The Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery is the Russian Orthodox monastery which also goes by the name of the Holy Dormition Monastery. The Holy Dormition Monastery is situated in the western part of Pskov, a city located in close proximity of the Estonian border.
It is definitely not on your route, if you are on your way to visiting Moscow and Sankt Petersburg, but if you find yourself in this region, you should make some time to visit this beautiful monastery.
The edifice is considered to have been founded in the second half of the 15th century, in 1473, when St. Jonah had sanctified the monastery of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God. But historically, the life of the monastery began several years in advance as a number of hermits who wanted to isolate themselves from the material word and all its temptations and who wanted to seek spiritual rebirth, had decided to live in the caves found in this place. In fact, the vestiges of some of the hermits are still located inside the caves and many decide to take this road in order to pay their respect and express their adoration to the holy remains of the saint.
The monastery had seen both times of happiness and sorrow, but after centuries had gone by and after the experiences it underwent, it is still standing and believers still give voice to their prayers in this place.
As time went by, the size, as well as the status of the monastery has increased. It was in the 16th century that the Monastery of the Holy Dormition had expanded extensively, becoming a monastic ensemble. Two churches and a bell tower were constructed and the entire complex was fortified by means of a stone wall which comprised several strongholds within its design. It was around this time that the friary increased in size, numbering as much as 200 members.
The importance of the monastery intensified and due to the flourishing period it traversed, the abbot in charge of the complex decided to begin recording all the events which were even remotely connected to the specific construction, but more importantly those of religious significance. The monastery also comprised a workshop designated to teaching the craft of icon-painting.
After this glorious period, came a troublesome period in which the edifice was heavily damaged due to the constant attacks directed at it. These came from different sides (Poland and Lithuania), but the attack with the most devastating effects was carried out in 1581 by Stephan Batory, the Polish King of that time.
At present the monastic complex comprises 10 churches, but the number of brothers that are part of the friary has greatly diminished in comparison to the large community (200) that existed in the 16th century.
The friary goes on with its day undisturbed, the monks working in the field in order to sustain themselves. The workshop which was established such a long time ago is still functional and besides engaging themselves in icon-painting, the participants are also thought how to carefully tend to a damaged icon in order to restore its original appearance.
539 years have gone by since the monastery was erected. The world has changed extensively during this time, edifices have been constructed or have been transformed into ruins, but the monastery has preserved its position and now stands proudly as the stronghold of Russian Orthodoxy.