METOCHION OF OPTINA PUSTIN MONASTERY
An orthodox church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary stands towering on the Vasilievsky Island, at the mouth of the Neva River. Historically, this place belonged to metochions of monasteries: in the mid 18th century – to Holy Trinity St. Sergius Monastery, then to Pskov Bishops’ house, the Holy Synod, and in the late 19th century it passed to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
HISTORY OF CONSTRUCTION
The metochion was constructed under the project of the famous architect Vasily Antonovich Kosyakov (architect of the Naval Cathedral in Kronstadt, the Merciful Mother of God Church on Bolshoy prospekt and etc.). In 1895, the church was solemnly founded in commemoration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves Anthony and Theodosius. Two-storey buildings would encircle the church: one being the Metropolitan’s chambers and brenthren’s buildings where monastic cells were, as well as office premises. The metochion’s construction was completed by 1900.
REPRESSIONS, destruction of the church
In 1917, the peaceful life of the Metochion of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra ended. Monks of the Metochion of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra kept on celebrating divine services in the church, but by March 1932 they had been all arrested, convicted of counter-revolutionary activities and sent to Solovki prison camp and into exile to Kazakhstan.
After that the Metochion of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra continued as a parish with the Assumption Church, consisting of loyal congregation. In late 1933, forty-three people, the most fervent congregants, were arrested. They were accused of plans to assassinate Stalin, with two of them later executed. Young children were among those who had been arrested, one of them was a choirboy, Mikhail Vasilievich Gundyaev, the father of future Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
In January 1935, the church was closed and turned into a warehouse, all church property 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. This rink gave rise to the world-known Leningrad school of figure skating. The rink had a detrimental effect on the building: constant humidity brought mould to the walls and which 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 a Metochion of the Svyato-Vvedensky Optina Pustin monastery. The reconstruction began. In 2011, with the help of archive photographs and drawings the iconostasis that ceased to exist after 1935, was brought back from oblivion. The renowned wall paintings would again adorn the church. On September 15, 2013, the fully restored church was consecrated by the rite of the great consecration by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
The metochion’s superior is hegumen Arsenius (Mosalev).
The morning prayer starts at 9.00 am (on Sundays - at 10.00, early Liturgies on great feasts days, Sundays – at 7.00), the vesper service is at 17.00.
The Akathist to the Mother of God "Pantanassa" is read weekly on Fridays at 15.00, on Saturdays the prayer service is held at 15.00 before the icon of the God’s Mother “The Inexhaustible Cup”, the akathist to Venerable Ambrose is sung with people almost every day.
The services are adorned by the singing of the male chorus, restoring the tradition of the ancient monastic chanting.
Dedication days: August 28 - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the second week of the Lent - the Synaxis of all the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves.
Optina’s holidays: commemoration of the Icon of the Mother of God “The Grower of Crops” (Sporitelnitsa Khlebov), commemoration of the Venerable Optina Elders.
Icons: the church of the Assumption has icons with the reliquaries of the Venerable Optina Elders, the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves, Saint Panteleimon; the Church was presented with an icon of the Mother of God "Quick to Hearken"(Skoroposlushnitsa) that was painted on the Mount Athos.
The metochion has the city’s largest orthodox library (tel. 7 812 323 71 61).
Pilgrimage center "Optina" arranges tours around the church, Saint-Petersburg and its suburbs ( tel. 7 921 348 62 48).
The metochion offers accommodation and meal option to pilgrims ( tel. 7 981 880 33 00).
Contact details: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 7 921 321 74 73 - Church, tel. 7 812 321 00 70 - office.
For further information on the Assumption’s metochion please visit http://spb.optina.ru