The exhibition “The Heavenly Host. Images of Holy Warriors on Volyn Icons of the 17th-19th Centuries” took two years to prepare; it is a joint project of museums from Volyn and Rivne regions: the Museum of Volyn Icon and Ostroh State Historical and Cultural Reserve. Volyn restorers Anatolii Kvasiuk and Lesia Obukhovych prepared two interesting works for this exhibition: 19th century deacon’s gates of an iconostasis dating back to the 18th century and an image of Archangel Michael with a long donor’s inscription. The inscription reads: “This icon was commissioned by servant of God Hryhorii Choliuk with his wife Kateryna and their children for absolution of their sins on the 11th of June, 1740 AD.”
In total, the exhibition includes 22 icons of the 17th-19th century, representing the tradition of depicting holy warriors. The images display both high skill level of their creators and ways of folk iconography.
When it comes to the heavenly host, Archangel Michael and St. George are usually the first to be mentioned. Their images are on display, but visitors will also take interest in icons depicting Saints Demetrius, Boris and Gleb as well as St. Eustace, who is particularly revered in Zakarpattia and Lviv region, but little known in Volyn. The cult of holy warriors spread in Ukraine during the Kyivan Rus’ era, as evidenced by ancient works of sacred art. Ukrainian princes mostly chose the names of victorious saints when receiving baptism, and dedicated shrines to them.