Christian Orthodox Pilgrimage in Abkhazia by Angel Tour: +7 (926) 435 8687, +79-ANGEL-TOUR
The name of the company Angel (Άγγελος = Messenger in Greek) comes from the founder's previous experience in creating and heading the pilgrimage service of the Epiphany Cathedral in Bogorodsk (town of Our Lady in English) in early 2000-s. Years later, in 2013, after re-building the park-hotel in Abkhazia, pilgrimage trips resumed and now they were Orthodox Christian pilgrimage tours to Abkhazia and pilgrimage tours to St. Trinity Sergius Lavra in English, French, Greek.
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Below is the program of the Christian pilgrimage tour to Abkhazia:
Day 1. Arrival in Sochi. Meeting the guide, crossing Russian-Abkhasian border, arrival in Sukhum, check-in at the 'King Bagrat Mountain' park-hotel.
Day 2. During the visit to Pitsunda and its reserve you will see Pitsunda Patriarchal Cathedral, where the Bishop Stratofil served, a participant of the Council of Nicaea in 325, and the miraculous ‘Pitsundskaya’ Icon of the Mother of God, as well as walk in the famous relic pine grove with unique plants, such as heather, arbutus, cistus.
In Gagra you will visit Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin or the Church of Hypatius of Gagra (VI c. AD), a saint of Abkhazian Church from the family of Zvanba, the first place of baptizing for Abkhazians. Church of St. Hypatius is one of the three oldest churches on the territory of Abkhazia. In Lyhny you will visit Church of the Assumption (X c.) and see its Icon of Mother of God ‘Znamenie’ (Omen), Russian Emperor Alexander II’s gift to the church. You can opt for a visit to a trout farm (at an extra charge), located on the bank of the Black River in the boxwood forest at the inflow of the Mchishta river followed by an outdoors visit to Otkharsky ancient cave monastery. Another option of the day at an extra charge is the lunch at a local restaurant on the bank of the river, where you can taste trout cooked on an open fire.
Day 3. Visit to Anakopiya, the ancient capital of the Abkhazian kingdom includes ascending the Iberian (Anakopiyan) mountain. According to the Orthodox tradition, during the ascent the Akathistos Hymn to Holy Theotokos (Mother of God)— ‘Vzbrannoy Voevode’ (‘To Triumphant Leader’) is sung. The chapel with the reverend copy of the icon of Mother of God "Iverskaya", the Holy spring, ancient Anakopia fortress citadel (VII-VIII c. AD) and ruins of a temple with ancient Christian symbols are the must-see sights at the top of the mountain.
New Athos trip includes the tour to the Simon the Zealot Monastery (XIX c. AD), one of the greatest works of neo-Byzantine style, consisting of six temples. The most magnificent building of the monastery is the Cathedral of St. Panteleimon. The Сhurch of Simon the Zealot (VI-VIII cc.) was built on the burial place of the apostle. You will also visit cave cell of Simon the Zealot, river Psyrtsha, place of the martyrdom of the Apostle Simon and the famous New-Athos cave.
Day 4. In Yashtuha you will visit the Church of Transfiguration on St. Michael's Cemetery, built by anchoritic monks and frequented by anchoritic monks from Abkhazia and other countries. The church is surrounded by a cemetery where many famous priests and monks were buried and where you will visit the grave of Archimandrite Seraphim (Romanov) - one of the last elders of the famous Glinsky monastery and the grave of hieroschemamonk Paisius (Uvarov), with the myrrh-streaming Cross.
Comana men’s monastery - St. martyr Basilisk passed away and was buried here in 308 AD. In 407 AD, on his way to exile, St. John Chrysostom died and was buried in Comana. You will visit the place of the 3rd finding of the head of St. John the Baptist, the tomb of St. John Chrysostom and spring on the site of the martyrdom of St. Basilisk (IV c. AD), ascend to the place where St. John Chrysostom served his last Divine Liturgy and where the martyr Basilisk was buried.
Day 5. Sukhum is the capital of Abkhazia, one of the oldest cities in the world, the center of the ancient Kingdom of Colchis. The group will walk through the historic district with old buildings which are masterpieces of Russian Art Nouveau, along the Sukhum embankment, and visit Sukhum Cathedral of the Annunciation.
There will be an optional lunch (at an extra charge) at the national Abkhazian eatery ‘Kelasur’, built in the style of apatskhi - one of the types of traditional Abkhaz buildings, a quadrangular woven home with unquenchable hearth in the middle. The restaurant is deemed one of the the most "delicious" places in Sukhum.
Day 6. Visit to Ilori will include Divine Liturgy in the Сhurch of St. George, which was built on the spot, where, according to the legend, St. George’s tent was placed, and which has a unique stone altar, myrrh-streaming icons and a holy well. The place is also famous by the miraculous appearance of a sacrificial bull inside a locked fence of the church on Easter Eve. One of the first churches of Colchis, Church of the Assumption is located in Dranda. At the beginning of the XX century Dranda men’s monastery was widely known in Russia, with monks numbering 300.
Visit to Mokva will include visits to the Cathedral of the Assumption, built in X c. AD by the Abkhaz King Leon III and Church of Elijah the Prophet in Agudzera, built in Art Nouveau by the famous Russian philanthropist Nikolai Smetskoy. The Church displays a large collection of ancient and modern icons painted by Abkhaz artists. Worships are in Church-Slavonic and Abkhaz, while Byzantine singing is in Church-Slavonic, Greek and Abkhaz.
Days 7-X - sunbathing, bathing in the sea, visiting historical and natural landmarks and reserves of Abkhazia.
We are glad to organize Christian pilgrimage to Abkhazia in any season, but spring and fall are preferred. You will be provided with guides \ interpreters and all the transfers.
Accomodation is provided in an 'all-inclusive' park-hotel 'King Bagrat Mountain' in Sukhum.
A big Greek port town of Anacopia was recorded here in the 3rd century. Its ruins are still visible and are visited by the tourists and pilgrims. In the 5th century a fortress was built on the top of the Iverian Mountain. Anacopia was the capital of the Abkhazian princedom (satellite of the Byzantine Empire) and then of the Abkhazian Kingdom after the archon Leon II declared himself a king in the late 8th century.
In late XIX century Orthodox monks from the overcrowded Rossikon Monastery on Mount Athos arrived here to find a place for resettlement. The Neo-Byzantine New Athos Monastery, dedicated to St. Simon the Canaanite, was built there in the 1880s with financing granted by Tsar Alexander III of Russia. Finally Russian monks were allowed to stay in the "old" Athos, and the New Athos monastery had much less occupancy than anticipated.
In early 1920s, during the Soviet persecution of religion, the monastery was closed. It was later used as a storage facility, tourist base, hospital and museum. Its return to the Orthodox Church began in 1994, after the end of the war.
The scenic sight of the New Athos monastery from the sea has made it a popular destination with tourists and pilgrimages visiting Abkhazia.
New Athos has a small hydroelectric power station and artificial lake, close to the old Church of St. Simon the Canaanite. The station was built by the monastery monks between 1892 and 1903 and repaired in 1922. It remained broken for over forty years before being repaired again — it was re-opened in 2012. It is owned by New Athos monastery and produces an estimated 100 kW per hour.