St. George’s in Chernihiv Region: Scaffolding’s down, but Restoration not Finished
RISU’s Ukrainian-language site posted the original of this text on 18 May 2007.
This village, well-known from the times of Kyivan Rus, is located 20 kilometers north of northern Ukrainian Chernihiv. Restoration of the church has been going on over the last five years. This spring, the scaffolding is already down and a new metal fence is up. RISU correspondent Lyubov POTAPENKO reports.
“There is a lot of work to do on the church, even with the scaffolding down,” says Victoria Zeleniuk, assistant head of the City-building and Architecture Department of the Chernihiv Regional Administration. “I guess that interior design is very painstaking work. Further work will take more than a month. Moreover, an archeological dig should be done on a site near the church. After that, a water reservoir that was not here before will be built. The reservoir will be a part of the architectural complex and will perform fire-prevention and esthetic functions. Two million hryvnias [approximately US $ 400,000] from the state budget have been spent on scaffolding work in St. George’s Church. The sum of money that is needed this year has still not been found, but the workers have not stopped work.
“The Chernihiv Restoration Company is performing restoration and related work on this historic object. The Ukrainian scientific research institute Project Restoration is also taking part in the work. The rebuilding of the church will be planned with its assistance.
”It turned out that it was necessary to replace broken wood in the walls, but in order to do this we had to take the church down. This work took a year. Than we spent one more year on building the new church and trying to preserve all the parameters. We left the old basement but made a new brick foundation. The first four windows are made of oak. Some were made of pine and turpentine, if it was necessary. Every detail of this wooden church has its own secrets.
”For example, the shingles on the roof and domes are so unique. The shingles are made only of fir. That is why materials were brought from the Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions [far western Ukraine]. The wooden boards need to be boiled in drying oil and ‘veretenka,’ a special type of drying oil. To cover the boards one time you need to use 50 liters of drying oil.
“New elements like panelling and two extra domes appear as the process of restoration goes on. Trimming is needed to protect the walls when the weather is bad. Old residents in Sedniv wonder why two new domes are being built. Either they or written sources can prove that there was always one dome on top of the church.
”Nevertheless, St. George’s Church is like a miracle. People like it much more now compared with the times when the first Soviet thriller, ‘Vii,’ (after a work of Nikolai Gogol) was filmed here,” said Zeleniuk.
Viktoria Zeleniuk said that the person who will become supervisor of the church will be announced after the completion of restoration work. There necessarily should be a supervisor to take care of the church. The question about the transfer of the church has to be answered by the regional administration.
Photo by Nina Petrovska