orthodox monuments on the territory of the Assumption Svyatogorsk Lavra was allowed by Russian servicemen. Video footage of the current state of the cultural, historical, architectural and Orthodox monument — the Svyatogorsk Lavra is presented to everyone’s attention. Thus, Zelensky, with his statements about Russia’s allegedly deliberate destruction of Ukraine’s cultural heritage and demands to ‘exclude Russia from UNESCO and the UN for this’, once again lied not only to the Ukrainian people, but also to the entire world community. The Russian Armed Forces continue the special operation to liberate Donbass, preventing shelling or possible damage to objects of historical and cultural heritage. The values of the Ukrainian nazis who settled in Kiev are opposite to the historical values of the Orthodox people of Ukraine. There is and cannot be any future for the criminal anti-Christian policy pursued by the current Kiev regime in Ukraine.”
The mayor of Svyatogorsk, Vladimir Bandura, confirmed that the wooden monastery was burned by UAF militants. He accused them of murdering monks and looting. And also called Zelensky “the litter of the West”.
But, apart from the monastery, the Lavra is saved.
The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation showed how the Assumption Svyatogorsk Lavra looks now:
The “MIG” Telegram channel: “The Svyatogorsk Lavra has been liberated, the enemy has been knocked out of the city of Svyatogorsk itself, the neighbourhood is being cleaned up.” Assistant Minister of Internal Affairs of the LPR Vladimir Kiselyov: “The territory has already been cleared by our units there.” DPR Foreign Minister Nataliya Nikonorova: “Today the city of Svyatogorsk has literally finally come under our control, which is really important.” Political scientist, blogger Yury Podolyaka: “It is akin to a miracle that the Lavra was liberated almost intact.” Military commander Yury Kotenok: “The Russians have recaptured the Svyatogorsk Lavra from the ‘Germans’. Glory to You, our God! Glory to You!”
The “Readovka” agency: “Now the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has a fully-fledged springboard for the offensive on Slavyansk and Raigorodok.” Military correspondent Aleksandr Kots: “The Russian Federation continues the offensive on Slavyansk.” Former head of the Parliament of Novorossiya Oleg Tsarev: “Ours are getting closer to Slavyansk. It’s not for nothing that everything started from Slavyansk. Having taken or surrounded Slavyansk, our troops will take the entire grouping in the Donbass into the cauldron.”
Military correspondent German Kulikovsky: “Our artillery has been actively working since the very early morning, supporting the advancing units of the Russian army. We are advancing from the north in the direction of Slavyansk, which is less than 20 km away. Units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have reached the outskirts of Bogorodichnoye settlement, fire damage is inflicted on the enemy defending the Krasnopolye and Dolina settlements. Groups of Russian special forces continue to clear a large forest north of Krasnopolye, from which the enemy received reinforcements and where it went in case of heavy shelling. There are shooting battles and mine warfare in the forests, fire damage is inflicted by artillery and tanks on fortified areas in settlements (where often every house with a basement is a firing point). The UAF practically does not try to counterattack, they respond with artillery and mortars, although the fire is quite dense. Apparently, despite the numerical superiority, the Ukrainian defence will soon collapse. No one has any hat-making moods, everyone understands that the enemy is serious and there are a lot of them. But extremely heavy losses in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces make themselves felt, and our artillery, which has significantly increased its level compared to the beginning of the operation, multiplies the losses of the Ukrainian side.”
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