Catholic pilgrimage. Ukrainian “Lourdes” Zarvanytsia. Experience the miracle waters


Experience Ukraine Tours

Duration: 3 days 1 night

COST: $100 USD Per person. Includes Bus fare from Kiev, tent and sleeping bags, and meals. Excludes Airfares to Kiev International Airport.

1) June 5 (Church holiday – the Day of the Holy Trinity)
2) July 15-16 (International pilgrimage with complete remission of sins) The main annual pilgrimage event.
3) September 21 (Church holiday  –  Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
4) October 14 (Church holiday  –  Intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary)100
You can also book a tour any time you want.

    Welcome to the Christian pilgrimage journey to the “Ukrainian Lourdes”. Zarvanytsya village lies in a picturesque forest near the caves and canyons in the Ternopil region. Feel the holy spirit by camping with thousands of fellow worshipers and experience the magical night time candle light singing. Swim in the blessed waters. People from all over Ukraine travel by foot, bus and car to this annual event. You will have access to an English speaking guide at all times and ask as many questions as you want!

This holy place is well known not only in Ukraine but also far beyond its borders. Mary’s (that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin) spiritual center in Zarvanytsya is one of the most important Catholic shrines in the world and the largest sanctuary of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Among all the holy places in Ukraine Zarvanytsya gathers most pilgrims every year, sometimes this number reaches 2 million pilgrims! It is primarily famous for its miraculous icon of the Mother of God, which is one of the oldest icons of Ukraine. Its history goes back to the 13 century – the sad time of Mongol-Tatar raids.

   The legend says that after the destruction of Kyiv by Mongol-Tatars in 1240-1241 one monk was lucky to escape from captivity. He spent a lot of days and nights traveling to west. Exhausted from long trip, covered with bloody wounds, barely alive, he fell to the ground and fast asleep. At night he dreamed a miracle: Mother of God surrounded by angels came down to him.  He fell on his knees to Her, putting his hands up. She smiling gave him her omophor and lifted him to his feet. He woke up and saw a bright beautiful morning in green forest near the river, heard the chirping of birds. That was an incredible place after severe hardships in Tatar’s captivity.  And suddenly in the meadow above the mineral water spring the monk saw the Icon of Mother of God with Jesus-baby in Her arms, exactly the one that appeared to him in a dream.  Washed his wounds with water from this source he surprisingly noticed that they were healed. Thankfully bowing to God for his miraculous recovery, and realizing his mission, monk decided to stay in this wonderful place and later he built a chapel near the source and placed miraculous icon there. Later the monastery was built near this chapel, and a village appeared around it, which a monk named as Zarvanytsya.   

   It would seem that these are only words, but from that time until today, there are many testimonies of various people who have been healed from incurable diseases of the heart, nervous system, cancer. Blind people are beginning to see, and paralyzed ones can walk…  After worship the sanctuary, people can solve the super difficult problems in their lives.
    In 1867 the icon of the Virgin Mother of God in Zarvanytsya was crowned. A little later, with the blessing of Pope Pius IX, Zarvanytsya acquired the status of pilgrimage center (with complete remission of sins).

   Another old Ukrainian Christian relic is stored in the church of the Holy Trinity in Zarvanytsya. That is the miraculous icon of the Crucified Jesus-Savior. This icon in bright celestial radiance appeared to a pious farmer just in the field in 1740. This Miracle icon was crowned by Athanasius Sheptytsky Metropolitan.

    An ancient source with miraculous water now is specially designed for pilgrims asking God for healing and strengthening physically and spiritually. It is named by St. Ann. Here the dozens of people witnessed the miracle appearance of Mother of God with Jesus-baby in Her arms. That happened for several times.

   Here are some testimonies of people who have received the gift of healing from God:

1) According to one legend, Vasylko Romanovych, the Prince of Terebovlya who was the brother of  the Galician king Danylo, was healed in Zarvanytsya. Seriously ill, he was lying almost at death, when servants reported him about Zarvanytsia miraculous icon and water. The Prince immediately ordered to deliver them, but the envoys returned empty-handed with a firm response of monk that if the prince wants to recover, he must come to God by himself. Vasylko was brought to the icon on the stretcher, and he went out on his own feet. Thankful prince built a wooden church in the forest which unfortunately was later destroyed by Mongol-Tatars.

2) In the mid-80s one woman who lived in this area got seriously ill on her feet – open sores deprived her of the ability to walk. After a long treatment without any result she realized that medicine was not able to help her. And being deeply religious the woman asked her family to bring her to Zarvanytsia forest. She took only two blankets, a rain-coat, the Holy Rosary and a bag of crackers with her. As in that time this miraculous place was in a brutal disgrace by USSR atheistic government, she was hiding in the forest thicket during the day, earnestly praying to the Virgin God Mother, and only at night time she could crawl to the source to drink water and wet bandages on her wounds.  Exactly in one week sick feet of the woman were fully healed.

3) “I have witnessed that one man comes here every day. Doctors diagnosed a blood infection, and he could live only for two months. Now, since he is visiting St. Ann’s waters for almost two years, he is still alive and even feels great. Also, people come here with neurological diseases. One woman which couldn’t talk, after washing herself in the source with miraculous water, began to talk. Then she wanted to record the miracle”- says brother (monk) Andrew, a witness of healing in Zarvanytsya.

Learn much more during the tour with us!

Experience the miracles, swim in the holy waters, sing at night with fellow worshipers!


Also during this trip you have the opportunity to see valuable historical and architectural monuments of Buchach town, which is known in Europe as the town-museum

Tastiest food in the world! Ukrainian cuisine, food of God.

Ukraine has the tastiest food in the world, but it takes so long to prepare, hence it falls out of favour with Chefs and home cooks. It’s food you associate with grandmother preparing for 3 days for the family to devour in 10 minutes (Before exploding lol), then resting then eating (and exploding), then resting then eating … lol


Usually these feasts follow a fasting period for religious holidays like Christmas and Easter, so everybody is ravenous and the food tastes so much better.


If you want to experience this taste sensation especially Christmas feast see our Winter Tour Winter tour link contact Experience Ukraine Your or press this link Link

Here is an example of the best of Ukraine’s cuisine, as prepared by my wife, her mother, her grandmother and other relatives after various celebrations while touring Ukraine. If you like to holiday and eat, Ukraine is for you!

This is the national dish, Borshch or beetroot (Borak) soup. It should be as deep red as possible and made with your garden vegetables and a little pork meat if you have it and garnished with dill and sour cream. My wife won’t tell me the secret , when I cook it it comes out orange!



Another favorite is the Shasliki. Or skered meats broiled over a hot charcoal barbecue. Usually pork but also chicken and lamb or beef.



The other is Vereniky (to boil little  potato and cheese filled wheat flour dumblings) served with sour cream and very sweet crunchy fried onion



And here is a sample of the feasting.


If you want to experience this taste sensation contact Experience Ukraine Your or press this link Link


Youtube video Experience Ukraine Tours

Our road trip in Ukraine with Experience Ukraine Tours See website . Uploaded to YouTube.  The village farmers give one person responsible for looking after all the cows and they graze all day before returning home to their stable at night. It’s very interesting to see ancient cow raising and farming techniques. The milk is so fresh and organic in Ukraine. I recommend you visit. So many products, cheese, milk, yogurt and Kefir.

Our road trip in Ukraine. Go Lada Vaz!

We are the owners of Experience Ukraine Tours. Experience Ukraine Tours and decided to recreate every single one of our trips and tours to find the best hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants and sights  and experiences in Ukraine. We paid our $1000 US dollars and bought our Vaz 2101 1979, A Soviet Union copy of a Fiat. the 3rd most made car in the world. It seemed in pretty good condition. The grandson of the original owner refurbished it. We were on our way to Odesa Beach Ukraine!

We made the big mistake of using google maps on my iPhone and we wound through every back road through every obscure village in Ukraine. We got lost in some forest lol. We back tracked. We took the worst roads and we nearly went airborne, in fact we did and we bounced hard into a pot hole!

But we finally made it to Odesa beach! The water was so warm and we hired out a king size bed on the beach with privacy curtains and sipped cocktails and had food delivered by waiter. It’s so cheap, we paid $12 for the bed and spent about $20 on food and drink. We got up the next morning before sunrise and watched the sun rise. It was magical. Nobody around.



Now the Lada is rugged up for winter, under cover. We take a White Christmas tour in Ukraine Experience Ukraine Tours – Winter Tour . You can see the Bukovel ski resort,and see a traditional Christian Christmas. Icy conditions in Ukraine mean it is a little wild to go out on the road. I look forward to the 2017 road trip! To be continued…..


Experience Ukraine Tours – In the Ukrainian Diaspora (Australia) newspaper- “Free Thought”

Here’s our advertisement in the November 2016 Free Thought Newspaper , The Ukrainian diaspora newspaper in Australia. Experience Ukraine Tours


For your next adventure holiday, contact us. Organic cooking, Christian culture, fresh air, wild mountains and streams, mushroom picking, berry picking, preserving food and growing organic vegetables can be found in Ukraine and we’ll show you.


Christian Churches of Ukraine

Ukraine has a unique Christian history. It has been an official Christian country since 988. Before that it was Perun worshiping with Slavic mythical folklore. Now the many pre Christian festivals have been turned into Christian religious festivals. Over the next few blogs we’ll write about the major religious holy days. It’s a magical mix of old and new worship. If you want to see more of this culture and experience these holy days for yourself go to our tour company Experience Ukraine Tours  Our tour guides are Christians and interested in explaining the unique meaning and symbolism of these christian holidays. You will participate in them if you wish. The highlight is our Winter Christmas in Ukraine Tour. It’s magical. But another major one is the Easter festival , with brightly decorated eggs and baskets for priest blessing at the church containing ingredients for the holy supper. “Sviat Vechera”.



Ukraine 1942. War. Colour photos

My grandmother experienced this war. At 92 she still does not speak of these times. From Ukraine she was given the choice. Fight on the front or work in Germany. She went to Germany to work. It was a total war effort. She was not paid.


These are great photos. Experience Ukraine Tours. We’ll show you historical areas of interest. Help you track down your relatives or find your ancestors village.




Ukraine. The mushroom picking capital of the world.

If you want to pick wild mushrooms there is no better place than Ukraine. This species is the best you can eat in the world.  We. know the secret spots in the Carpathians mountains. We’ll take you on a hunt then help you cook and eat. We have to leave sweets out in the Forrest for the forest spirits to bless our mushroom pick (Hutsul slavic tradition) .\Experience Ukraine Tours

If you love organic food and cooking mushrooms, you will love our ecological tours. There are over 20 variety of edible mushrooms. But please use us to help you identify, as many are poisonous.

Our website



Finding love in Ukraine.

You know the story, you meet someone but they just don’t feel “quite right” for you. You accommodate their different habits, their flaws, and personality because you have been told opposites attract. Love is a two way street, finding love is a battle of compromise. Strong emotions are repressed for the sake of keeping love strong. But this is wrong. Who are you, what do you want in life, what do you enjoy doing? Being single for a period of time allows you to grow into who you are. You do what you want and answer to nobody. As you get older you get set in your ways. Childish conformity to keep social groups happy pass and you do what you want and “offend” people. You find your school time circle of friends becoming smaller and you don’t even socialise with co-workers after work anymore.


(Photo is us at our wedding in traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts, made by Kristina’s mother)

After a string of 5 year relationships going nowhere, and then a period of singleness, you decide who you are and what you want, and if you can’t get it, you’ll be single forever. I decided I wanted to live part time in Ukraine for the rest of my life. Whoever I met would have to accept that. I thought this is an impossible task. For an Australian. Then you go on a foreign holiday and find real love!

I met my wife Kristina when I traveled to Ukraine. I was in Ukraine a few days when I decided to ask a Government tourist office where the local tour groups are. They directed me to a shop across the road and in their I met Kristina , a local Chernivtsi city tour guide Manager. I said , do you speak English and she said yes .

I thought fantastic, I can finally talk to somebody in English freely. Unfortunately for me, my Ukrainian speaking father thought Ukrainian in Australia was redundant and did not bother to speak to me in Ukrainian. At 42, the memory is not as good as it was so I have trouble learning Ukrainian. Kristina organised a meeting with her boss, to take me on a tour of the city. Whilst we were talking we got onto the subject of Kristina. Her boss said she liked me 🙂 and I said yes she is attractive. So he organised for us to meet and have coffee. Wow our first meeting and conversation was like TICK TICK TICK for me, and I subsequently learned that Kristina was going TICK TICK TICK. We were both meeting each others expectations. We organised a second date, and the conversation in that one was over whelming me. I looked at her and thought I have to marry this girl. But this is crazy to think this!!! We traveled to the snow, went to Bukoval ski resort, met her family in the Carpathians, and decided to get married before I left to Australia. I returned and we married in June 🙂

Kristina and I are best friends, we argue in a calm way and we then see each others point of view and amicably resolve our disagreements. I really feel we have a perfect relationship. Now in 6 months we are married and I am in Australia working sending money to Kristina and eagerly waiting to return for our winter tour with Experience Ukraine Tours

See our website


We set up a tour company because we traveled all over Ukraine and visited the best sites and stayed in the best hotels. I said well now we know everything to see and do in Ukraine, lets create our own company. Kristina agreed 🙂