The lost churches will return to the cultural map of Transcarpathia

156 lost objects of Transcarpathian church architecture will appear from oblivion on the pages of the book and in the online archive


Втрачені церкви Закарпаття
Lost churches of Transcarpathia

Ukrainian wooden temples are one of the markers of our national identity. That is why, by the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence, the lost monuments must return to the cultural space and warn us against further losses. Then the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts together with the NGO “Cultural Platform of Transcarpathia” and with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Diocese – launched the project “Lost Churches of Transcarpathia”, which will publish a book by famous online researcher projects, a course of video lectures and a visualized dictionary of terms of wooden architecture.

Втрачені церкви

To date, about 60 wooden churches have survived in Transcarpathia, two of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as bell towers and chapels. It would seem that a lot, but it seems so only until we realize how much is lost. 156 objects of sacred architecture of Transcarpathia, namely 101 wooden churches, 29 wooden bell towers and 26 brick temples, were lost forever during the XX and XXI centuries. And accidental fires are just one of the causes of their deaths. In the first half of the twentieth century. a devastating factor was the desire of communities to replace wooden churches with brick ones, many churches fell victim to anti-religious campaigns during the Soviet era, and monumental churches have been destroyed for the past three decades to build “new” and “beautiful” ones. This process, as well as the relentless “improvement” of ancient wooden temples with shining tin, plastic and unmistakable outbuildings, is not only slowing down – it is gaining momentum (yes, even UNESCO status does not save the church in Uzhhorod and Yasiny from amateur interventions). Today we already have 101 lost wooden churches in Transcarpathia – against 60 preserved ones.

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Село Гусний церква
The village of Gusny Church of St. Nicholas

Without realizing and realizing these losses, it is impossible to stop the following. So the project team set itself the goal of returning the lost monuments from oblivion, at least in the form of photos, drawings, text descriptions – so that they again, albeit virtually, take their place on the cultural map of Transcarpathia and Ukraine in general.

The project is based on the cultural and historical research of Mykhailo Syrokhman “Lost Churches of Transcarpathia”. It will be published as a book in Ukrainian and English. Well-known art critic and researcher of Transcarpathian wooden churches, Mykhailo Syrokhman, has dedicated more than 40 years of field and archival exploration to them. The new edition will contain about 250 rare images – photos, drawings, plans, many of which are unique and will be published for the first time.

                 “When I discovered the world of wooden architecture, the world of incredibly beautiful shapes and proportions, I was terribly sorry that no one would know – and what other forms, volumes, elements existed,” says Mikhail Sirohman. – So it all started with artistic interest: I wanted to bring out of nowhere the forms that made this world even richer and more diverse. During the 1980s and 1990s, I visited all the villages many times, talking to old people and descendants of master builders. Each photograph obtained made a deep impression, brought to light another art form. After 2000, when it became almost impossible to find something new during the expedition, he worked on the archives and funds of museums in Ukraine and abroad. But even today I hope that somewhere in the attic of the old house there is still a forgotten photo – and maybe it will be found thanks to our project?

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Михайло Сирохман
Scientific supervisor of the project Mykhailo Syrokhman

An important component of the project is the creation of an online map of Transcarpathia with 156 lost objects of the categories “wooden church”, “wooden bell tower”, “brick church”. Each tag will be associated with information about the object and its spatial location. For three routes, it is planned to record audio materials that will allow a virtual tour of attractions that no longer exist.

Церква святого архангела Михаїла XVII ст.
Church of St. Archangel Michael XVII century.

“You can’t use old maps to explore a new world. The digital age, thanks to the Google Maps and Apple Maps mapping services, is changing past perceptions of the dissemination of information that visualizes the navigation space of social interactions. That is why our goal is to publicly present on the global cartographic service archival images of objects unique in their architecture and to indicate in the description of each of them how and by whom these losses were inflicted. We hope that this method will take the form of deterrent from further architectural losses in the 21st century, and Ukraine will become a European leader in the segment of religious tourism objects of sacred architecture, “said Eugene Zabarylo, head of the digital component of the project, founder of Transcarpathian Cultural Platform.

Забарило Євген
Eugene was overwhelmed by the CEO of the project

“Employees of the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts are developing arrays of unique information. With the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, we have a chance to combine decades of scientific work with modern channels of interpretation and transmission of these works. The team of the project “Lost Churches of Transcarpathia” aims not only to create the most comprehensive archive of the lost wooden sacred architecture of the region. If this project helps to save at least one church from destruction and extinction, it will be a great achievement, ”said the rector of the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts Ivan Nebesnyk.

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Небесник Іван
Rector of the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts

Mykhailo Syrokhman and his colleague, Doctor of Arts, Head of the Department of Decorative and Applied Arts of the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts Mykhailo Pryimych will read a course of 5 video lectures.

“We decided to compose the lectures in such a way that they are useful both for those who are just beginning to get acquainted with the world of sacred architecture and art, and for those who are already well acquainted with it,” said Mykhailo Prymych. – Yes, I will start my lectures with a story about the phenomenon of Ukrainian iconostasis, the oldest examples of iconostasis and frescoes that have survived in Transcarpathia and which everyone can see with their own eyes, and then move on to analyze the features of Transcarpathian iconostasis of different periods, those influences. under which they were formed.

Михайло Приймич
Mykhailo Pryimych, Doctor of Arts

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The project “Lost Churches of Transcarpathia” is implemented by the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts and the NGO “Cultural Platform of Transcarpathia” with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. The position of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation may not coincide with the opinion of the authors.