Church in Ruins

Front cover

by Oleh W. Iwanusiw


In 1988, Ukrainians all over the world will be celebrating the millennium of Christianity in Ukraine. It grieves me to affirm that in Ukraine itself, although religion in not officially outlawed, it is persecuted by agencies of the State. The small number of churches that are open are all part of the Russian Orthodox Church, a church which claims, but does not possess, continuity in the millennium.

The aim of this hook is to show the demise of the churches, clergy, and faithful of one small part of Ukraine. This small part is the portion of the Eparchy of Peremyshl that is within the borders of present day Poland.

In this book you will find color photographs of churches that still exist. The photographs are divided into two chapters. The first chapter covers the churches of the Lemko Apostolic Administrative, while the second chapter covers the rest of the Eparchy of Peremyshl. Generally speaking, the photographs are arranged according to deaneries. They start in the west, the Deanery of Mushyna, and end in the north-east, the Deanery of Varyazh.

In the third chapter you will see drawings of churches that no longer exist. These were made by Roman Radylecky from private and published photographs. Included in this chapter, are lists of no longer existing churches whose pictures we could not obtain. Should you, the reader, have photographs of churches that are missing here, please send these to the St. Sophia Association In St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. We will make an effort to update this publication.

A detailed map of the Eparchy of Peremyshl in also a part of the book. Every locality which has or had a church is marked on it.

Most of the photographs were taken by the author during trips in the years of 1984-86. Some photographs were obtained from M. Kertychak and are so marked.

I consider the effort spent in preparing this book as my contribution to the celebrations of the millennium of Christianity in Ukraine. I hope that the publication will show religious and civil authorities the great injustice that has been perpetrated on the Ukrainian population of the Eparchy of Peremyshl. I equally hope that the fate of the descendants of these people will improve in the years to come.

I hope that you, the reader, will find a photograph of the church of your locality, or that of your forefathers. Unfortunately, the churches wheremy forefathers worshipped no longer exist!

In conclusion, I must thank many individuals who assisted in the preparation of this book. These include:

The author will be proud, and indeed honored, if this publication will contribute to the history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and will become, even in a small way, a part of the diverse celebrations commemorating the Millennium of Christianity of Rus'-Ukraine.

Toronto, 1967

"Church in Ruins"

illustrates the present condition of churches of the Ukrainian Catholic (Byzantine Rite) Eparchy of Peremyshl, part of which territory fell within the boundaries of present day Poland. While a few of the churches are recognized and protected as architectural antiques by Polish museums, and others havebeen acquired and are cared for by the Polish Roman Catholic Church, the majority of the churches were destroyed and no longer exist.

The author attempted to visit every one of the 690 churches in some 650 municipalities. His pictorial record is shown on the pages of this publication. Here you will find illustrated some fine examples of Lemko and Boyko wooden sacral architecture, as well as the painful remnants of churches that have been destroyed for whatever reason.

Shown on the front portion of the jacket is the church in Malava. Its walls are crumbling from the chemical action of fertilizers that have been stored here for forty years. The church's cross is shown on the rear.

It is thrust in the ground where the altar once stood.

Oleh Wolodymyr Iwanusiw was born in Halychyna (Galicia), Western Ukraine, and came to Canada after W.W. II with his parents and sisters. He completed his education by obtaining a BSc. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Since then, to the present time, he makes a living by applying electronics to the measurement needs of electrical power systems.

Oleh is neither a professional photographer nor an author. He collected materials for this publication during four trips to Poland. He considered it appropriate to prepare this publication for the celebrations of the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine and in memory of his grandfathers, both of whom were priests in the Eparchy of Peremyshl.


A few explanations are in order: