The Ukrainian Section at the International Association of Art Critics AICA under the auspices of UNESCO is deeply concerned by the state of majestic monuments of Podillia sacral architecture.
Zoia Chehusova, president of the Ukrainian Section at the International Association of Art Critics, researcher at the Rylsky Institute of Art Criticism, Folklore, and Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko National Award laureate, Merited Artist of Ukraine, addressed The Day with a letter, filled with pain, which was caused by destruction of the national cultural heritage.
“About 600 monuments of sacral architecture have been preserved in Podillia. But unfortunately, 10 percent of them have almost turned into ruins. And 70 percent require immediate restoration. Wooden monuments are the most vulnerable part of this national heritage. It is a wonder that they had not been destroyed by fires of revolution and civil war at the beginning of the 20th century, but we can see this artistic phenomenon of international importance disappearing right now: during the last few decades, Ukrainians lost more historic monuments than during both World Wars.
“St. John the Apostle Church, this brilliant creation of our glorious ancestors, which was built in Miakokhid village (Bershad raion, Vinnytsia oblast) in 1767, might become the next victim of our officials’ negligence and indifference.
“Miraculously, this ancient architectural masterpiece, the construction of which was financed by Catherine II herself, survived till our days.
“Seemed like fortune smiled upon this church: even though it was turned into a granary during the atheistic Soviet era, its 18th-century iconostasis and church utensils remained intact.
“It is also known that in 1900, Ivan and Ksenia Medved got married there. They were parents to the outstanding Ukrainian scientist, founder of health services in our country, Levko Medved, who was also baptized in this church.
“Ivan and Ksenia Medved were great-grandparents to the famous Ukrainian doctor and scientist, corresponding member of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Medicine, Volodymyr Medved. One of the church walls is still adorned by the beautiful icon, painted in 1904, portraying Our Lady. It still bears a caption: ‘This image is painted by God’s servant Ivan-Isakii Medved and his wife.’
“However, today the building is under a threat of destruction: one of its three domes is tilted. It requires an immediate professional examination, composition of a corresponding bill on technical inspection, creation of project of its further major restoration. Certainly, in order for this to be done, considerable financing from the government or from sponsors is needed.
“It is impossible to understand why this church is not protected by the state. Though, according to Vinnytsia Oblast State Administration Department for Culture and Tourism records, this is an ‘architectural monument of local importance,’ which implies that it is left to the mercy of local administration, and in reality it means that the church is destined to be gradually destroyed.
“Nobody seems to be interested in the fate of this monument: neither village administration, nor raion administration assigned money for restoration.
“Staff of the Ukrainian Section at the AICA, which includes merited artists of Ukraine, international curators of art exhibits, is appealing to all caring people, to government representatives, MPs, sponsors, and patrons for an actual help in preserving the authentic monument of Ukrainian culture of the 18th century, wooden St. John the Apostle Church, which is located in Miakokhid Village, Bershad raion, Vinnytsia oblast.”