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The Republic of Adygea , Pobeda

St. Michael The Athos Monastery

Свято-Михайловский Афонский мужской монастырь
Фотобанк Лори

The Monastery is located in Pobeda village at an altitude of 900 meters. In 1887, in the Church of the Holy Archangel St. Michael (the first church completed at the site), the lamp of monastic life began to glow for the first time, illuminating the Caucasus Mountains with its soft light.

The idea to build a monastery in Maikop county in Kuban oblast appeared in 1874.  It followed the visit of His Most Pious Majesty the Emperor Alexander III, who arrived in the Kuban region with a government mission to end the bloody Caucasian War as soon as possible.

The end of the war ignited among the Cossacks the traditional Russian commitment to take pilgrimage to the monasteries. Reaching the southern slopes, where the Pitsunda monasteries were located, from the Kuban and the North Caucasus was complicated by the long distances and difficult mountain passes.

In 1876, the Grand Duke Michael Nikolayevich Romanov asked Bishop German of Stavropol to start building the monastery. On May 31, 1877, the general administration of the Caucasus governor reported to the head of Kuban oblast the governor's decision to build the monastery. The latter agreed that the surroundings of the Fiziabgo mountain were desolate and unpopulated, and that the construction of a monastic cluster would serve the promotion of Orthodoxy and a revival of the area. On October 19-20, 1877, according to a Cossak proposal, 350 acres were allotted for the future monastery by the land surveying administration of Kuban oblast.

Officially, the monastery was established by an order of the Holy Governing Synod on August 13, 1883, and named St. Michael The Athos Trans-Kuban of Cenobitic Solitude. The part «St. Michael» was chosen in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel; the part «The Athos» was chosen owing to cenobites from Holy Mount Athos, who became the first builders and inhabitants of the monastery; the part «Trans-Kuban» was chosen due to its location beyond the Kuban river. The monastery was built as a Caucasian War memorial, as a sign of reconciliation between Russians and the mountain peoples.

Cossacks from adjacent villages helped during the construction.

A stream of pilgrims poured into the convent with the beginning of divine services. They were glad to help in the construction and carried stones to the Fiziabgo mountain. The splendid stone Cathedral of the Transfiguration was erected on the top of the mountain. With its shining gold-plated domes, it could be seen from dozens of kilometers away.

The monastery earned а good reputation all over the region. Pious people tried to send their sons to this monastery in order to educate them about the spirit of the holy faith, Christian lifestyle, and love of labor, as well as to provide them with scholarship and knowledge of arts and crafts.

The most sacred items that attracted pilgrims to the cathedral were particles of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord and relics of 36 saints reverently preserved in special precious reliquaries at the cathedral's holy altar. Among the relics of saints were parts of the undecayed remains of the holy prophet St. John the Baptist, St. Ambrose of Milan, and St. Charalambos.

One of the most extraordinary features of the convent are the man-made caves. Speleologists believe that they date back to the ninth and tenth centuries. These caves and underground galleries are located at a depth of 50 meters from the plateau surface. Earlier, their length under the monastery plateau alone was around three kilometers, and beyond it there were passages going in 12 different directions. Only part of the cave cells, one hall, and corridors around 300 meters in length have survived to the present.

The monastery offers excursions about the history of the convent.

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Address: The Republic of Adygeya, Maikop region, Pobeda

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