Maniava Monastery and Waterfall

Have you ever heard of places of power? These are the places with special energy and people have long believed that here you can purify your soul and get new life energy.

We don’t know if this is true or not, but the Maniava Skete is a place of power where millions of pilgrims were coming to pray for many centuries. People have preserved in their memory the evidence that the Maniava monastery heals the soul and body. There are many different periods in its history – a period of prosperity for the monastery, the closure by the Austrian authorities and the decline during the Soviet era, but people never stopped coming here.

Nowadays, the monastery has been revived and every year more and more people visit these holy places. We invite you to join them and see Maniava Monastery on tours:

Founded in the early seventeenth century, Maniava Monastery was soon awarded the title of the main monastery for a number of lands. Thus, in 1628, at the Kyiv Council, the Maniava Monastery was recognized as the main one in the Halych, Belz and Kamyanets-Podilsky provinces. 556 monasteries were under its authority.

Maniava Monastery

How to explain this fact? The fact was that the monastery not only demonstrated spiritual greatness but also became a great educational and cultural centre.

The founder of the monastery was Iov Knyagynytsky – a highly educated man, one of the greatest opinion leaders in matters of faith at that time. The greatest influence on the formation of his views had a long stay on Mount Athos and communication he had there with Ivan Vyshensky. Having returned to Ukraine, he began to embody his ideas of serving the truth through printing books and involving the most prominent scholars in education. In addition, the monastery conducted theological courses and had an excellent library with hundreds of valuable manuscripts.

The is more evidence confirming that it was a significant cultural centre of its time. Maniava monastery had a school of singing and painting. The school of choral singing was developed by the successor of the founder of the monastery – Abbot Theodosius, and inspecting the iconostasis that has survived to this day we can now judge about the level of the painting school. (In Eastern Christianity, an iconostasis is a wall with religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church – see the picture below.) This is a highly artistic work in the Baroque style made by Iov Kondzelevich, one of the outstanding masters of the XVII century. He was the head of the art school in the Maniava monastery and under his authority, this school reached its peak. Now the iconostasis is exhibited in the Lviv National Museum and is considered one of the most significant sacred pearls of that era.

Iconostasis of Maniava Skete

In addition, during the turmoil and attacks of the Turks or Tatars, the monastery became a safe haven for the local people. It was surrounded by strong stone walls, and also had underground cellars with secret exits to the mountains and connected passages between buildings.

Unfortunately, the monastery was closed at the end of the 18th century by order of the Austrian emperor and many buildings of that time were lost. To this day were preserved only the monastery tower, the underground church of Archangel Michael, and the rest was rebuilt during the restoration of the Ukrainian state. Currently, there are a male monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and a number of churches – St. Boris and Gleb, the church of Archangel Michael, the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Monastery in winter

Pilgrims have the opportunity to pray to the miraculous icons “Virgin Hodegetria”, which dates back to the 18th century and to the icon “Abbess Manyavska” from the 17th century, as well as to the relics of the holy founders of the monastery.

How to get to Maniava monastery? It is located in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, in the Bohorodchany district. You can get to Nadvirna station by train, and then by car to the village of Maniava. But the easiest and most interesting way to get there is by a big comfortable bus with an all-knowing and cheerful guide on the tour:

The tour to the Maniava monastery should be continued with a journey to the Blessed Stone. According to legend, this is where the “first apostles of the Carpathian Foothills” settled. You have to walk almost a kilometre through a narrow mountain gorge to see one of the amazing creations of nature – a giant stone block with a grotto. They say that the cave niche became the first home for monks fleeing from the Tatars. Tired and helpless, they leaned on a rock and drank spring water. It gave them strength, and its taste reminded of the sacred waters of Mount Athos, where they came from. So the monks decided to stay here and the place in the woods was eventually named “Blessed Stone”, and the healing properties of this water were recognized.

Blessed stone

Water had flowed from under this stone for centuries, but since the closure of the monastery in 1785, the spring disappeared. It remained dry for more than 200 years, but after the restoration of the monastery in 1998, drops of healing water have started to gather in the same place again. This place has become one more object of pilgrimage, as well as a pleasant walk in the Carpathian forest.

Nature near the monastery

In order to fully comprehend the beauty of the area near the village of Maniava, you should see another natural wonder, the highest waterfall in Ukraine – Maniava waterfall. It is located in the Carpathian Mountains area called Maniava Lowland Gorgany. It is not easy to get to it – there is no road and you have to overcome many river crossings. Therefore you can get here only either on foot or by SUV. Tourists are transported by GAZ or ZIL cars, but at the end of the route, you always have to walk.

Transportation to Maniava waterfall

This road runs along the river through the canyon, surrounded by rocks 20 meters high, majestic and powerful. It seems there’s nothing more beautiful in the world, but suddenly, after another turn, a steep ceiling appears in front of you and a stormy stream of water falls from a height of 18 meters. You find yourself near one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Carpathians.

There are a number of interesting facts about Maniava waterfall. It was formed by three rifts of the mountain river Maniavka and this impressive stone canyon was formed behind the last rift. Nature worked on its creation for millions of years. Here you can see how flysch rocks of different geological periods – Paleogene, Neogene and Cretaceous periods appear on the surface. The route to Maniava waterfall is a journey through time, a journey into the depths of the ages. Here you can see the history of the Earth of different periods because you have the opportunity to see the rocks, which are over 60 million years old.

Maniava waterfall

In such places, you begin to understand why for centuries local people compose many legends and tales about such places – sacred stones and caves, springs and waterfalls. It has long been believed that the stone on which water falls has a special power. Here you begin to believe it.

The excursion to Maniava Skete is both an interesting journey and at the same time a pilgrimage to the holy places of Ukraine. We invite you to our tours to the Carpathians:

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