Sts. Cosmas and Damian Monastery near Alushta

Status: active monastery
Sacred objects and relics: The ancient icon of Sts. Cosmas and Damian with the particles of their holy relics, baptismal fount of Cosmas and Damian
Location: In the Crimean Wildlife Preservation near Alushta

The Monastery history

In the Crimean Wildlife Preservation between Mounts Chuchel and Chyornaya the healing spring of Sts. Unmercenaries and Miracle-Workers Cosmas and Damian is running– one of the river heads of the River of Alma. The water in it is of crystal purity and amazingly palatable. Already nowadays the researches have shown that in the spring water besides potassium, magnesium, manganese there are lithium and silver which is rarely found in the natural springs. The scientists suppose that during the Christians’ persecution here used to be the temple in honor of the Saints. Yearly by July 1(14), by the day of memory of Cosmas and Damian many people had gathered near the spring. The invited priests consecrated water and held molebens. Many healings happened near the healing spring, people of different religions came there.

The Orthodox Church celebrates three couples of Saint Unmercenaries. The memory of the Roman Cosmas and Damian, in honor of which the spring was named, is celebrated on July 1(14). The twin brothers Cosmas and Damian, who lived in the second half of III c. A. D., during cruel persecutions against the Christianity, were doctors. For good works and dissemination of the Christian religion they obtained the gift of miracle-working, and often healed ill people and animals without medicines, by means of only praying, and did it always gratuitously. Cosmas and Damian were killed by their teaching doctor, who envied their glory and skills. Among the Crimean Tatars there used to be popular belief, that the Saints were killed and buried a bit higher of the healing spring near two identical beech trees, which are as alike as twin brothers. After the ablution in the spring the Crimean Tatars always ascended the mount to these two trees, which served, to their mind, as a monument to the Saints.

The construction of the Monastery was initiated by a Simferopol merchant, a churchwarden of the central cathedral Ivan Sanyutin. For a long time he had been suffering from fever, and was healed after bathing in the spring, after what he took the sacrament to built on this place a church. In 1850 the permit was obtained to set up a monastery near the spring. Its opening was delayed by the Russian-Turkish War, which started in 1853.

The document ran, that “the cenoby for keeping does not get anything from the treasury, but is kept on the pilgrims’ donations”. On the donations they built two wooden churches, above the spring they erected a chapel, made a pool for pilgrims.

The Cosmas and Damian Monastery had been a monastery for 43 years, from 1856 to 1899, after what for some reasons it was reorganized into a convent. The nuns overhauled many convent structures, raised a long stone relieving wall, built new monastic cells, a bakery, two hotels for visitors. In 1913 in honor of the tercentenary of the reign of the Romanov House the chapel above the spring was restored. Everywhere there was the irreproachable order.

The Monastery was frequented by the members of the Tsar’s Family. On October 25th, 1911 Nicholas II came here, prayed near the spring аnd drank the holy water. According to the order of Alexander III not far from the Cosmas and Damian Monastery a lodge was built, and in 1913 the game park of the Emperor’s hunts in Crimea was set up.

In the beginning of 1920ies in the Monastery the labour artel was established. The churches were sealed, but in fact the nuns continued to lead a convent life. In 1923 the Soviet of People’s Commissars of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic issued the decree “About the Crimean State Reserve and Forest Biological Station”. The Presidium of the Central Executive Committee gave to the Reserve the buildings of the former Cosmas and Damian Monastery. In the temples and monastic cells they placed a biological station and the museum of nature, and in the chapel with the pool — the incubator for the rearing of trout hutchlings.

During the Great Patriotic War the Tsar’s lodge and all the Monastery structures besides the chapel above the spring were destroyed.

In 1994 by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Crimea the diocese was given back the territory and structures of the monastery. The same year Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea Lazarus held a liturgy in the chapel above the baptismal fount. In the Monastery there is kept its old sacred object — the Icon with the particles of the relics of Sts. Cosmas and Damian.