Volunteers restore a 260-year-old church in the Ivano-Frankivsk region

20 April, 11:51
Culture
Volunteers restore a 260-year-old church in the Ivano-Frankivsk region - фото 1
Ancient candlesticks and fragments of sculptures by Johann Pinzel were found by volunteers of the project “1743” during the restoration of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in Horodenka. The church with a 260-year history survived fires, wars and decline during the Soviet Union. Now volunteers are trying to restore the monument and preserve what has survived.

The church was built in 1760 by the order of Count Nikolai Pototski. A monastery of missionaries was built nearby, Suspilne reports.

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The architect of the structure was Bernard Meretyn, who collaborated with the sculptor Johann Pinzel. It was he who created 5 altars for the church and about 30 sculptures, which are now not in the church. Some of them are on display at the Pinzel Museum in Lviv.

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During its existence, the church has undergone several destructions, the largest during the Soviet Union. It hosted a sewing shop, a workshop, and later a school. It was from that time that services were not held until 1992.

Father Igor Kovbasyuk has been serving here for almost 19 years. He remembers when he came here, there were no windows or lighting.

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“I performed my first liturgy for six people, including my relatives. There were almost no strangers. There were no windows, no doors, there were pigeons. Pigeons cooed and didn’t let me perform liturgies,” says Igor Kovbasyuk.

Father Igor says that he restored the church together with friends and relatives. At that time, 5-8 people worked.

“Me and the community, we all tried not to damage anything. And you can see that even on the frescoes, there are fragments that were inscriptions. Because there was also an appeal to me - Father, help us with scouring. I say that there should be specialists. I will not do this because I can cause even more harm,” the father says.

A few years ago, volunteers of the project “1743” joined the church renovation process. Nazar Kutsyk, a participant in the initiative, says that the church is being restored for the community’s money. People who live abroad are also involved. Some of the materials were purchased for budget money in 2020.

Last year, volunteers began repairing the roof of the monastery, which is located near the church. To do this, use restored Austro-Hungarian tiles. This year, two cars of wooden materials have already been delivered and will continue working after Easter.

“No one has repaired the roof for a long time. Back in the 70s, some kind of restoration was performed there. At the moment, everything is getting wet, all the way from the third floor to the basements. It’s all collapsing, right before our eyes,” says Nazar Kutsyk.

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Last year, volunteers completely cleared the monastery from the garbage. At that point, according to Nazar Kutsyk, they cleared both the rooms of the building and the basement.

“We took out about 15 trucks of garbage from here. All these were lifted up manually with wheelbarrows from the basement. They carried them in their hands, then they went down the stairs, carried it into the dip,” the volunteer says.

This year, volunteers cleared up the vault. According to Nazar Kutsyk, it contained ashes that remained from the fire of 1835. In this ash, volunteers found ancient candlesticks.

“These were also restored by specialists. Everything is neat, as you can see. It was all restored based on old photos,” says Nazar Kutsyk.