Video information

Movie the Orthodox Crimea


The staff of the Pilgrimage Department of the Simferopol and Crimean Diocese has taken part in
a TV programme on the "Neapol" Channel

Orthodox Hotline

TV presenter: “Neapol” TV Channel is representing “Orthodox Hotline” Project. And today we are going to speak about pilgrimage in Crimea on the whole. And in the studio today there are the chief of the Pilgrimage Department Aleksey Tushev. Good day, Father Aleksey.

Father Aleksey: Good day.

TV presenter: And Natalya Aleksandrovna Ostozhieva, the organizer of the pilgrimage trips. By the way it is her first time here, in the programme “Orthodox Hotline” and we congratulate her on this fact. So the main question is: why is it so important to develop the pilgrimage movement in Crimea?

Father Aleksey: If You allow I will start.

TV presenter: Of course.

Father Aleksey: The pilgrimage is an important element of the Orthodox tradition. Through the pilgrimage many people come to God. If they know little about the Orthodoxy, in such trips they learn a lot. They get into contact with the sacred objects and become closer to God, and in general, gradually church. Without the pilgrimage it is difficult to imagine full-fledged Christian Orthodox life as our Orthodox country and our Orthodox Crimea are abundant in Orthodox sacred objects, which people are eager to see.

TV presenter: Natalya Aleksandrovna, reading Your materials, one can come to the conclusion that there are many active temples and similar sacred places. And their number is increasing every year.

Natalya Aleksandrovna: By the Metropolitan Lazarus’s blessing monasteries and temples are reopened. This leads to the creation of the new pilgrimage routes. If a new temple is opened, we go to pray, to honour sacred objects.

TV presenter: In brief, the places You can visit are described in the film prepared by the Diocese.

Orthodox Hotline

The Simferopol and Crimean Diocese sets up and holds pilgrimage trips during which You can visit temples, monasteries and monuments of the ancient Christianity on the territory of the blessed Crimean Peninsula. Today the Pilgrimage Department of the Simferopol and Crimean Diocese offers more than 70 routes. One of the most interesting is to the so-called cave towns.

The ancient Monastery of Eski-Kermen (Old Fortress). It is situated in the Bakhchisaray district. It is one of the centers of the Medieval Christianity. Here in the temples cut in the rock the pilgrims will be able to see the elements of the medieval frescoes. These first monasteries were as if the bastions of the Christianity belief. For 8-10 hours of the route the pilgrims open for themselves the unique temples, sources and other sacred places of the Crimea. During the trips by comfortable buses there are planned stops and rest by the sea in the picturesque corners. For the pilgrims from other towns one makes individual pilgrimage programmes, provides accommodation and food. Pilgrimage excursions are possible to be held in Russian, English, Greek and German languages.

One more wonderful route deals with visiting the first lighthouse temple in the memory of all who have died in water and traveling, built by the project of the People’s Artist and Architect of Ukraine Anatoliy Gaidamaka. This temple is erected on the means of the Russian sponsor Alexander Lebedev. But before You reach this church built and consecrated in 2007 You have to go along the picturesque road in the direction of the Village of Luchistoe, to enjoy the Crimean mountainous landscapes of Demerdzhi and Pakhkal-Kaya, in translation “the Bald Mount”. By the way, on this mountain there are the remains of the Greek Temple of John the Precursor, to which yearly by the blessing of the Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea Lazarus there is held the procession with crosses and icons. Here and forever there is the main place of interest in this settlement the Temple of the Nicholas the Wonderworker. It is the highest temple in Crimea: 64 metres. In the design of the lighthouse temple one has used the marine elements, ship anchors and anchor chains. Under the central cross, inside the gilt ball symbolizing the Planet Earth there is the lighthouse lamp. The temple combines in itself the style of the early Byzantium and Ancient Greece. One can easily breathe here, think and pray.

The Eastern Crimea is a particular page of the pilgrimage routes. Till present day there have been preserved three Greek churches in Theodosia: the Church in honour of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple, the Church in honour of St. George the Victorious and the Church in honour of St. Demetrius. On the territory of the Old Town there have been preserved the Church in honour of the Iberian icon of the Mother of God and the Church of St. John the Theologian. In the Church in honour of the Iberian icon of the Mother of God the pilgrims will see the unique picture of stone: the Savior and around him Twelve Apostles. And also the alter stone picture: above the credence altar there is John the Baptist with a lamb in his hand. On the opposite wall there is Sainted Hierarch Nicholas the Wonderworker with the Gospel in his hand. Under the dome there is the Face of God.

One more sacred object of the Eastern Crimea – the ancient Temple of St. Prophet Elijah in the Village of Solnechnaya Dolina (Sun Valley), what is 15 kilometres from Sudak.

This temple of unusual architectural forms is covered with many wonders and legends. And the time of its erection the scientists refer to the period between the 9th and 12th centuries.

The Pilgrimage Department of the Simferopol and Crimean Diocese offers routes about the Southern Coast of Crimea.

Visiting the Church of the God’s Archistratigus Michael in the Settlement of Oreanda will not leave indifferent either a deeply believing person or a person going to his/her belief. Quietness, pacification of this place, the beautiful view of the Crimean mountainous Southern Coast, bell chiming. People leave this place with a feeling of quiet joy and conciliation.

From the Church of the God’s Archistratigus Michael the bus with the pilgrims arises to the Baidarskiy Pass. Here one can see the unique panorama of the Southern Coast. And of course, the pilgrims visit the Church of Christ’s Resurrection in Phoros. This church crowns the Red Rock. The temple was built to in honour of the miraculous salvation of the Emperor Alexander III. The pilgrims are offered the foot ascent to the Mount of Kosh-Aya. Along the picturesque Crimean forest we are arising to the mount top. In front of us there are the ruins of the ancient temple. There is erected a wooden cross.

On the way back we can visit the village of Orlinoye to see the Temple in honour of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh. The foundation of the temple was laid on May 30, 2004 on the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea Lazarus.

Open new routes with the Pilgrimage Department of the Simferopol and Crimean Diocese. Learn in the new way the places You have been able to visit.


Words on the screen:

On the questions concerning organizing pilgrimage about Ukraine consult the promoter of the pilgrimage trips Natalya Aleksandrovna Ostozhieva using the address:


Pilgrimage Department

Simferopol and Crimea Diocese

9/11, Geroyev Adzhimushkaya St.,

Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine



Tel: (0652) 71-15-26;

Mob. tel: (050) 360-95-47;

(093) 271-15-26;



Orthodox Hotline

TV presenter: At the end of the video material it was written that concerning the pilgrimage trips You can consult Natalya Ostozhieva. Today she is in the studio. So, you may consult her after the programme or during the programme.

And what pilgrimage routes are in great demand among the residents of Crimea and people from other regions.

Natalya Aleksandrovna: You see, the most famous pilgrimage routes are Greater Yalta, Sacred Places of Sevastopol, our Crimean monasteries, Toplovskiy Monastery, Holy Assumption Monastery. But we deal with working out new pilgrimage routes, so we go in different directions of Crimea.

TV presenter: And what are other Pilgrimage Department activities? This is the question to You, Father Aleksey. As far as I understand You take pilgrims not only about Crimea but also outside the limits of Crimea.


Father Aleksey: Our primary task is to deal with Crimean pilgrims, to show them the sacred objects of Crimea, but if they have seen everything here in Crimea, if they want to honour the sacred places of the Russian, Belorussian, Oecumenical Orthodoxy we organize the trips about the sacred places of Ukraine, Russia and far abroad. For example, tomorrow a group of pilgrims is leaving for Seraphim of Sarov, Deveevo, about other places of the Orthodox Rus. After this trip on July 10th we are planning the trip to Siberia. We are going to Yekaterinburg to be present there during the Tsar’s days, we will be going in the procession with crosses and icons from Yekaterinburg to Ganina Yama, the place where there were destroyed the remains of the Tsar’s family. And then we will go to Lake Baikal. On the way to it there will be many sacred objects and interesting places.

TV presenter: It is a long way.

Father Aleksey: It is a long way. But the pilgrim’s way has always been long and difficult. All this started from the Holy Land when the Christianity was not forbidden any more. Pilgrims went to honour the Holy Sepulchre, to see the places where the God preached the Word, where he suffered, where Mother of God was, where the apostles were and so on. And there they set up the Orthodox Russian Mission to help our pilgrims reach the place, find accommodation, set up excursions, and do other things, necessary for pilgrims. Our department does everything for the pilgrims to feel comfortable.

TV presenter: And I know that it is possible to visit Greece.

Father Aleksey: Yes, it is possible to visit Greece. For example, yesterday a group of our young pilgrims, children, returned from Greece. This group goes to Greece every year on the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Lazarus and visits the sacred places of the blessed Hellas.

TV presenter: And what can You tell us about the children’s pilgrimage? In what way does its programme differ from the grown-ups’ one? And how often do our Crimean children have pilgrimage tours?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: You see we set up pilgrimage trips for children very often. The teachers who deal with such subject as the basics of the Orthodox culture at school can consult us and we can show them about the sacred places of Simferopol, for example. We have had recently such pilgrimage about the sacred places of Simferopol. And we have had good comments from the side of teachers and children.

TV presenter: What do You have besides an interesting route? Do you have out-door games?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: You see, the material representation can be different, for example, in the form of questions and answers, or in the form of the quiz. If, for example, a child knows an answer, he or she can be given a prize.

TV presenter: And I know that from the scientific point of view for the pilgrimage trips You involve subject matter experts. What is their mission?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: At first turn we have pilgrimage about temples, if it is foot pilgrimage. And when we have free time we can devote it to dealing with activities of other type. For example, recently we have visited the Nature Reserve of Opuk. After visiting the temples we had the excursion about this nature reserve.

TV presenter: Three of us here in the studio understand that pilgrimage process should be started with children. But also I wanted to ask You how often You have to explain to people who are going to take part in the pilgrimage tour that pilgrimage and excursion are different things, that it is not entertainment, that there will not be restaurants, etc.

Father Aleksey: Very often. This is a urgent problem. At the annual conferences in Moscow which are attended by us we often raise the question what is the difference between the pilgrimage and religious tourism. When people want to go and see and learn something new this is religious tourism. The pilgrimage is a broader notion. It includes the external side of tourism which means to see something. But also along with it the pilgrim having come to the temple is expected to put forward the task of his/her to pray, to become purer, to ask God in this sacred place something for himself/herself, for his family and friends, and, of course, to return from the pilgrimage trip quite a different person, if not quite a different person, then a bit different. To become a bit better. This is the difference between the pilgrims from usual tourists who travel in large quantities about temples and monasteries of different eparchies, including ours.

TV presenter: There is a certain complex of demands for the pilgrim. He/she must make one's confession to get prepared spiritually. What are other demands for the pilgrim?

Father Aleksey: At first the pilgrim must ask a blessing. It is desirable if there is a priest nearby. to ask a blessing for the pilgrimage trip. At second there will be different difficulties. Sometimes You are impressed by the pilgrim’s humility or, on the contrary, non-humility.

TV presenter: Can You give an example from life?

Father Aleksey: For example, I have been a pilgrim many times. I am a priest and when a priest gets on a bus he must sit near the driver to see everything better. So, when I got on a bus a vacant seat was at back. So You take the humility and later understand that it was the seat right for You. Sometimes it is necessary to go for a day or two. And there is no place for You to stretch Your legs. So at first God humbled You and then for Your humility awarded You. This is a very small example.

TV presenter: The spiritual culture expresses itself in all its beauty in such long travels.

Father Aleksey: Of course, of course.

TV presenter: And the question to Natalya Aleksandrovna about the external element. We have heard the phrase “pilgrim’s dress-code”. Do You forbid to put on something or to take something?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: I advise to the pilgrims to follow the rules which are to be followed. Women must be with covered head. They must wear skirts especially when we go to monasteries not to tempt anybody, including themselves. Men are not to enter the temple wearing shorts.

TV presenter: Have You come across such men?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: Yes, I have. Sometimes pilgrims come to the Diocese to ask something wearing shorts. And You have to reprove them that they cannot come here in such appearance.

TV presenter: We are to speak about such thing to avoid them in future. And from the prohibitions we can move to something more pleasant. In Your hands I can see the information about the new routes. You may in brief tell us about them, especially to those people who long for something new.

Natalya Aleksandrovna: Yes, we are constantly developing new routes. And I would like to say about some of them. We have visited Theodosia and Opuk, this is the name of the route. We have visited the Temple of All Saints and St. Catherine’s Temple. And then we spent our free time on Opuk. I have given photos to You. You may show them.

TV presenter: There are a lot of them. A photographic coverage will appear on the screen and Natalya Aleksandrovna will comment on them. We can see them. What is it?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: The children are having pilgrimage trip. This is Theodosia. This is a view from Opuk. These are very beautiful places. Here our group is going along the seashore.

TV presenter: One can say that these are quite unpopulated places. And what is it?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: These are the sacred places of Sudak. We visited the Temple of Twelve Apostles. This is also one of our new routes. This is the interior part of the temple. Children like to have pilgrimage trips with us. This is the Settlement of Shchyolkino. Also one of our new routes. St. Alexander Nevskiy Temple. This is a domestic church.

TV presenter: Yes, we can see the cross. And what is it?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: This is Kazantip. This is Father from Kazantip, Father Alexander Ganichev. He met our group very cordially, held a thanksgiving service near the temple icon of the Mother of God "Quick to Hearken". And then all of us walked about Kazantip being accompanied by the priest.

TV presenter: and the last photo was…

Natalya Aleksandrovna: it was the Temple in honour of the Mother of God "Quick to Hearken" on Kazantip.

TV presenter: Judging by geographical characteristics these are the places which in the Crimean inhabitant consciousness now will not be associated with holding some youth festivals and holidays if You understand what I am driving at. And working out this route You have come across with neglected state of villages, roads, infrastructure. I do not think that any tourist firm will take tourists to such unprepared places.

Natalya Aleksandrovna: Really, when we were driving to Opuk we came across neglected houses, villages.

TV presenter: Everything may be corrected after the work done by You. And we interrupted You with photos. What other accents in brief would You like to do about the routes?

Natalya Aleksandrovna: This year we are planning new routes Chernomorskoe-Takhankut. This trip will be on July 17th, people who want can join us. Also the new route “The Sacred Places of Stariy Krim (Old Crimea)”. This route is being worked out. And the objects we are going to visit will be chosen later. Also “The Sacred Places of the Southern Coast” including Simeiz and “Belogorsk-Golovanovka”. These are our new routes.

TV presenter: and with every year their number is increasing.

Natalya Aleksandrovna: For today, to be more exact we have 78 routes.

TV presenter: And I have read about 60 routes. This information is out of date.

Natalya Aleksandrovna: Yes, this is out of date information. Before Your TV programme I have counted them one more time.

TV presenter: I think these are plans for the nearest future. But we have not spoken about one important sphere of the Pilgrimage Department work. We work not only with Crimean residents who want to have pilgrimage trip about Crimea and outside the limits of it, but also with the residents of other regions of Ukraine and with the citizens of foreign countries who come to Crimea to understand why it is sung in the good meaning of the word. And Father Aleksey works with the pilgrims who come to us. Tell us honestly, before You start telling us about Your work, is their number increasing?

Father Aleksey: Yes, the number of the pilgrims is increasing with every year. Of course, at first turn people from Russia come to us. Despite the border, the customs the number of the Russians in Crimea is the largest. Sufficient number of pilgrims we have from Ukraine. In the Toplovskiy Convent we can at once see twenty buses a day. The same number we have in Khersonesus. I have not counted the buses but there are very many pilgrims who come to Crimea. If pilgrims from Ukraine go without overnight stay or sleep in tents near the monasteries, such economic variant, the pilgrims from Russia come from far away, minimum for 10 days to Crimea. And we make everything for them to feel comfortable.

TV presenter: And this is the difference. There are one-day tours and days-long tours. And this is serious preparing including the rest by the sea as far as I can see.

Father Aleksey: Yes, in Alupka we have Pilgrim’s Orthodox House near Alexander Nevskiy Temple. We can admit 100 people at the same time. And near us there is the sea and pilgrims as ordinary people after pilgrimage trip want to go to the sea, to meet the sunrise or to bathe in the sea, to have a rest, to breathe fresh air, to admire the nature, and we do everything for them to come not once but constantly and to take with themselves friends, acquaintances, relatives.

TV presenter: And what about children for whom the most important thing is not sea but communication and movement, who has an opportunity to go to the camp so to say, to a special camp.

Father Aleksey: Yes, we wanted to do it in such a way for the children to feel comfortable in Crimea, for them besides the sea and mountains to visit sacred places. But as it is difficult to do it with children, moreover there is the border, when we speak about Russians, then we decided to set up the Orthodox camp for children with parents. That is our children come with their parents. Of course for them we have a bit different pilgrimage programme. We add a bit of patriotism to the programme about the sacred places.

TV presenter: It is nice.

Father Aleksey: Of course, when we go to Sevastopol or through the Angarskiy Pass. There is the story about the warriors’ deed who defended their Motherland.

TV presenter: Thank You, Father Aleksey. I understand that within one programme it is impossible to cover everything in one TV programme. Moreover, I have been told that we have run out of time. These are Natalya Aleksandrovna Ostozhieva, the organizer of the pilgrimage trips, and the chief of the Pilgrimage Department Aleksey Tushev. Thank You for Your questions, for the represented material. We are sure to meet. We are saying good bye to all out TV viewers. See You on the air of the “Neapol” TV Channel. Good bye.