Ukraine: Medieval Statue of Crucified Christ Taken to Air-Raid Shelter

The last time the image of Cristo di Leopoli was removed from the Armenian Cathedral of Lviv was during World War II.

Newsroom (11/03/2022 09:53 AM Gaudium Press) A life-size statue of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘Cristo di Leopoli’, dating back to the Middle Ages, has been removed from the Armenian Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine, packed up and taken to an air-raid shelter for its protection.

The act was recorded by Portuguese photographer André Luis Alves and posted on social networks by Tim Le Berre, a specialist in conservation of property during armed conflict for the French army.

The decision, taken by the local authorities to protect the architectural and artistic heritage of the city in case of attack by Russian forces, has become a historical fact, because the last time this image of the Crucified Christ was removed from the Ukrainian Cathedral was during World War II.

Christ of Lviv

The statue of the Cristo di Lvivis one of the symbols of the Armenian Church and of the entire city of Lviv, and is still one of the treasures preserved inside the cathedral, founded in the 14th century. “All historical objects must be protected, as well as people. And now Christ is in a safe place,” celebrated Father Jakub of the Armenian Cathedral.

According to Lilia Onyschenko, director of Lviv’s historical heritage protection department, the statue was packed with fireproof sheets, glass wool, a special aluminum and then placed in bags. In this way, should the image receive a strong shockwave, it will not break into a thousand pieces.

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Armenian Cathedral of Lviv

Built in 1363, the Armenian Cathedral of Lviv has a history that spans fires, wars, and other tense situations. It has remained vacant since 1938, having served Armenian Catholics from the 17th century until the end of World War II.

In the mid 1940s, the parish priest Dionizy Kajetanowicz and some religious were arrested and deported to Siberia where they were eventually killed for refusing to renounce their Faith. The cathedral was closed for many years and used as a warehouse, and reopened on May 18, 2003. Inside are preserved frescoes and other unique works of art. (EPC)

Compiled by Camille Mittermeier

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