The Shattered Ruins of Iversky Monastery, Donesk

(Image: Mstyslav Chernov. Iversky Monastery ruins in Donetsk)

When the War in Donbass broke out on April 6, 2014, it wasn’t long before the Iversky Monastery was closed due to the nearby fighting. It had only opened in 2001 after four years of construction, and by 2015 it was almost entirely destroyed. Most of the shelling that ravaged the young Orthodox church came from the Ukrainian Ground Forces as they fought against the Donetsk People’s Republic during the Second Battle of Donetsk Airport, which lies immediately to the north.

(Image: Mstyslav Chernov. The church’s shattered entrance)

Available information indicates that the Iversky Monastery’s residents had been evacuated before much of the damage was done. The interior of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church building was mostly destroyed, its bullet-ridden exterior walls left as a stark reminder of the violence and devastation that Donetsk witnessed throughout the War in Donbass.

Iversky Monastery in Donetsk before its destruction (Image: Andrew Butko. Iversky Monastery before its destruction)

In October 2015 Donetsk People’s Republic leaders announced plans to repair the shattered Ukrainian Orthodox Church building, including its bell tower, convent building and monastery gardens. But last year Essence of Time reported that the abandoned Iversky Monastery remained derelict.

The abandoned Iversky Monastery today (Image: павел via Google Street View)

Nevertheless, in early 2016 a service was held amid the ruins commemorating the Panagia Portaitissa, the Eastern Orthodox icon of the Virgin Mary. A good number of worshippers attended. The site also reported that even the nearby cemetery became caught up in the fighting, as soldiers turned it into a minefield. Some of those soldiers who fought there in 2015 were at the service. A reminder that life – and faith – goes on.

Related: 10 Abandoned Churches Destroyed by War

 

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