A place of escape from the world and its vanity in Podilla
On the border of Khmelnytskyi and Ternopil regions, in the Horodotsk district of the former, there is an urban-type village of Sataniv. Picturesque nature (in the Khmelnytskyi region there is the National Nature Park "Podilskyi Tovtry", in the Ternopil region - the "Medobory" nature reserve), the Zbruch River, water sources have long attracted our ancestors to settle in these places. Accordingly, numerous historical events took place there, witnesses of which are the architectural monuments of Satanov.
Of course, where people lived, religious life also flourished. On the opposite side of the Zbruch River from Satanov, which separates the Khmelnytskyi and Ternopil regions, already in Ternopil, on the territory of the "Medobory" nature reserve, there is another unique place - the Hermit's Forest.
If you cross the fast-flowing Zbruch, pass the ancient village of Krentsiliv of the Husyatinsky District, where household items from the times of Kyivan Rus are still found, you can enter the forest. The road leads to the mountain. On both sides of it is an old, dark, leafy forest. It feels like you are in a nature reserve - there are many mushrooms and plants that are listed in the Red Book.
Somewhere halfway to the hermit's cave, there is another natural cave, about 30 meters deep. It has small lakes at the very bottom. The entrance there is closed. The remains of ancient man-made ramparts can be seen a little higher. In the days of Kyivan Rus, the city of Zvenigorod was located here. Later, pagans lived in these remote places for a long time after the adoption of Christianity.
The hermit's cave is located on the very top of the mountain. Wooden stairs help to approach the entrance to the cave, next to which stands a wooden cross. It is said that the hermit came to these parts in the 1930s. For four years, he dug a cave for himself in the limestone and lived there for about seventy years, dying at a very old age.
No one knows the name of this man, where he came from, why he decided to retire in the middle of the forest. But it is known that he constantly prayed and people from the surrounding villages came to him with a request for prayer. The man fed on the gifts of the forest and what was brought to him.
The cave consists of two rooms: in one the hermit lived, in the other he prayed. A stone bed, poor lighting, cold and humidity were constant companions of the hermit during his long stay. Now, in the part of the cave where he prayed, there are icons, a throne, and candles. Once a year, on the Green Holidays, a priest and people from a neighboring village come here and hold a Divine Service in the cave.
Surprisingly, we often look for holy places outside of Ukraine. But the closest for us will always be the image of holy life that is nearby.