An orthodox cave monastery is at Liski in Voronezh region not far from Moscow-Don highway. The monks chose for the monastery a very picturesque place on the bank of the Don.
The area was called Divnogorie already in the Russian chronicles of the 14 century. One can see some rock formations – white pillars – among the chalk cliffs towering over the bend of the Don, at its confluence with the small river Tikhaya Sosna. The two big rock formations are called the Bolshiye and Malyie Divy. There are many single pillars nor far from the Bolshiye Divy.
According to the church tradition, a monastery among the Divnogorskiye mountains was founded in the 14 century by the monks Xenophon and Ioasaph, natives of Sicily, who brought with them the miracle-making Icon of the Mother of God of Sicily.
On the one hand, this version is unlikely, since the area was the place of continuous confrontation of the Russian and nomadic tribes. But on the other hand, according to the results of the archaeological excavations, it was there that the Mayatskaya fortress was located built by the Alans in the 9 century. Also, an important trade route ran on the Don. So, these lands were inhabited for many centuries and were included in the Khazar Khaganate, which even had a Christian eparchy.
According to the real documents and not legends, the Divnogorsky Assumption monastery was founded in 1653 by the monks, who came from the Zaporozhian lands to the free Don lands together with the Ukrainian Cossacks, fleeing from the oppression of the Polish szlachta (nobility). Cossacks erected the defensive works in the area of the Ostrogozhsk fortress, while the monks founded a cave monastery among the chalk cliffs of Divnogorie.
Eventually, the Divnogorsky monastery became one of the wealthiest monasteries in Voronezh province, and after 1831, when the miracle-making icon of the Mother of God of Sicily saved the natives from cholera, raging in the province, the fame of the monastery spread all over the Russian Empire.
In the Soviet times, in 1924, the monastery was shut down and first housed a sanatorium, and then a sanatorium for consumptives, and then again a sanatorium. The restoration of the Assumption monastery began in 1997, and, although the Church of the Sicilian Mother of God Icon remains on the territory of the natural museum-reserve Divnogorie, the monastic life was resumed at the monastery itself.