Kievo Pecherska Lavra is one of the oldest, most important and largest monastery complexes of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Holy Gate of the Trinity-Gate-Church is the main entrance into Kievís cave monastery. It features Ukrainian Baroque architecture with stucco work and numerous icons.
Gate churches were typical of Kiev Rusī and also served as watchtowers for fortified walls. Later, great artists were employed to add further embellishments.
However, the history of the monastery began quite modestly. Revered monk, Antonius, lived for many years in a monastery on the Holy Mountain of Athos in Greece. He subsequently returned to his home country and lived as a hermit for the rest of his life within a cave on the banks of the River Dnjepr. Further monks followed and a community of hermits was formed that lived under monastic rule and they lived in caves until construction of the eventual monastery.
The monks dug corridors and niches in the soft limestone and created a subterranean system of cave churches and cells. Some of the monks have been mummified. That is why during the Middle Ages the caves were said to be a wonder of the world and the mummies were thought to possess special healing powers.
During the 1000 Year Festival of the Christianisation of Russia in 1988, the monastery once again became a place of pilgrimage for its Orthodox faithful.