Vydubychi Monastery

Vydubychi Monastery Saint Michael Church

The architectural complex of Vydubychi Monastery in Kiev possesses high historical and cultural merits. Located between two picturesque hills, near Botanical Garden, full of green, monastery buildings look fantastic.

This ancient monastery was founded in 11th century by prince Vsevolod, who was a son of well-known ruler of Kiev Yaroslav the Wise. Later it became Kiev Princes family monastery.

The name of the monastery is connected with a historical toponym Vydubychi – a place name of the area where it was erected. There are several ways to explain the meaning of the word. The most popular one comes from the fact of the Holy Baptizing of Kiev by Prince Vladimir in 988.

As chronicles tell, the prince ordered to throw all pagan idols into the Dnieper River. Kiev citizens, being already baptized but remaining pagans deep inside, felt pity for the main God Perun wooden statue. So they run after the idol crying “Vyduby, bozje”, that meant “Come out, my god”. As Perun statue touched the land somewhere on present-day monastery area, it got the name of Vydubychi.

Before the invasion of the Golden Horde warriors in 1240, Vydubychi Monastery remained a center of religious and laic life in Kiev. Chronicles were created there; army of prince gathered on its territory before important military campaigns.

Vydubychi Monastery bell tower

Then it lost its influence, being revived only by 16-17 centuries. By that time, it was also used as a cemetery where many prominent personalities were buried.

As monastery buildings of 11th century were mostly made of wood, they didn’t preserve till nowadays. The only one exception is Saint Michael Church that was partially conserved (western wall). Churches and other present-day monastery buildings and structures are dated from 17th century. They are: Saint George Cathedral, bell tower, house of the senior priest, Transfiguration church (or Refectory), fraternity cells and so on. Those buildings represent Ukrainian Baroque style. Pear-shaped domes and moderate ornamentation are main features of this architectural tradition. Few graves of the necropolis are preserved as well.

Vydubychi Monastery visit may be scheduled for general Kiev city tour.