THE LABYRINTH CAVES OF VALUYSKI USPENSKY NIKOLAEVSKY MONASTERY AND MIKHAILO–ATHOS ZAKUBANSKY HERMITAGE AS A REFLECTION OF SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS OF HESYCHASM
The article investigates the role and function of the labyrinth caves of Valuyski Uspensky Nikolaevsky Monastery in the Belgorod Region and Mikhailo–Athos Zakubansky Hermitage in the Republic of Adygea. The hypothesis of our research is that the labyrinth caves symbolically represent the ancient tradition of hesychasm brought to Russia by Athonian monks. To achieve our goal, we set ourselves the following objectives: 1) to investigate various research works associated with the caves; 2) to investigate the historical background against which the caves appeared; 3) to study symbolism associated with hesychast doctrine. The author uses the structural-semantic approach to elucidate the semantics of certain architectural elements of the caves. The author also employs the anthropological approach to analyze the motives and value imperatives of those responsible for the creation of the cave labyrinth and to draw parallels between the labyrinth of the caves and the labyrinth of the human sole trodden in search of spiritual growth. The author concludes that the caves reflect the spiritual tradition of hesychasm.
caves; hesychasm; Ladder of Divine Ascent; Russian Orthodox Church; Valuyski Uspensky Nikolaevsky Monastery; Svyato-Bogonosche-Ignatyevsky Tabor Monastery; Mikhailo-Athos Zakubansky Hermitage; Ekaterino-Lebyazhsky Monastery; Athos; Saint Paisius Velichkovsky
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