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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

An 18th century church has been restored in Volyn, or rather just its exterior, for now

26 November, 2013 - 11:05
BEAUTY AND PROXIMITY TO THE KYIV-USTYLUH HIGHWAY AS WELL AS THE PRESENCE IN THE SHRINE OF AN ANCIENT MIRACULOUS ICON OF THE MOTHER OF GOD, LONG KNOWN FOR ITS HEALING POWER, ATTRACT A LOT OF PILGRIMS NOT ONLY FROM VOLYN, BUT ALSO FROM AROUND THE WORLD / Photo by Valerii MELNYK

This amazingly beautiful ancient church, a unique example of late Baroque, can be seen from the international highway Kyiv-Ustyluh, for its home village of Piddubtsi stands just a few kilometers off the road. Volyn has nothing like it except Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) in Lutsk, as Jesuit Pawel Gizycki built both churches. Beauty and proximity to a major road as well as the presence in the shrine of an equally ancient miraculous icon of the Mother of God, long known for its healing power, attract a lot of pilgrims not only from Volyn, but also from around the world. People come from everywhere to take the sacraments of baptism and wedding in the Piddubtsi church.

However, this unique shrine has suffered for years from destruction wrought by underground water, time, and people. One village is unable to maintain a huge church, especially one of such artistic value, as Holy Protection Church in Piddubtsi is an architectural monument of national importance. Another restoration effort was completed recently. Director General of Lutsksantekhmontazh-536 company Ihor Chornukha said that restoration work had been extremely difficult from the technological point of view, but his builders had successfully coped with the challenge. The total budget of the restoration exceeded 2 million hryvnias, allocated for the Piddubtsi church by a direct presidential order. Volyn Regional State Administration’s chairman Borys Klimchuk came to worship at the shrine in mid-November.

Its exterior is highly impressive, featuring majesty and unique architectural design. However, internal restoration is still very far from completion. The church’s interior includes ornamental oil paintings and woodcarvings of the 19th century. The paintings are so infected by the fungus that the paint peels off in patches... Of course, rescuing the building from catastrophic flooding was the highest priority, but granite tiling on the floor, while undoubtedly good-looking, diverted a lot of money from other tasks. Klimchuk said that the authorities would consider what to do to preserve internal paintings which also contribute to the shrine’s uniqueness. However, it is clear that the local budget cannot cope with it, and so the central government’s support is needed.

By Natalia MALIMON, The Day, Lutsk

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