HISTORY:Description 3

On 23rd of April, Easter Day, after liturgy in the Dormition Church of the present monastery, the Metropolitan presented this proposal to the congregation. The news of the Christians’ exodus spread throughout the whole of Crimea. The Tartars viewed the departure of the Christians with extreme indignation, and railed against the Khan who was watching the Russian manoeuvres with indifference. But thanks to the vigilance and letters of exhortation of Metropolitan Ignati, as well as to the priests he had deployed in the villages for this purpose, the Christians decided unanimously to leave Crimea forever and move to Russian land.

At that time the monastery of the Dormition of Bakhchisaraï became once again an important centre for Crimean Christians. The sons of Pantikopei, Feodossia and Khersones gathered at the monastery for a last prayer to the Holy Theotokos, who had for centuries protected them with her veil against Muslim attack. The Greek's departure from the beloved region of Tavrida was difficult.

The Metropolitan gave prayers of thanksgiving and farewell. After the prayer, the Metropolitan, the priests and all the Christian followers took the miraculous icon of the Theotokos and set off in a long procession, accompanied by songs and prayers, over mountains and across plains, leaving forever their native country, with everything that was precious to them, for Novorussia.

Here, not far from Marioupol city, the holy icon from the Monastery of the Dormition can be found today. This event led to the closure of the monastery of Tavrida for a period. In 1781, the Greek priest Konstantin Spirandi came from Antiochia to the Bouiuk-Lokbet wharf. Hearing of his arrival, the Christians who were still living in Crimea asked him to stay with them in order to serve at the monastery (the church of Saint Elias in Bakhchisaray having fallen down after the Greeks’ departure) At that time, with Crimea under Russian domination and Russian troops in Bakhchisaray, the need for religious services increased. The priest agreed to stay with the Greeks, and until 1800 he lived near the church of the monastery. When the Greeks built their own temple in Bakhchisaray city, Konstantin Spirandi moved to Bakhchisaray where he lived until his death, leading the Christians in their spiritul observance. He is buried under the rock facing the church of the Dormition. It was at this time that renovation work on the monastery began. Colonel Totovich, commander of Bakhchisaray, donated a holy iconostasis; the military governor, General Kahovsky, had the Holy Doors erected at his own charge, and the church warden Stefan Kaliga extended the cavern temple and repaired the steps and balcony. In 1800 a temple consecrated to Saint Nicolas the Thaumatourgos was built and the monastery was transformed into a cemetery church. It held this status for 50 years, annexed to the synodical urban college and being forbidden the right to have its own priests. But Divine Providence did not forsake the church during this time and manifested her invisible presence through miraculous power, protecting the suffering people who were constantly visiting this sacred place.

After the Greeks had left the monastery with the miraculous icon, new miracles were witnessed from the icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Church of the Dormition. This icon had been donated by the Serbian commander of Bakhchisaray, Colonel Totovich. Among the countless miracles produced in the presence of the starets, Archpriest Konstantin Spirandi, who died at the age of 80, two particularly remarkable ones are worth mentioning. A Greek from Anatolia had a 16-year-old son whose arms and legs had been deformed for several years by a severe disease.

One night in his sleep, the father, who was distressed by his son’s pain, heard a voice telling him to take his son to the rock of the Dormition to be healed. After reciting the Akathistos Hymn in front of the icon of the Dormition, and having kissed the icon, the disabled child felt an extraordinary flow of force through his whole body. Although he was carried from the rock by his parents, an hour later, as the family were starting on their way home, the child suddenly stretched his arms and legs and jumped out of the coach. He ran and jumped for joy, crying out that the Theotokos had healed him. Similarly, a sick officer from Evpatoria whose name was Anastasias Doussi, was possessed by an evil spirit.


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