Today VETLIVA will tell you:
- History of the Zhirovichi Monastery
- About the Zhirovichi icon and the architecture of the complex
- About monks life
- About sources in the monastery
- And for what purpose do people visit the Zhirovichi Monastery
History of the Zhirovichi Monastery
The way of life in the Holy Dormition Zhyrovichy Monastery has been shaped over the centuries. Maybe that's why as soon as you get there it seems that literally every stone is filled with calm. Contrary to the stereotypes, you will not see luxury in Zhyrovichy. Even the domes on the churches are not golden, but blue which is the colour of the sky.
The history of the Zhyrovichy Monastery dates back to 1470. That year, a miracle-working image of the Mother of God appeared to the shepherd boys in the branches of a wild pear tree. The place where the tree grew was well known, because a spring was beating from under its roots (now this spring is under the altar part, and only monks can go down to it).
The icon appeared twice. It was perceived as a sign and a wooden temple was built above the spring. The fame of the amazing place spread very quickly. Pilgrims began to come there, and in the middle of the 16th century an Orthodox monastery was formed in honour of the Dormition of the Mother of God.
A stone cathedral instead of a burnt-out wooden one was erected after the fire. And the Church of Epiphany was built on the site where the icon had been found for the second time. The stone on which the Virgin was sitting has also been preserved - it is placed in the altar of the temple.
The Zhyrovichy Monastery became the richest in Belarus and Lithuania in the second half of the 17th century. Vladislav the Fourth and Jan Kazimir, Jan III, August II and Stanislav August Poniatowski , the kings of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, made their pilgrimage to the miracle-working icon. In the 19th century more than 30 thousand pilgrims came together to celebrate the Feast of the Intercession there!
And now pilgrims come here from all over the world with their problems. They ask for help - and get it. At the Zhyrovichy Monastery you will be told about real cases of miraculous healings and the gracious help that this image brings.
About the Zhirovichi icon and the architecture of the complex
The Zhyrovichy icon is one of the 100 most significant Orthodox icons in the world. And it is revered not only by Orthodox believers. In a Roman monastery of Basilians a copy of the icon was made. In Rome it is revered as the Life-giving Virgin Mary (Madonna del Pascolo).
The architectural complex of the Zhyrovichy Monastery is quite large. It includes the Holy Dormition Cathedral, the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Church of the Epiphany, the bell tower, as well as the Theological Academy and Seminary, residential buildings and a refectory.
The farm, which belongs to the Zhyrovichy Monastery, is quite impressive. There is enough work for 200 people, not only for those who live and study here, but also for hired workers. They cultivate 60 hectares of land, they grow vegetables, fruit, berries and grain. They have their own farm, an apiary, a garden, and even lakes where they cultivate fish. But the traditional culture for monasteries, which is grapes, does not grow here. Unfortunately, the climate in Belarus is unpredictable. If one summer can be hot, the next one will be rainy. However, attempts to plant grapes have been made.
Agricultural work for the seminarians is an obedience that is done without question. As it was previously for all students, in September comes a hot time - the potato harvest. In general, the Zhyrovichy Monastery works on the principle of subsistence farming and provides food not only for itself, but also shares part of the production.
About monks life
It is not for nothing that monks are called the army of Christ. Tourists are asked not to disturb them for any good reason. Secular people are not allowed into the cells either. Only the rector and the vicar can visit them. However, everything in the rooms is very modest - a bed, a table and a shelf for books. A monk should not have personal belongings other than spiritual literature and clothing. They do not use the Internet - they come here to focus on prayer and obedience.
Taking the monastic vows and becoming a monk is a decision that cannot be reversed. The departure of a monk from the Brotherhood is perceived as a tragedy. And above all, this is a tragedy for a person himself, because the vow given to God is broken. This happens very rarely here.
Before a person can take the monastic vow, he must prove that he is ready for this important step. The test can last for years and consists of giving up worldly pleasures, faithful obedience and prayer. And only if the desire to become a monk does not fade away, he will eventually take the monastic vow and receive a new name.
Sources in the Zhirovichi Monastery
The most famous sacred springs in Belarus are in the village of Zhyrovichy. One of them, as we said, is under the altar. There are two more, not far from the monastery. And although they are equidistant, one is called “a neighboring” and the other one “a remote”. The tall trees that surround the springs create coolness even on the hottest days. Believers come here to collect water in cans, and for those who want to take a dip, there is a bath at the springs. The water is cold but after it you feel as if you have been born again.
For what purpose do people visit the Zhirovichi Monastery
Why visit the Zhyrovichy Monastery? Everything is clear with pilgrims: this is a spiritual shrine of Belarus. But what if you are an ordinary tourist? People come here for an answer to an unresolved question, when they have to change their life abruptly, when they have problems. However, many people strive to visit the Zhyrovichy Monastery simply in order to spend a day off in the silence of the prayfull walls, among which they find harmony with themselves. Russians, Ukrainians, Serbians and the citizens of other countries of near and far abroad are frequent visitors. Many of them come back again and again.
A lot of people go to Zhyrovichy not only for excursions, they stay for the vespers service. It is also possible to spend the night here, but it is worth reserving a place in advance. Women are accommodated in the so-called Pilgrim's House which is located 500 metres from the monastery, and men are accommodated in the monastery.
Welcome to the Zhyrovichy Monastery!