The Intercession of the Holy Virgin Monastery near the Village of Ternovka (Shuldan)

Status: active monastery
Location: Near the Village of Ternovka, in the precipices of Shuldan Rock

The Monastery history

Shuldan is a cave monastery. It is translated as «echoing». The Monastery consisted of twenty caves, the majority of which are now ruined, and two temples. The central temple is preserved especially well, it is spacious and high. Once the apse was separated with the barrier, cut in the rock. The iconostasis was wooden — in the floor one can see the cuttings for the placing of the Sanctuary doors. In the apse of the temple there was the episcopal chair, and in the center there used to be the bishop’s stall. In the northern wall there is cut a bench. In the place where it is connected with the alter barrier there is cut a burial vault in the form of an arcosolium, under it in the floor there is a grave. In the southern wall the door way leads to the area above the precipice, here there is cut the niche with a window.

From the central temple one could get to the chapel, in the northern part of which there is a burial vault, in the floor under it there is a grave. The arch entrance from the altar led to the baptistery, where in the niche there is cut the font, which was covered with the wooden shield. To the west from the baptistery one can still find the remains of one more room with a round hole. There is no unanimous opinion as for the purpose of it. There may earlier have been a baptistery here, and then, after the opening of a new baptistery, it was remade into the chapel, and the hole — into the grave.

The second temple of the Shuldan monastery complex is situated on the second tier of the caves, above the eastern entrance. One can get there from the natural grotto along the stone steps, which are partly ruined today. In the eastern wall in the arch niche there is situated the Holy throne, on the protuberance of the southern wall there is the prothesis. Along the whole northern wall there is the bench, entering the altar. In ancient times the altar was separated from the rest of the temple with a wooden barrier.

The scientists suppose that in XIII–XIV centuries in the rocks above the Shulskaya Valley there appeared a small monastery. During the period of prosperity of the Princedom of Pheodoro it was enlarged and rebuilt, a new baptistery appeared. The episcopal chair, preserved in the altar of the central temple, gives a possibility to suppose, that Shuldan used to be the Metropolitan’s residence. And the Chelter Monastery, the residents of which were involved into the active economic activities, could have been a town residence, which served the bishop’s palace.