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The church in Ryasne village.


Having finished the wall-painting of the trinity Cathedral to the 2000th Christmas anniversary, the artists bestowed the Drohobych community a unique spiritually completed artistic complex filled with national character. This complex can be considered without any doubt, one of the most beautiful cathedrals of Ukraine.

An important moment in the creative formation of Drohobych artists of monumental painting became the wall-painting of St. Peter and Paul’s church in Ryasne, Lviv oblast. The artists showed their skills and determined the composition of their canvases though not traditionally. They worked at the scheme of wall-painting location under exigent dean’s instructions and their work was within cannons. Founded as a small Neo-Romanistic edifice and as the result of a recent expansion and reconstruction the church aquired complicated wall-painting. Inner outlines of this wall-painting are devoid of bright daylight which despite rather small diameter of a lengthened narrow central dome lights up it partially.

The most lightened place is the sanctuary separated from the central part of the church with the high iconostasis facing west. Outer flows of light forcing through the slots of windows are combined with the intensive divine radiance of the great stature of God and dovelike figure of the Holy Spirit inserted in the sanctuary. Despite the flows of light the sanctuary wall-painting is overwhelmed with an atmosphere of melancholy and sorrow.

The scene of the holy Supper with a deep feeling of secret and presentiment of great sacral sacrifice is widely displayed at the eye level on the round arch of the sanctuary. The peculiar behaviour of the concentrated self-absorbed and static in general statures of the disciples placed aside preaching Christ convey two the most significant moments of the holy supper which became of the greatest importance for Jesus Christ and the Christian Church in future. The first one is historical, i.e. Christ announces that there is a betrayer among the present (in the composition Judas holding the money-box in his hands is placed aside the group of disciples); the second one is of the theologically dogmatic character, i.e. introducing main holy Mysteries, at which the New Testament begins. “And as they were eating Jesus took bread blessed and broke and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, this is My body”. Then He took the cup and from it, all of you.” For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”. (Matthew 26, 26-28). Having put the idea of sacral sacrifice info the icon of the Holy Supper the artists dwell on it in the upper-storeys of the sanctuary. Besides, in the centre above the icon of the Holy Supper there is a composition of Crucifix set. Rather a high cross with crucifixed Christ on it is displayed on the ground of the restless dramatically strained heaven light hanging over the Golgotha. The deep content of the composition is completed with the stature of Christ and the statures of two winged angels; one of the angels has a plate with some bread on it, the other one has a jug of wine. The point of sacrifice and the life-giving Mystical is expressively completed with the ritual holding of the chalice over the head by the priest, who is depicted standing back with two lit candles at the bottom of the composition in front of the altar.

The artists included two scenes of the Old Covenant and two of the New Covenant into the general course of sacral wall-painting. In particular, on the right of Crucifix there is a psychologically strained and filled with mental suffering scene “Praying for the Chalice. “ The iconographic ground of which is based on the words from the Gospel according to Matthew (26, 36-45) and Luke (22, 39-46). “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there”. And he took with Slim Peter and the two sons of Lebedee, and he began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed”(...) Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying “O My Father it this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it Jour will be done” (Matthew 26, 36-37). “Then an angel appeared to Slim from heaven, strengthening Slim” (Luke 22, 43).

The preceding scene revealed the soul pain of the Son of God. In a composition placed aside there is displayed last episode of Christ’s Way to Death, i.e. the scene of “Blackthorn Crowning”. One of the artists expresses Sather distinctly the dramatic moment of physical and mental cynical scoffing at Christ. Having good artistic plastic abilities the artist showed the episode of the Gospel (John, 19, 1-3) of putting a blackthorn wreath on the Christ’s head and the scene of dressing tired but not submitted Christ with the purple clothes and presented the deep idea of consolidation of the God Man as the King of the Truth who reigns in the whole world.

On the left of the scene of Crucifix there is a full of dramatism and immense faithful love and belief in God scene of “Abraam’s Oblation”. The wall-painting canvas demonstrates the professionalism of Drohobych artists of monumental painting. Alongside the scene of “Abraam’s Oblation” there is a scene of miraculous escape of Israelites people “Midyanyi zmii” (“Copper Serpent”). This motive goes logically with the general thematic scheme of the sanctuary. The Lifting up of Moses’ copper serpent in the wilderness is analogous to the Christ’s Lifting up which symbolises eternal life for the believers. And as Moses Lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Sow of Man be lifted up, “That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3, 14-17).

Other wall-painting canvases made by Drohobych artists in the church in Ryasne are excelled in originality and a well-thought over composition. The two great epically displayed monumental all-painting call everyone’s attention and tell episodes of the life of the disciples Peter and Paul. On the left there is a scene of ‘The Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter. (“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kindom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16, 18-19); on the right there is a scene of ‘Convert to Faith of Saul”. (“As he journeyed he came near Damascus and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell on the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, lord/” Then The Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Act 9, 3-5)). Created compositions of both canvases are based on the biblical motives and they do not only illustrate the content precisely but declare clearly their importance in the complicated process of consolidation of Christian doctrine and formation of the World Church.

The idea expressed in the compositions “The Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter” and “Convert to Faith of Saul is the idea of formation and development of the World Church, the idea of convert to faith and of preaching and notifying of the God’s word, as the disciples Peter, the teaches of the Jews and Paul, the teacher of the Heathens, (Gal. 2, 7-8) did. This idea is shown in other wall-painting which make us realise the importance of the joining of Ukrainian people and church to the World Christian community. The wall-painting in the composition “Cirillo and Methodii” painted on the right and “the Adoption of the Union” painted on the left are of the greatest significance. The ideas of the faith and unity strength in the professionally made compositions display the attendant biblical texts.

Other compositions of St. Peter and Paul’s Church in Ryasne bear the theological content, and are painted rather skilfully. At present the artists of the Drohobych association express their artistic capability successfully in St. Mary’s Rest Church in Staryi Kosiv. Nowadays, the polychromatic wall-painting of the Uspenska Church produces great impression because of its originality and panoramic determination. The artists create a peculiar and unique image of Christ Pantokrator surrounded by four archangels and four angels in the under cupola space of the church. Paying attention to the composition and artistic completion of the church in Kosiv we believe that will not become only an adornment of parish but also one of the best modern wall-painting church ensembles.

The artists are wished to keep their highly-artistic skills to express and to bring the deep content of the God’s word to those who require it in the sacral wall-painting.

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