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Churches, monasteries, sights of pilgrimage

Holy Trinity Monastery in Mezhirich

Holy Trinity Monastery-Fortress in Mezhirich (also called the Holy Trinity Mezhirich Monastery) looks more like a powerful and impressive castle than a quiet spiritual shrine. The majestic complex of gilded domes and pointed towers, towering over the picturesque pond, is visible from afar and captivates with its beauty.
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Holy Trinity Monastery in Mezhirich

Holy Trinity Monastery-Fortress in Mezhirich (also called the Holy Trinity Mezhirich Monastery) looks more like a powerful and impressive castle than a quiet spiritual shrine. The majestic complex of gilded domes and pointed towers, towering over the picturesque pond, is visible from afar and captivates with its beauty.

The beginning of monasticism in Mezhirich where the Monastery was founded by monks of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is first mentioned after 1240 in the chronicle.

The first written notice about Mezhirich village was in the letter of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas, also known as Vytautas the Great, written on July 3, 1396, in Lutsk. In this letter, Vytautas confirms his previous grant to Prince Feodor Ostrogski (a powerful magnate in Volhynia of Rurikid stock, son of Daniil Ostrogski; in some sources he's called Teodor, Fedko or Frederic) of the town of Ostroh and the adjacent lands, increasing this grant to several estates, including Mezhirich. Thus, in 1396 the ruler of Mezhirich village became the Reverend Prince Feodor Ostrogski, who in 1442 was tonsured in the Kyiv Pechersk Monastery, where he ended his righteous life. Prince Feodor had his fortified castle in Mezhirich, which was most likely made of wood and was a settlement with earthen ramparts, on top of which there was a fence of logs with pointed tops. There was a wooden Holy Trinity Church in the middle of the castle, which became the basis of the monastery. After The Church was destroyed by fire in 1454, the construction of a stone church began, which has survived to this day. Due to the increasing number of attacks by infidels, the princes Ostrogski decided to improve the defense of the monastery. In order to do this, the people worked for several decades to surround the temple with earthen ramparts and to create other fortifications. Thus, in 1571, the monastery was surrounded by stone walls topped with sharp den-tellated battlements, a wooden bridge and a stone tower-bell tower nearby.

Mezhirich monastery

After the last member of the Ostrogski family converted to Catholicism in 1612, the church and the fortress passed into the possession of the monks of the Franciscan Order, aiming to establish a monastery here. Due to this intention, two-storey symmetrical cell buildings were soon added to the Holy Trinity Church, on the outer corners of which the owners built three-tiered towers with loopholes with pointed domes.

The architecture of the monastery complex is striking with the symmetry and conformity of its structures, as well as a unique and harmonious combination of different styles - Old Russian style, Gothic style, Baroque and Renaissance.

The ensemble of the monastery-fortress in Mezhirich includes the Trinity Church, cells, an entrance tower with a bell tower and a south-eastern part. In the very centre of the Holy Trinity Monastery there is majestically located Trinity Church. The church is made in the Old Russian style, its windows are decorated with the Gothic style ornament, the apses have Renaissance carvings, and the drums of the domes are decorated in scratch-work style. Two-storey symmetrical cells were built on the sides of the church. The Church with cells is surrounded by a defensive wall with four towers at the corners. The thickness of these walls is 1.5 meters, and the height is 8 meters. Corner towers of the defensive wall are hexagonal, with den-tellated battlements, they are decorated with Renaissance decor. On the opposite side from the entrance to the church there are the entrance tower, the gate church and the bell tower.

The Mezhirich monastery-fortress managed to preserve the interior of the church well. It is decorated in Baroque style. Trinity Church is decorated with many icons, however there is the main shrine of this church among them: it is the miraculous icon of the Mother of God "Life of the Giver". The icon was presented to the Princes Ostrogski by the Patriarch of Constantinople as a gift for active defense of the Orthodox faith. This icon is one of the miraculous icons. Today, in an ancient book stored in the library, one can read about many wonders that are directly related to it. In all their campaigns the Princes Ostrogski were accompanied by the icon of the Mother of God "Life of the Giver", and they solemnly believed that the intercession of this image always brought them victory.

In 1866, the Holy Trinity Monastery in Mezhirich was again transferred to the Orthodox Church. As a gift for the monastery, Empress Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark, spouse of Emperor Alexander III) decorated the icon with a silver frame with emeralds. At that time, the icon had been consecrated for 100 years according to Catholic rites.

In addition to this icon, the Trinity Church of the monastery is decorated with two other very interesting icons: the Icon of St. Great Anthony (founder of monastic life in Egypt), painted in the 18th century, and the Icon of St. Prince Feodor Ostrogski (a powerful magnate in Volhynia of Rurikid stock, son of Daniil Ostrogski. In some sources he's called Teodor, Fedko, Frederic or Theodore Ostrogski. Thanks to his merits and efforts, Volhynia was for some time the cultural centre of the country. He was the founder of the Mezhirich monastery and a simple monk of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra).

The palace of the Princes Ostrogski used to be located next to the monastery, but today only a huge furnace for heating the guards remains. All other buildings were destroyed by numerous wars. For the inhabitants of the Mezhirich monastery, the furnace was also a smithy. Today it is a giant "Renaissance fireplace", which for tourists is an interesting attraction of the village, and for locals - a convenient place for having barbecue.

By some miracle, the Holy Trinity Monastery managed to survive the constant Tatar-Turkish invasions, as well as the Cossack-Polish wars. In addition, during the World War II, the sacred monastery protected the locals from the Nazi occupiers.

With the advent of Soviet power, the life of the Mezhirich monastery ceased for some time. Only in 1991, monastic life was allowed to resume. Nowadays, 20 monks live in this monastery.

Anyone can visit the Holy Trinity Church and worship the miraculous icon. The main thing is to come here properly dressed: visitors may not be allowed to go to church if a man wears shorts above the knees and a woman is not in a skirt of proper length and does not cover her head. These rules are followed by monks in strict order. However, here you can walk freely on the territory of the monastery, admire its charming, bright, beautiful, well-groomed flower beds. On the territory of the Holy Trinity Monastery there is an icon shop, a prosphoro bakery (a prosphoron is a small loaf of leavened bread used in Orthodox Christian and Greek Catholic (Byzantine) liturgies), a candle workshop, and a hotel for pilgrims.

Affiliation: Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Rivne Diocese (Moscow Patriarchate)

Language of worship: Church Slavonic

Tourist routes:

Mezhirich Ostroh

Historical places of Orthodoxy in Ukraine

Minibuses from Rivne: routes that pass through the village of Mezhirich, Rivne - Shumsk, Rivne - Ternopil, Rivne - Viliia, Rivne - Kremenets, Rivne - Teremne.

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Rivne Region, vul. Zasaddia, Mezhyrich, Ostroh Raion (district)

50.3073841 | 26.489708699999998



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