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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Nikolai Zharkikh

From our studies we have the following conclusions:

1. The first mention of the Assumption Church in Salachik belonging to the late 16th century (1596, 1598). In the days of the Crimean Khanate Salachik (a small town at the foot of the cliff Chufut-Kale) always different from Bakhchisarai. Even in the 19th century there was a clear gap between the buildings Bakhchisaray and place Assumption Church. It must be distinguished from the church of St. Nicholas in the Bakhchisarai known from the mid-18th century.

2. From 1634 we have the first description of the cave church and submerged in the thick of rock stairs to her (E. Dortelli d’Ascoli). These ancient buildings are relatively well preserved to our days.

3. Historical sources 1596 – 1783 always call the sanctuary at rocks Assumption Church, not a monastery. Accordingly, we do not have for that time any mention of monks and do not know any name abbots. Instead, we have several names of priests (secular clergy). In particular, in 1692 the church served Ukrainian priest Michael Makovetskiy.

4. In modern literature portrayed the legend supposedly "Assumption monastery" at the time of the Crimean Khanate was the residence of Gothian Metropolitan and supposedly this "monastery" played an important role in the expulsion of Greeks from Crimea in 1778. Both legends have no support in the sources.

5. The views expressed in the scientific literature suggested that the many Crimean cave complexes were monasteries to be dated to the times of 8 to 15 cent., require critical review, since the best documented complex emerged only in the late 16th century and was not a monastery.

6. After the construction of a new Bakhchisarai St. Nicholas cathedral (1800) Assumption Church became affiliated (cemetery) one. Worship it was conducted only occasionally, at the request of visitors by priests Bakhchisarai Cathedral (Greek Konstantin Spirandi, and later his son George).

7. In 1786 – 1845 years sanctuary visited by many (at least 29) travelers, who published those travel notes. They instantly called rock "monastery" (sometimes with the observation that there is essentially only the church) – presumably under the influence of priests Spirandi stories.

8. These descriptions, no one previously used, allow comparatively detailed description of the object, which consisted of open stairs that led from the middle to the upper terrace. From it a staircase inside the rock one could enter the cave churches and the external wooden gallery which connected the church with other cave premises. In the church noticed some poorly preserved paintings and adornments (including coins) hung from the walls. Near the church had special niches (lokulus) for burial. Larger ground cemetery was located on the terraces at the foot of the cliff.

9. In 1818 Emperor Alexander 1st visited holy place, and from that time until 1913 every Russian emperor and many members of the ruling house visited this place – first the desolated church, and then the current hermitage. But these visits require more detailed documentation.

10. In 1849 the newly appointed archbishop of Kherson and Tauride Innocent (Borisov) raised to the power request "recovery" (as he thought, but in fact – the foundation) form of monastic life in the rock. This meant that the monastery have less structure than was provided for the then standards of the Russian church. Another feature of the project was its self-financing: skete had to live (and actually existed) the means of philanthropists and their own labor, without state funding.

11. The decree of Emperor Nicholas 1st establishing a monastery on the following principles was signed May 4, 1850, And on 15 August the same year, in the feast of the Assumption, the grand opening of the monastery.

12. During the 2nd half of the 19th century skete heavily built, were built the Church of St. Constantine and Helen (1857), St. Mark (1859), St. George (1875), St. Innocent of Irkutsk (1896), abbot’s house (1862, survived to our time), cells, refectory, hotel and service buildings. Stairs from the middle to the upper terrace were crowned with a bell tower (1850?, rebuilt in the late 20th century in forms close to the original). Deep in the rocks were cut down stairs that led to the plateau above the gorge.

13. In 1854 – 1855 years, during the Crimean War, the monastery housed a military hospital. At the cemetery buried generals P. Vrevski and P. Veimarn who died in battle on the Black River 4 August 1855. Their graves have preserved to our time.

14. After the establishment of Soviet power in Crimea in 1921 monastery was closed and turned into a colony named after Artem. All valuables was thus removed from in, including approx. 2.7 billion rubles of money and 18.5 kg of silver articles. Believers repeatedly raised the request for the transfer of some of the churches to them, but the government always denied this. In 1927 on the day of the Assumption (15 (28) August) on this ground pass popular unrest – the faithful tried to forcibly occupy churches, police dispersed them. After that incident, authorities began to destroy the monastery harder, and in 1928 all churches (except cave one) and bell tower were dismantled.

15. After the formation in 1955 Bakhchisaray Historical and Cultural Reserve destroyed skete included in its composition, in 1965 – 66 years of restoration work was held at the Assumption Church. The object was considered an architectural monument.

16. In independent Ukraine June 8, 1993 was accepted the decision of the Council for Religious Affairs under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the restoration of the monastery. The new building of the monastery performed by new projects not related to buildings of 2 half 19th century. The monastery is subject to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate. Unofficially used to it the name "laurel" and "Crimean Athos." Recycled monastery performed mad anti-Ukrainian propaganda.

17. The main disadvantage of earlier studies of the monastery – insufficient involvement of sources (from 60 sources we used earlier were used 4 – 5). Even the few sources involved were not considered critical and information available to them are not properly interpreted.