There are a lot of sacred places, many silent shelters for tired soul of the wanderer in Russia today. But the soul searches rest here, in Kostomarov caves. When you are here, you forget about intolerable burden of cares and alarms. Here you touch with soul to eternity, to protogenic silence of the God’s creation.
The orthodox pilgrims who have visited vicinities of Jerusalem, find similarity of a kind of these sacred places to freakish outputs of cretaceous adjournment at the village of Kostomarovo in the Voronezh region. Not casually one of devotees of Kostomarov monastery - father Andrey named it New Jerusalem. Under the legend, about two thousand years ago sacred apostle Andrey Pervozvanny, coming back with Balaam in the southern lands, passed across the Don, preaching the Gospel. «The old man has visited some different countries. He liked Russian people most of all: strong, beautiful, with a kind heart. At first were pagans and worship different gods, but the good news about the True God remained in their hearts and forever hearts of descendants for many- many years»,- says the lend. In II - IV centuries the first cretaceous niches have appeared near the Don. Monks-eremites dug them hiding from attacks of nomads. They were ancient Christians, running from the Romans. In cretaceous mountains against the town of Pavlovsk the caves are found. They look like Roman catacombs. In the XI century many Christian prayers books appeared there.
During Alexey Mihajlovicha's reign here it was formed man's Belgorodsky Resurrection monastery. And above this monastery across the Don there was a hot her. Located in a picturesque valley among white mountains at the village of Kostomarovo. Soon he became an independent monastery which was kept till now. The main throne is consecrated in honour of the image of Spas, the second throne - in honour of sacred martyresses of Belief, Hope and Love. At an entrance of the cathedral the columns-divines remind towers of ancient monasteries which created by the God. This temple was under the construction in three calls: in XII, XVII and XIX centuries. There was a strengthened entrance, a well, an emergency exit before the Revolution. The temple was a fortress. Behind this temple there a deadlock passage. Near this passage was a room, with descent in a floor. Local people told to Voronezh cave explorers about it. Once local boys saw a crack there and having cleared the way, they entered the room where « there was a coffin filled with candles, and the silver cross. Probably, the perspicacious old man has hidden simple church property - candles and the cross.
Further to the West on a slope there is Serafimov temple. It was founded in 1903 and consecrated in the name of saint Serafim Sarovsky.The other temple was named «the Cave of the Repentance».Here the priest accepted a confession.Here the priest accepted a confession.
In these caves the small community was formed which consisted of local peasants among whom there was the local old man Peter Eremenko, the inhabitant of the village of Belogor’e.The local people called him father Peter or Parsley. Galina Vladimirovna Sashchenko told the story which had happened to her grandmother – Akulina Ivanovna Palkanova, Peter's niece. « Living in Belogor’e the woman got married. She did not have children for 6 years and she asked Peter: « Uncle, Why do not have children? » He answered: «Your geese have not arrived yet ».Some years later the woman worked with Peter in the field and saw, the geese in the dark blue sky. Peter said: « These geese are yours. Wait for the children ». And in 1924 at the daughter was born in Akulina’s family. One man knew about the gift of father Peter and came to ask him about the fourth child as his wife was on the family way. This person wanted to know - whether he would mute too, as well as his elder three children. Father Peter asked him several times, to remember what he had done. The man knelt and began to cry. The matter is that this person, being still the child, found a jack with three nestlings. He cut off the beaks of three nestlings with the scissors. « For this sin, - father Peter has said, - you have three mute children,the fourth child will speak»
At the beginning of the 30s the Kostomarovo caves: were closed by representatives of the Soviet authority. During the Great Patriotic war, Russian soldiers hid in caves. People of the village of Kostomarovo began long strong struggle since December, 1943 for opening of a cave temple. Several years they addressed the authorities with applications.The first signature was made by the representative church community of the village Kostomarovo- Eudoxia Stepanovna Shkarupina. She was born in the country family in March, 1853. And she learned to sew at home, she didn’t visit school. In 1870 Eudoxia Stepanovna got married. And in 1933 she became a widow, entered the collective farm. Shkarupina was one of the initiators of opening the church for parishioners of the village Kostomarovo Probably the native woman Ekaterina Egorovna Lagutkina told about her: « In a valley, near to caves, woman Dunja, Евдокия assisted patientand treated them with herbs. My cousin was ill with tuberculosis. Hospital treatment did not help him, and he was discharged from hospital to die at home. His relatives asked Dunja for help. So she cured him in a week, and after that he lived 35 years. And another woman the old resident of these places, Alexander Ivanovna Sidelnikova said: « We mum was ill.She was brought in a small house near caves, and in a week she came home. Dunya were treated by my mother in the following way. She brought differentherbs snd lit the stove and put my motheron it then she laid some hero and watered it. Then she put some grass my mother and allowed her to drink some broth. Then she began to pray for recovery. An said that she had. Once the girl to Eudoxia who had a strong came stomache. The woman said: « Leave! » The inhuman voice answered inside of huring: « Not now, I shall not leave ». Dunja repeated: « Leave! »»After that she the patient recovered. »
On February the 6th 1946 V.S.Gostev informed chairman of Podgorenskiy district committee Pavlenko that by the decision of Council on affairs of Russian orthodox church from 29.12.1945 in the village Kostomarovo the church opened. After war the monastery was quickly rebuilt: « had three choruses: one of parishioners of the village of Kostomarovo, another –from parishioners of the village of Judino, the third from pilgrims. On Sundays and holidays Nightlong vigil and the Liturgy were made in the church… Believers church songs. During that atheistic time and divine service were a feat in the name of the Christ. Everyone, coming to a temple, and everyone, making the service, risked not only him , but the relatives too. In spite of on any dangers, people went to caves and made religious processions.
At the end of 1958 for Kostomarovo monasteries hard time. Began December, 15th, 1958 local authorities got edict to close. It happened in October, 22, 1959 church. So the orthodox community has finished its existence . But sisters did not leave. They tried to support a monastic way of life: executed a rule, read divine books. The history kept a name of one of the work woman that time - mothers Maria Ivanovna Gashenko. She lived alone, in a small house, in the surburb of the village. She helped people coming to her.Maria Ivanovna assiduously asked the God about healing hurting and the God cured them. Tatyana Ivanovna Herman said about Maria Ivanovna Gashenko: « She treated me, when I was 7 years old. I was frightened of a dog and absolutely lost my speech. I did not talk for me month Doctors cured her in hospitals, but it did not help for her.Parents invited Maria Ivanovna when she arrived and asked to fill a basin with some water. At 11 o'clock p.m. she lighted the candles and began to read the prayers. Then she took a cross and said: « I shall read prays and we shall go around of a basin.» Till 12 night we read prays then I went to bed. In the morning. I said: «Mum! »People emaciated by war found of the latent caves for a pray. People trusted the predictions of old man according to which the life caves should have revived to.
Some time passed…At the beginning of the 90s cave temples were revived again. They were transferred to the Voronezh diocese.
Two year passed and the valley began to come to life. Electricity appeared, and then and the phone.
The numbers of sisters have increased. Some sisters came to the monastery with daughters. Small girl studied to read, write. At free time they looked after domestic animals. And in summer their duty was - to collect herbs and berries.
Pilgrims go to the sacred place from different places in Russia Russia to see the second Palestine and to see the sacrament of this lend with their own eyes. As well as on the Sacred Earth, here is Golgopha with the big wooden cross. And mountain Favor. And Gefsiman garden.
Miracles in Kostomarovo - usual things, but guard every time, disturb, surprise, admire believers, and non-believers too. Some moments could result at horror of the visitor of the person, and for local - all is usual. Unexpected occurrence of the light columns leaving in the sky resulted others in trembling. These beams - columns sometimes appear at night above the mountain. Many times religious processions were accompanied by occurrence ahead of going columns of light, pouring in souls as priests, monks, and pilgrims God’s good fortune. In Serafimov temple and caves - singing is sometimes heard and wonderful aroma which proceeds from a niche in which there was the Shroud of God’s mother. The shroud has disappeared, and aroma does not leave too…
Once builders came the close of Serafimov saw the old man with white beard before gates. In fear they ran. Children saw «Grandfather" in a temple many times. His image saw under reminded saint Serafim Sarovsky. May, 24, 2002 in the day of saint Slovene teachers of Kirill and Mefody.
During the service being outside of the temple the sisters, saw in the sky above the cupola a huge luminous aura.
People and the metropolitan Lord Mefody became witnesses of this wonderful phenomenon.
The Icon of the Virgin is worshipped by of the pilgrims in Spassky temple today. The the icon is written on iron because under wood is spoiled quickly. On the icon of the Virgin from Spassky temple you can see the holes of the shorts. The image on this icon did not suffer. It was surprising that this icon had not rust though there was a lot of dampness in caves. Iron is clean. Nobody does not think about bullets. This icon of sacred Virgin was transferred by prior Pokrovsky. Vasily Zemljanskim in gift revived Kostomarov monastery. At the end of December, 2001, according to eyewitnesses, the icon began to bleed plentifully. Nowadays a bleeding is not so seen. From this sacred icon there were some wonderful healings. From all places of our country a never – ending stream of pilgrims moves to Spassky monastery today. People go to the church their souls.
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Есть много священных мест, много тихих убежищ для утомленной души странника в России сегодня. Но отдохнуть человеческая душа может здесь, в Костомаровских пещерах. Когда Вы - здесь, Вы забываете о невыносимом бремени и тревог. Здесь Вы касаетесь с душой к вечности, тишине создания Бога.
Спасский женский монастырь расположен в двух километрах от правого берега реки Дон близ села Костомарово Подгоренского района Воронежской области. Главной достопримечательностью обители являются уникальные пещерные храмы, находящиеся в толще меловой горы. О времени их создания не сохранилось никаких письменных свидетельств. Существуют лишь гипотезы, предположения и устные предания, достоверность которых довольно сложно определить.
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