Dormition Church in Lviv

Image - The Church of the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood (built 1591-1631) and the Korniakt Tower (1578). Image - The Church of the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood (built 1591-1631) and the Korniakt Tower (1578).

Dormition Church in Lviv (also known as the Wallachian Church). (Photo: Dormition Church.) Built in 1591–1631 for the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood according to Paolo Romanus's design, with the help of Voitykh Kapynos and Amvrosii Prykhylny. The church was erected on the site of a church built by Petrus Italus in 1547 that had burned down in 1571. The Dormition Church is built in the Italian Renaissance style, modified by the Ukrainian building tradition. On the east-west axis it is divided into three parts and three stories, as is the basic type of Ukrainian wooden churches. The walls are divided by pilasters, the windows are surmounted by arches, and the metopes are filled with bas-reliefs. The doorposts of the north and south entrances are decorated with carvings. The donors' coats of arms are carved above on the pendentives. The carvings were done by Lviv masters—K. and Ya. Kulchytsky. The iconostasis was painted by Fedir Senkovych in 1630. After it was destroyed in a fire, another was installed by Mykola Petrakhnovych in 1638. It was later moved to the church in Velyki Hrybovychi near Lviv. The iconostasis now in the church was painted by Martyn Yablonsky in the 19th century. In 1926–7 the fine stained-glass windows by Petro Kholodny were installed. A belfry was erected in 1572–8, before the church was built, and was named the Korniakt Tower, after the donor, Konstiantyn Korniakt, who financed it. Designed and built by Pietro Barbone and Paolo Romanus, the tower was to serve as a stronghold during a siege. At first the tower had three stories, a tentlike, three-stage roof, and a pyramidal lantern. Damaged in a siege in 1695, the tower was restored by P. Beber and acquired a fourth story with a baroque helmet and a tall lantern surrounded by four pyramids. The tower is 66 m high. The Chapel of the Three Baptists was built later and dedicated in 1591. It was named after a church that had been destroyed during a siege in 1340. The chapel has a simple construction: a rectangular floor plan with three domes topped with lanterns. Its portal, which is decorated with a grapevine relief, is one of the architectural masterpieces of Lviv. The chapel is attributed to the builder Petro Krasovsky. The building complex of the Dormition Church is one of the finest examples of Ukrainian architecture, blending in perfect harmony the traditional elements of Ukrainian architecture with Renaissance elements.

Sviatoslav Hordynsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]




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