Unique historic ensemble of the Vydubytskyi Monastery of the 11th-19th cc. is located in the picturesque area near the Dnieper River known as Vydubichi. According to the legend, the area got such name after the event happened near the cliff. After Christianization of Kievan Rus in 988, the pagan idol Perun was thrown into the waters of the Dnieper River. Those Kyiv residents, who did not want to be converted to Christianity, ran along the bank crying to the idol: “Vydubai, bozhe, vydubai”. The idol finally emerged from the waters near the cliff. The ancient chronicles also say that in princely times at that place there was a ferry to the left bank of the Dnieper River. Finally, Vydubytskyi Monastery was founded there in the second half of the 11th c. by Price Vsevolod, the son of Yaroslav the Wise.
The monastery was widely known in the times of Kievan Rus. The Father Superior Sylvester edited the manuscript of the “Chronicle of the Bygone Years” here. Moreover, Kyiv Chronicles were also written in Vydubytskyi Monastery.
Originally the main temple of the monastery was the Cathedral of St. Michael, founded by Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavich in 1070 – 1088. It was a family monastery of the Monomakhs for a long time. Only part of the cathedral has survived over the centuries. In the 16th c. half of the temple (the dome and the altar) fell into the Dnieper as a result of the landslides. Its reconstruction was performed only in 1769 and the building gained lush forms of the Ukrainian Baroque.
The ensemble of the monastery was formed in the middle of the 18th c. The Ukrainian Baroque structures include the magnificent St. George’s Cathedral (1686-1701), the Transfiguration of the Savior Church and Refectory (1696-1701), a Bell Tower (1727-1733), the chapel of St. Michael’s Cathedral (the end of the 18th c.) and the brethren’s buildings (1845-1851).
St. George’s Cathedral is the central dominant temple of the complex. Its architectural style combines the elements borrowed from the traditional wooden churches of Ukraine and Baroque influences. It is probably the most refined five-domed cathedral in the Ukrainian Baroque style which has been preserved.
In 1786 as a result of secularization, Vydubytskyi Monastery lost almost all its land holdings, received the status of the monastery of the second class and became a hospital for Kyiv monks. Since that time the monastery gradually turned into a cemetery that became the final resting place of Kyiv elite.
In the 19th century there were a school, an orphanage and a building for poor older churchmen within the territory of the monastery. In 1924 the monastery was closed after the establishment of the Soviet regime. Religious services were conducted in St. Michael’s Cathedral till 1936; other buildings were handed over to the workers and employees of the woodworking plant. In 1967 the fire damaged all interior decoration of St. George’s Cathedral together with the collection of early printed books. After that, restoration works began in the temples, but the territory of Vydubytskyi Monastery was transferred to the Institute of Archeology NAS of Ukraine.
Vydubytskyi Monastery was reopened in 1992, but it had to coexist with the Institute of Archeology for another five years. Since 1997 the monastery is administered by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate).