An exhibition dedicated to temples destroyed in the war was opened in the Dining Hall of the Lavra


The exposition tells about sacred buildings of various faiths and confessions in Ukraine, which were destroyed and damaged as a result of full-scale Russian aggression, and also demonstrates church icons and relics that miraculously survived from the completely destroyed churches.

Recently, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra National Reserve presented the exhibition project “…But they will be resurrected in glory and power” (1 Cor. 15:43). The exhibition takes place in the Dining Hall of the Church of Saints Anthony and Theodosius of Pechersk on the territory of the Upper Lavra.

The project was created by the joint efforts of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra National Reserve, the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, and the National Memorial Complex of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred — the Museum of the Revolution of Dignity.

“Ukrainian churches are the material embodiment of the spirituality of our people. During the war, the Russians destroy them purposefully and systematically. Photographs, videos and exhibits from destroyed churches, collected during expeditions in the de-occupied territories of Kyiv region, Kharkiv region and Chernihiv region, will speak eloquently about these crimes,” said the curators of the exposition.

The main part of the exhibition is information stands with photos of mutilated temples and religious buildings. Each of them has a QR code, which allows visitors to learn the history of each destroyed or damaged temple, as well as see archival photos of their original appearance before the war.

Also, the exposition is complemented by icons and items of church utensils, which were saved from religious buildings destroyed by the war. Some of them are combined in a separate installation created on the basis of the collection of the National Museum of the Revolution of Dignity.

Maksym Ostapenko, Acting Director of the National Academy of Sciences, addressed the guests with a welcome speech. Photo: Tatyana Asadcheva

Visitors can see fragments of decoration, icons and sculptures from churches in the village of Vyazunka in Zhytomyr region, fragments of facade decoration and sculptures from the St. George Church in the village of Dolyna in Donetsk region, as well as miraculously survived bells and the remains of a belfry from the village of Moschun in Kyiv region.

“The tragic events of the current war and the destruction of sacred monuments also remind us of the events of the Second World War, when some religious buildings were also destroyed and mutilated as a result of hostilities. In the exhibition, we also show unique items from the museum collection of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. After the Assumption Cathedral was blown up in November 1941, the vast majority of these ancient exhibits were found right on the ruins of the ancient shrine. We are also showing some of them in the exhibition today…” – says the co-curator of the project, – Anna Yanenko, deputy head of the research department of history and archeology of the reserve.

Co-curator of the exposition is Anna Yanenko. Photo: Tatyana Asadcheva

She also added that during the Second World War, the Temple of Remembrance itself also suffered significant damage. As a result of the explosion of the Assumption Cathedral, the windows in the Dining Hall were blown out, the roof of the church suffered significant damage due to the fire… However, the church was restored already in peacetime.

Relics that survived the explosion of the Assumption Cathedral of the Lavra. Photo: Tatyana Asadcheava

In his speech, the government official cited disappointing statistics regarding religious buildings of various denominations destroyed by the occupiers:

“In Ukraine, 415 churches and chapels were destroyed during the war. 100 of these structures are completely destroyed. This applies to various churches, religious buildings of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. The enemy, shooting at our temples, is shooting at God, despite the creed, but he cannot be defeated. We will definitely do everything to rebuild everything, but it is important for us to record the evil that the Russian aggressor is doing to the churches of Ukraine. We will be able to understand this after our victory, as well as recreate the grandeur of our temples, as it was before the war, and even make them better,” noted Oleksandr Tkachenko.

Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko talks about Ukrainian churches destroyed during the war. Photo: Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

The minister also added that among the mutilated and destroyed buildings, at least 20 have important historical and cultural value and are monuments of architecture and art of national significance.

“Destroyed temples are far from the only crimes that Russia is committing today. Today in the city of Simferopol, the occupiers took over the Cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine — the last Ukrainian church in the annexed Crimea. Insidiously, without any explanations or warnings, they broke down the doors of the church, described the property, expelled the representatives of the religious community, the old mother of the metropolitan…”, – reported the head of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience Victor Yelenskyi.

The event was also attended by: Acting General Director of the National Reserve Maxim Ostapenkogeneral director of the National Museum of the Revolution of Dignity Ihor Poshivaylo, representatives of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, as well as representatives of the public and other honored guests.

All of them expressed hope that the next project will be dedicated to the victory of Ukraine over the enemy in this terrible war, and the religious shrines destroyed by the aggressor will be rebuilt.

Metropolitan Epiphany at the opening of the exposition. Photo: Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine also visited the opening of the exposition Epiphanius, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He was accompanied by the acting vicar of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Archimandrite Abraham.

In his speech, the Metropolitan noted:

“This terrible war continues, which takes away the flower of our nation every day – our newest heroes, peaceful residents, children. Temples also suffer. This exhibition is intended to testify that evil will certainly be punished. Because evil is not inherent in human nature, but after the Fall evil entered the world and we see its real consequences… We will pass these trials. They will make us stronger spiritually, resilient and after our victory we will restore, revive and rebuild what the aggressor destroyed and everything will be even better. Everything is in our hands, we will continue in unity to do everything that depends on us to bring our joint victory closer.”

The exhibition “But they will be resurrected in glory and power” will continue throughout the year.

free entrance by entrance ticket to the National Reserve “Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra”.

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