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By Galicja Pogranicze
Published: 10.08.2010

The Baroque Church of St. Anthony built in 1718.
   Below at the stairs leading to the church stands a statue of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, rendered by Sebastian Fesinger, the renowned Rococo sculptor of the 18th century. This skilled craftsman was the author of another work - the figure of St. Anthony standing in front of the church bell tower.
   The interior of this sacred place is adorned with Rococo sculptures. Chapels with Baroque altars flank the nave of the church. The church walls bear icons of the 18th century set in rococo frames, although the most valuable one is the late Gothic icon of the Virgin Mary with Christ and Saint Anna (1520) created by a guild craftsman. Portraits of Prince and Princess Vyshnevetsky of the 17th century are also located in the church.


The Monastery Complex of the Discalced Carmelites.
   This hill affords the most marvelous view of Lvov’s old town. The Church of the Archangel Michael was built at the beginning of the 17th century for the Order of the Discalced Carmelites by Jan Pokorowicz, an Italian from Lombardy. The solid defensive fortress walls were erected simultaneously with the monastery.
   The monastery-fortress endured many sieges of the city, including the Turkish Siege of 1672 and the Tatar Siege of 1695; however, it was captured by the army of Swedish King Karl XII in 1704. The defensive walls have enclosed a monastery garden on all sides to the present day.
   The church entrance features a fine forged iron gate. Inside one of the largest churches in Lvov there are several gravestones of leading Lvovites and benefactors; among the most prominent is the poet Count Josef Dunin-Borkowski (1815). A black marble gravestone dated 1762 located in the right part of the church bears a very peculiar epitaph for nobleman Petro Branytsky: “a man apt to lechery throughout his life”.
   The vault of the main nave was painted by Giuseppe Pedretti in the early 1730s. The altars, created by monk Hryhoriy Chaykovsky, depict Carmelite monks. The main altar of black and red marble has been preserved since the establishment of the church.


The Church and Convent of the Benedictines.
   The edifice was surrounded by solid fortifications of complex configuration, in compliance with fortification requirements of the time. Crenellated walls, encircled by a deep moat, were reinforced with bastions. A good deal of the walls of the convent’s solid fortifications have survived.
   The church walls are supported by strong buttresses. The upper tier of the belfry attached to the southern tower is adorned with carvings and completed with a beautiful attic. Purity of form of the belfry places this composition among the best Renaissance monuments in Lvov. Gallery arches are decorated with white stone; above these loom sculpture-filled niches.
   From ancient Vicheva Square one passes through a tall Baroque gate into a wide courtyard with the church and convent complex. At first, one is struck by the cautious, defensive atmosphere, but at the same time one notices the calming features of the convent-fortress, which portray a sense of architectural harmony, symmetry, relaxation, peace, and optimism.
   Since the proclamation of Ukrainian independence religious activities have resumed in the convent. Nuns of the Studied order specialize in weaving, embroidery, and Easter egg painting. The St. Sophia School, very popular among Lvov’s youth, functions within the convent complex.


The Church of St. Lazarus.
   Enclosed by walls, the church and hospital feature a striking defensive character. Smooth, solid walls have incised pointed windows - a tribute to Gothicism. Cross-vaulting also affirms the Gothic style. The posh cornice set on exquisite consoles softens the severe simplicity of shapes of the monumental late Renaissance building.
   For several centuries the hospital served as a refuge for cripples and paupers. Here the wounded from battles against Turkish and Tatar raiders were treated.
   A hospice for the poor and elderly functioned here until World War II. The former church and hospital were restored in 1989. At present the building accommodates the Dudaryk Children’s Choir.
   The hospital walls are decorated with reliefs depicting the Gospel parable of Lazarus and the rich man, as well as a very rare theme for the plastic arts - God the Father holding his Son Jesus on his lap.
   Beneath the monastery walls lies a 17th century well adorned with two stone lions and heraldic shields of patrician families of Lvov.


The Greek Catholic Church and Brazilian Monastery of Saint Onuphrius.
   Emperor Constantine transferred the icon to his capital, whereupon Byzantine Princess Anna brought it with her from Constantinople to Kyiv. Three hundred years later this icon came into the possession of Prince Lev who handed it over to the Brazilian Monastery. At the end of the 14th century this icon was eventually brought to Czestochowa in Poland, where it has become famous for its miracles. At present the ancient icon of the Virgin Mary of Czestochowa (the so-called Black Madonna) is viewed as the most sacred object in Poland.
   The monastery of the princely era has not survived in its original form. The construction of a stone church began in the middle of the 16th century and was financed by Prince Kostyantyn Ostrozky, the biggest benefactor of culture in Ukraine. In the 17th century this complex of buildings located far from the city walls suffered from fires and numerous attacks by enemy invaders. Subsequent constructions and reconstructions of the monastery occurred throughout the next four hundred years, and were finally completed in 1902, when chapel was added to the church’s right flank.
Throughout the course of its history the monastery functioned under the auspices of the Stauropegian Brotherhood of the Assumption Church. A school, hospital, library, archives, and museum were established there. It was this monastery where in 1573 Ivan Fedorov - ‘a printer of books never seen before’ - took refuge. The next year he produced the first printed book in Ukraine - the Apostle - in the monastery printing shop, which functioned until 1615. The first Ukrainian printer was buried in 1583 in the princely-era cemetery near the monastery.
   The richly adorned iconostasis of the monastery church was created in the 18th century by the prominent painter Luka Dolynsky. New icons by the hand of artist Sosenko were added at the beginning of the 20th century.


The Our Lady of the Sign Church of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns.
   The church in Lvov was designed by Giovanni Battista Gisleni, an architect at the court of two kings of Rzeczpospolita: Wladyslaw IV and his brother Jan Kazimierz. A plaque attached to the entrance portal confirms the dates of construction of the Baroque church(1642-1644). Golden Latin letters name the benefactor of the church - the father of the Polish king Jan Sobieski, Jacob. There are also coats of arms of the Polish royal families of Sobieski and Danilowiczi. The son, continuing his father’s work, finished and decorated the church at his own cost in 1692.
   The portal niches were adorned with stone vases and figures of the founders of the Carmelite Order, Sts. John and Teresa, by the royal sculptor Andrzej Schwaner.
   Upon abolition of the Order of the Carmelites in Lvov, the monastery housed the Theological Seminary of the Latin Archdiocese. The palace of the Latin archbishops, adjacent to the church, was not used according to its original purpose in the totalitarian period; its renovation was dedicated to the visit of Pope John Paul II to Lvov in June 2001.

The Holy Trinity Church in Sykhiv.





Aleksander Borovko, Bohdan Zhukiewicz
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