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monastery of the caves

July 2, 2010

[NYTimes] In 1051 a Greek Orthodox monk named Anthony retreated to a cave overlooking the Dnieper River in Kiev. Disciples came, buildings were constructed, and, by the 17th and 18th centuries, the Monastery of the Caves embraced a flourishing metropolitan sprawl of 3 Ukrainian cities, 7 towns, 120 villages and more than half a million peasants.

Today, in addition to a multi-tiered, gold-domed bell tower soaring more than 300 feet, its most remarkable feature is a system of subterranean caves, including living quarters and chapels, and a labyrinth extending more than 650 yards into the Berestov Mount.

The monastery operated an art school from the 17th century to 1917 that attracted students from all over Eastern Europe and Russia. Now the National Kiev-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve — as the monastery was renamed in 1926 under the atheistic Soviet government — boasts a collection of more than 70,000 pieces, among them icons, paintings, metalwork and embroidery. A sample of the monastery’s holdings, along with selections from the Lviv National Museum, is on view in “The Glory of Ukraine: Sacred Images From the 11th to the 19th Centuries,” a captivating exhibition of works from Ukraine at the Museum of Biblical Art. (read)

The Glory of Ukraine
Museum of Biblical Art
June 18-September 12, 2010

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