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The St. Nicholas Pustynnyi Monastery
(Mykilskyi Pustynnyi Monastyr)

The Monastery Of St. Michael Of The Golden Domes

 

Founded in the twelfth century, masonry church built in 1715, altered in the mid-nineteenth century, the church and belfry demolished in the mid-1930s.

According to legend. Prince Mstyslav, son of Volodymyr Monomakh, founded in 1113 the Monastery of St. Nicholas in a wooded area known as Pustynne. One of tile oldest monasteries of the city, it was known for its ownership of the land along the Dnieper river reaching almost up to the Podil. The monastery itself was located on the slope of the hill in the area of the present day Askold's Tomb. A monastic wooden church with a high tower gave the monastery its appellation Slupskyi (from the word "slup" or pillar).
In the last decade of the seventeenth century Hetman Mazepa built, closer to the Pecherska Lavra, a new and large masonry Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas. Subsequently, the old Church of St. Nicholas came to be known as the Little Nicholas (Malyi Mykola) while the new church was called the Great Nicholas (Velykyi Mykola). In 1715, Prince D. Golitsyn replaced the old wooden Church of St. Nicholas with a new masonry building of the Baroque style. The new monastic church was probably of the same architectural compostion as the old wooden one. It had a typically Ukrainian tripartite composition, an unusually high Baroque tower surmounted by a cupola and a classic pediment above the main entrance. In 1732 Metropolitan Raphael Zaborovskyi divided the "Little Nicholas" and the "Great Nicholas" into two separate monastic communities. In the nineteenth century, the Little Nicholas was markedly changed. Additions and modifications disfigured the original appearance of the Baroque composition of the church and its pillar-like tower and in 1874 a free standing three-story-high belfry was built next to it.
The St. Nicholas Pustynnyi Monastery was one of those monastic communities which was supported and protected by the Zaporozhian Host. Although the monastery was originally quite wealthy, by the beginning of the nineteenth century, its land holdings were limited to the cemetery around the Askold's Tomb. In the mid-Thirties the Little Nicholas was dismantled, probably at the same time as the Askold's Tomb cemetery was being demolished, and for the same reason- development of a recreational park on the slopes of Pecherske's hills.
No information is available on the date or circumstances of the dismantlement of the Baroque landmark. It existed in 1930. By the late 1930s it had disappeared. The Commissar of Education, in accordance with Soviet Ukraine's legislation of June 16,1926, must have authorized dismantlement of the "Little Nicholas". In 1936-37, park kiosks were erected on the site of the demolished monastery.

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