New incarnation of the Lviv Knight (the first one was carved by the sculptor Jan Juliusz Nalborczyk out of a whole linden tree trunk in 1916) has been painted by Roman Zelinko and Ostap Lozynsky. The knight is the city’s patron saint, George the Dragon Slayer, who has “taken residence” in front of the town hall and will raise funds for the Ukrainian military’s needs. “I want to thank all patriotic Leopolitans, all our numerous NGOs for coming forward with this fortunate idea, because in one way or another, they all further the good cause of sustaining our army,” Lviv mayor Andrii Sadovy said at the solemn opening ceremony. “The entire economy of our country has to be placed on a war footing. Every community, every city should redirect its efforts towards supporting our armed forces.”
Notably, the Lviv Knight is a good and revealing story created in 1916. As The Day has learned from one of the authors of the idea, head of Lviv regional branch of the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture Andrii Saliuk, Lviv was facing Russian aggression a century ago. Lviv’s citizenry was raising funds to sustain the mobilization effort and strengthen its defense capability. To help raise donations for the needs of the army, they created the Knight of Lviv. “It was a figure carved out of wood, and everyone who made a donation to strengthen the army got the right to hammer a nail into the knight’s armor, thus protecting the wooden knight with metal armor,” Saliuk said.
The 1916 statue was housed on the Hetman Ramparts in a special pavilion designed by Witold Dolinski. The old Lviv Knight is now kept at Lviv Historical Museum in the lobby of the Black Mansion in Rynkova Ploshcha (i.e., City Market Square), and his good work has been taken over by St. George the Dragon Slayer, whose statue is flanked by transparent donations boxes. To be eligible for hammering a “nail” (actually a coin with the Ukrainian coat of arms) and thus strengthening the knight’s armor, one needs to donate at least 100 hryvnias. The funds raised will be used to purchase thermal imagers, night vision goggles and other equipment that is needed by our soldiers fighting in eastern Ukraine.