Nikolskoye, Donetsk, March 14, 2022
The monasteries founded by the beloved Elder Zosima (Sokur, †2002) in the Donetsk village of Nikolskoye were liberated by the Russian army on Sunday, on the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
300 monks, nuns, and civilians were being held hostage at the Monastery of St. Basil and the Convent of St. Nicholas by a battalion of the Ukrainian army, which had equipped firing positions on the territory of the monasteries and destroyed both the building with the cell of Elder Zosima and a storage of diesel fuel the monastery used for heating.
On March 9, the headquarters of the territorial defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic reported that the nationalist militant group Aidar was threatening to kill the clergy and monastics for refusing to take up arms against Russian soldiers.
However, on Sunday, the Russian army managed to drive out the Ukrainian soldiers who were holding the monasteries hostage, as brothers and sisters of the monasteries reported to OrthoChristian.
The Monasteries of St. Basil and St. Nicholas are a focal point in the current conflict, as they continue to follow the traditions of Elder Zosima, who was strongly in favor of Russian-Ukrainian spiritual unity.
According to Major General Igor Konashenkov of the Russian Defense Ministry, there were no casualties among the hostages and no monastery buildings were damaged during the liberation.