METOCHION OF OPTINA PUSTIN MONASTERY
The orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God stands towering on the Vasilievsky Island, at the mouth of the Neva River. Historically, this place has always belonged to monastic metochions: in the mid-18th century — to the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery, then to the Pskov Archiereus’ House, to the Holy Synod, and in the late 19th century it was given to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
HISTORY OF CONSTRUCTION
The metochion was constructed under the project of the famous architect Vasily Antonovich Kosyakov (the architect of the Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt, the Church of Our Lady the Merciful on Bolshoy prospekt and etc.).
In 1895, the church was solemnly founded in commemoration of the Dormition of the Mother of God and St.Anthony and St.Theodosius the Wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves Lavra (the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra).
The church was surrounded by a group of two-storey buildings: the Metropolitan Chambers, brenthren’s buildings, where the monastic cells were, and the housekeeping and office premises. The metochion’s construction was completed by 1900.
REPRESSIONS, DESTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH
The peaceful life of the Metochion of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra ended in 1917. Monks of the Metochion of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra continued celebrating divine services in the church, but by March 1932 they had all been arrested, convicted for counter-revolutionary activities and sent to the Solovki prison camp and into exile to Kazakhstan.
Thereafter, the Metochion of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra continued as the parish of the Dormition of the Mother of God Church, which consisted of loyal congregants. In late 1933, 43 people, the most fervent of the congregation, were arrested and accused of plans to assassinate Stalin — later two of them were executed. Among the arrested were also young children, one of which was a choirboy, Mikhail Vasilievich Gundyaev, the father of the future Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
In January 1935, the church was closed and turned into a warehouse. All church property was destroyed, with only exterior church decorations –such as tiles and mosaics — surviving.
In 1961, the first artificial ice skating-rink in Leningrad was opened in the church. At this rink began the world-famous Leningrad school of figure skating. The rink had a detrimental effect on the building: constant humidity brought mould to its walls and further ruined them.
RECONSTRUCTION AND RESTORATION
The metochion is listed as cultural heritage of the Russian Federation.
In June 1991, the former Kiev-Pechersk Metochion was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church as the metochion of the Svyato-Vvedensky Optina Pustyn monastery and the reconstruction began. In 2011, with the help of some archive photographs and drawings the iconostasis, that ceased to exist after 1935, was restored from oblivion. The renowned wall paintings were brought back to life and adorn the church again. On September 15, 2013 the fully restored church was consecrated by the rite of the Great Consecration by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
The metochion’s superior is hegumen Arsenius (Mosalev).
The services are adorned by the singing of the male chorus, which revives traditions of the ancient monastic chanting.
The Divine Liturgy starts at 9.00 am (on Sundays and the Great Feasts days, there are two Divine Liturgies at 7.00 am and 10.00 am), the Vesper Service is at 5.00 pm.
The Akathist to the Mother of God “Pantanassa” is celebrated weekly on Fridays at 11.00 am, the prayer service before the icon of the Mother of God “The Inexhaustible Cup” is held on Saturdays at 3.00 pm, the Akathist to Saint Ambrose of Optina is sung all weekdays at 11.00 am.
Dedication days: August 28 — the Dormition of the Mother of God; the second week of the Lent — the Synaxis of all the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves. Optina feast days: the commemoration of the Icon of the Mother of God “The Grower of Crops” (Sporitelnitsa Khlebov), the commemoration of the Venerable Optina Elders.
Icons: the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God has icons with the reliquaries of the Venerable Optina Elders, the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves, Saint Panteleimon and the icon of the Mother of God “Quick to Hearken”(Skoroposlushnitsa) that was painted on Mount Athos.
Pilgrimage center “Optina” arranges tours around the church, Saint-Petersburg and its suburbs (+7 921 348 6248).
The metochion offers accommodation and meal option to pilgrims (+7 981 880 3300).
Contact details: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
tel. +7 921 321 7473 — Church, +7 812 321 0070 — office.
For further information on the Metochion of the Dormition of the Mother of God please visit spb.optina.ru