Holy Saturday in Lemberg


Святі воїни, holy warriors, proclaim the two icons of the two warrior saints, dressed in black and red, the colors of Bandera, on the facade of the Icon Museum in Lemberg/Lviv. The two icons are parts of the decoration of the exhibition St. George the Dragon-Slayer and the warrior saints on icons from the 14th to the 19th century, but in these colors, and without the poster of Saint George announcing the exhibition are rather symbols of the current public climate of Lemberg, and profess the immortal glory of the heroes fighting for the Ukraine героям слава –, like so many other things, from the fairy tale books through the pubs to the cemeteries. The permanent exhibition shows the most beautiful pieces of Ruthenian icon painting in Galicia, from the museum’s collection of seventeen thousand pieces. This is a strange and unknown world to the eyes accustomed to the Russian icons, just as intense and fascinating, but with less stiffness, much more popular features and playfulness, and a lot of Western influences. Icons of saints’ life stories with the scenes of everyday life, Passion cycles with rustic side episodes, Last Judgements with the encyclopedic representation of sins and punishments. In the Saturday of the Orthodox Easter they close two hours earlier, they are preparing themselves for the Resurrection Mass and dinner. Христос воскресе – Во истино воскресе, we say goodbye to the attendant nanny. I would like to take a picture of a Resurrection icon in memory of the feast, but I cannot find any at the exhibition. The resurrection did not figure among the themes of the painting of the future Ukraine.


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