The Svyatogorsk Uspensky Monastery is one of the main Orthodox sacred places in the east of Ukraine. It is located on the right bank of the Seversky Donets River in the area, which anciently was called "Holy Hills". The monastery was mentioned for the first time in 1624.
The history of this ancient cloister goes back through the centuries. One of the existing versions connects the origin of the monastery with Byzantine monks who had fled from the pursuit of the imperial power during the iconoclastic heresy. Part of the monks found refuge in the Crimea, and some of them, moving on the waterways of the Don and its tributary the Seversky Donets, founded on their banks many cave monasteries, preserved to this day.
The legend, written in the XIX century, relates Svyatogorie with the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, saying that the part of pechersk monks had gone to Holy Hills after the devastation of Kiev by Baty. Some researchers suggest that in hard times of Turkish occupation part of the monks, moving away from Mount Athos, has chosen this area for the life of hermits. The first written mention of Holy Hills dates from the first half of the XVI century.
In the XVII century the cloister underwent the repeated raids and destruction from the Crimean Tatars. The historian of the XIX century, G. Kulzhinsky indicates that "Svyatogorsk monastery took over the numerous attacks of wild hordes, aimed at Russia, and reflected the frequent incursions of Poles, who wished to penetrate into Orthodox Russia and to capture it. The Svyatogorsk monastery survived the horrors of Baty and Tamerlane times. The people from the entire southern Russia flocked here to praise God and to ask His mercy in the days of happiness and in the evil hours; the Russian princes came here to pray and to receive a blessing; here in the caves the prayers worked their good deed for the prosperity of Russia, and many of them died in captivity, even the martyr's death."
Despite the hard living conditions, the monastery was not deserted; in those times it became the stronghold of Orthodox adherents and the support for many migrants from right-bank Ukraine, escaping from the oppression of Catholics and Uniates in order to preserve the purity of Orthodox faith.
During the reign of Yekaterina II the monastery was abolished, but even though the people crowds of many thousands flocked to the abolished and deserted cloister in its patron saint's days. The zeal of simple villagers to Svyatogorsk hermitage became the major factor for its renewal. The flourishing of the monastery was connected with its renewal in 1844. The first inhabitants of the Svyatogorsk monastery were the offsprings of famous Glinsky hermitage starets Hegumen Philaret (Danilevsky). For 70 years – from 1844 to 1914 – due to the efforts of the hegumen and monks the renewed cloister has become one of the largest monasteries of the Russian Empire, so that, even before the revolution the issue of assigning the status Lavra the Svyatogorsk hermitage was repeatedly raised according to the petitions of the faithful pilgrims, as well as the Zaporozhye and Don Cossacks. However, the sad events in Russian history prevented it. From 1917, the monastery underwent the numerous plunders, abuses and desecrations of the holy places, the beating and killing monks, and brightened with many new martyrs and confessors. In 1922 the monastery was closed again. The rest home was arranged in it.
In 1992 the Svyatogorsk monastery reopened the doors to the believers. It should be noted, that the revival and flourishing of the Svyatogorsk monastery, after the time of desolation and desecration, was predicted by its monk Hegumen Ioann (Streltsov), the starets who had many blessed gifts.
At present time, the Svyato-Uspensky Svyatogorsk Monastery of the Gorlovka Eparchy is the largest spiritual center, which ministers to Orthodox flock of Donbas, Slobodskaya Ukraine and southern Russia. The Monastery is well-known far beyond the Donetsk region – during the holydays of Svyatogorsk Icon of the Mother, Saint Ioann the Svyatogorsk Hermit, the Dormition of the Mother of God and others – the monastery collects 10-12 thousand pilgrims from Ukraine, Russia and Byelorussia.
On the 29th of December in 2003 the final act of transmission of the buildings, constructions and lands, historically belonged to the monastery, took place. At present the number of monks is more than 100 people, and every year it increases. In the monastery two cells were restored – All Saints and Saints Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. In the neighboring to the monastery village Bogorodichnoe the Temple was opened in honour of the Icon of the Mother "Joy of All Who Sorrow". There are 54 bells at the 5 monastery belfries, the biggest one weighs more than 6 tons. In the monastery the wonderful monks' choir is organized. Currently, the revival of the holy cloister continues for the glory of God and the Holy Orthodox Church.