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Russian sacred springs & holy wells

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HD Photos of Russia: sacred springs and holy wells

russian sacred springs

Sacred springs & holy wells in Russia

By Andrew Dachnik.

Before the introduction of Christianity Russian people belived that God was identifiable with the forces of nature and with natural substances, such as Sun, Moon, Wind, Earth, Tree, Stone, Water etc. The traditional Russian pagan worship admitted all gods of Mother Nature. At that pagan times the Russians did not pray in temples, but in natural world. Water was one of the most important element in Slavic mysticism. The ancient Russians honored various bodies of water (seas, lakes, rivers, springs and water wells) through a host of spiritual practices.  Water bathing used in magical practice of summoning rain and for the body purification and healing.

Christianity became the religion of Russia in 988 AD. The pagan temples were demolished and churches erected on the same sites. But a lot of pagan traditions were accepted by the Russian Orthodox Church. New Russian faith was becoming the unique combination of Christianity and the beliefs and practices of pagan primitivism. Officailly paganism came to an end in Russia at the beginning of the thirteenth century. But even nowadays Russian people still continued to believe in their natural surroundings, the deities of nature, though old gods had got new names as Christian saints. Having adopted elements of stubborn Russian paganism, the Russian Orthodoxy became one of the most mysterious, mystical, and magical Christian faith in the world. Belief in animistic, spirit-infused beings, which took on human qualities and possessed supernatural power, coexisted in Russia with the Orthodox Church. That blending of Christian faith and paganism would picture the unique religion landscape in the hearts and souls of Russian people.  

The Russian sacred springs and holy wells were frequently pagan sacred sites that later became Christianized with Orthodox church. The adaptation of the pagan water cult had created Russian Orthodox ritualistic and mystical experience. The sacred springs and holy wells were newly said to have been made to flow by the action of a local saint. The healing and wonder-making water qualities were attributed to the presence of Holy spirit or Christian saint.

Due to the Christian adoption the sacred springs and holy wells cult successfully survived in Russia. Those sacred placed suffered only during the Soviet time in XX century. Guided by the aggressive communist ideology Soviets started to demolished sacred places of Russia: thousands of churches and chapels were demolished, and the priests were arrested or killed. At the beginning of 1960-th Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made a decision to remove the last survived sacred miracles of Russia. Communists, police and KGB destroyed last well houses and chapels, put oil, dust and stones into the sacred springs and holy wells. A lot of sacred places piligrims were arrested.

The new sacred springs pilgrimage reborn took place after the U.S.S.R. has been collapsed in 1991. The freedom of faith was officially announced in Russian constitution. The old sacred springs and holy wells has been cleaned up and reconstructed by local Christian communities with the Russian Orthodox church support.

Nowadays thousands of pilgrims visit the sacred springs and holy wells in Russia. Most of them are looking for the spiritual magic healing and curing of various illnesses. Each sacred water body has a history of certain kind of illnesses healings, attested by local priests. Some holy wells are famous for curing eye problems, the other are helpful with fertility problems. There are sacred springs to solve life problems, to find a good spouse. The other are helpful to cope alcohol and drug addiction.

The mystic Russian sacred spring and holy wells pilgrimage ritual usually includes 3 days of strict fast, the worship to the local saints at the water body, and water drinking, spraying water over and bathing or immersing into water body (3 times with a pray). Sometimes Russians are tying a piece of clothing to a nearby tree branches to perform ancient pagan magic ritual with the idea being that as the rag rotted so the disease or illness withered until it had gone. Some people are trying to pay for one's renewed health by leaving an offering for the spirit of the holy well or sacred spring with few coins thrown into the water. Less religious people are visiting sacred springs to draw drinking water as "it can be healing and curative". Being restored and rejuvenated well once with the sacred water body people are returning back with the hope of spiritual refreshment.

The ancient Novgorod republic area (North-West part of modern European Russia) is very rich with the sacred water bodies. There are hundreds of sacred springs and water wells around St. Petersburg, Vologda, Novgorod and Pskov. For myself, I am being a devotee of holy wells and sacred springs. Now I did pilgrimage to more than 50 locations, made a lot of photos and described sacred water bodies on my Russian web site. Now I would like to share most impressive sacred waters photos.

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about Russian sacred springs. If you will have an idea to take a tour around Russian sacred springs and holy wells - you are welcome! My contact information.

Photos: © Andrew Dachnick.
All photos (incl. Full HD wallpaper downloads) are licensed for free private non-commercial use.

The sacred spring of St. Savva Krypetsky
The chapel (Spring housing) at St. Savva Krypetsky sacred spring in Russian Orthodox Savvo-Krypetsky monastery, Pskov region, Russia.
Holy well of St. Martiry Zelenecky
The well housing over St. Martiry Zeleneckyholy well by the walls of Russian Orthodox male Zelenecky monastery not far from town of Volhov, St. Petersburg region.
russian sacred springs
The sacred healing spring of St. Irinarh Rostovsky in Kondakovo in Jaroslavl region.
sacred springs in Kalozitsy
St. Panteleimon (The Healer) sacred spring and Russian Orthodox chapel near the Kalozicy village on the roadway from St.Peterburg to Estonia. Famouse for it's wonder-working and healing water.
russain sacred spring
The Holy Cross in Holy Lake at Savvo-Krypetsky monastery not far from Pskov town.
the holy well at  Pskov Caves monastery
The holy well of St. Kornily Pskovsky at Pskov Caves monastery.
russian holy well
The pilgrims are drawing water from the holy well of St. Kornily Pskovsky at Pskov Caves monastery.
the holy well of Alexander Svirsky
Alexander Svirsky monastery holy well was digged by St. Alexander Svirsky himself at the beginning of XVI century. The well chapel was built in XIX century. During the Soviet crazy times the holy well was poisoned with oil and gasoline.
Alexander Svirsky holy well
Inside the Alexander Svirsky holy well chapel.
sacred spring in russia
The practice of making offerings at holy wells and sacred springs is very ancient. In Russia pilgrims are tying pieces of clothing to a nearby tree or throwing coins into the water. Local Orthodox priests are trying to stop this pagan ritual during last 1000 years.
sacred spring in Oyat monastery
The springhouse chapel and baptistery at Oyat female monastery. This sacred spring it is famous for its medicinal healing power. Not only local believers, but also people from all-over-Russia took part in pilgrimage to Oyat sacred springs. The radonic water here is salted and warm all year round.
sacred spring in Russia
Pilgrims are drinking and saving holy water at sacred spring in Vybie. This sacred place looks like a folklore mythology illustration.
russian village morning
The scared spring chapel in Russian Orthodox Terevenichy female monastery.
Holy Virgin sacred spring
In sacred spring chapel of Tervenechy monastery water is pumping to the feet of of the Holy Virgin sculpture to flow down on pilgrims.
Holy footprint stone
The underwater Holy footprint stone where the Holy Virgin allegedly appeared. 
The Holy Virgin footprint stone worship
Worship at Holy Virgin footprint stone in Zaruchie, Leningradskaya oblast.
the holy well in russian monastery
The Holy well in the Novgorod ancient monastery.
the Holy Virgin spring
The Holy Virgin sacred spring in Kondushi village not far from Lodeinoe Pole town.
pillovo healing sacred springs
Wonder-making and healing sacred spring in Pillovo village nor far from Kingisepp town.
russian landscape with cow
The Pillovo sacred spring in winter time.
russian man in a cold sacred spring water
Pillovo sacred spring got a log pool used for the ritual of cleansing. The water temperature here ia about +2 C° all year-round.
the Tichvin Holy Virgin Icon sacred spring
The Tichvin Holy Virgin icon sacred spring chapel in Akulova gora (Shark's mountain) not far from Lodeinoe pole.
russian wooden church
The amazing fountain sacred spring in Pribuz village, Pskov region. See video below. The sacred spring appeared on 3d minute.
Holy Cross at Holy Lake in Russia
The holy Lake, underwater Holy stone and Holy Cross at Holy Trinity Monastery of St. Antony Dymsky close to ancient town of Tichvin.
holy well at russian monastery
The Holy well at Senno female monastery.
russian country view
The Twelve Apostles sacred springs (The Slav's sacred springs) are flowing from the slope of Malsky valley located in Izborsk, not far from Estonia.
Holy cave with sacred spring in Russia
The Holy Cave with the sacred spring in Zaruchie village.
The holy Cave with sacred spring Kalozitsy
The Holy Cave with sacred spring in a deep forest in Kalozitsy village region, Russia.
St. Olga chapel, holy stone and spring
Princes Olga (St. Olga) chapel over the holy footprint stone and the holy well not far from Krypetsky monastery, Pskov.
holy well chapel
The Holy well chapel at Nikandrova pustyn monastery, Pskov.
russian log house
The sacred radon spring of Alexander Svirsky chapel in Nikandrova pustin male monastery.
How do Russian people look like
A log pool with a blue radon wander-making and healing water.
Russian healling sacred spring
The famouse healing sacred spring in Turovo village not far from town of Luga.
holy well chapel in russia
The Holy Virgin "eyes healing" holy well with a chapel in ancient town of Izborsk.
Pskov sacred spring
St. Nikandr sacred spring and holy stone in Kamno village, Pskov
russian monk Varlaam
Old monk Varlaam adopted the sacred spring in Syabero village, town of Luga.
Holy well and chapel in Russia
The holy well of Meleksa village with wonder-making and healing water.
Nikolsky holy well in Izborsk
Nikolsky holy well in Izborsk town.
Boxitogorsk sacred springs
The sacred springs chapel in Zmeeva Novinka village, town of Boxitogorsk.
elizarovo monastery sacred springs
The sacred spring near the Elizarovo monastery in Pskov. It is still used as a local watering hole and a place for bathing on the baptizing.
pagan sacred spring
The ancient former pagan sacred spring of Korosten in Novgorod.
pagan sacred springs
The pagan "boiling" sacred spring in Maly valley, town of Izborsk.
sacred spring chapel in Russia
The sacred spring chapel in Somino village.
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