The St. Paraskeva Pyatnytsya Church

    Address:77 Bohdana Khmelnytskoho Street
  • The 17th century Orthodox Church of Saint Paraskeva Pyatnytsya is an architectural monument of ancient Lviv combining the styles of Ukrainian, Moldovan and Western European art.

    The St. Paraskeva Church is one of the oldest churches in Lviv; it was built as early as the princely era. The church obtained its current appearance in the middle of the 17th century, when it was rebuilt at the cost of Moldovan Ruler Basil Lupul, Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s ally and father-in-law. The benefactor’s name was commemorated in the plaque inserted into the church wall, which also featured the coat of arms of the Moldovan leaders: the sun, moon, and a crowned bull’s head.

    The church has retained its original appearance of church-fortress. With its lower part built of cut stone, it has the likeness of a strong bastion with a high watchtower. The church’s location far from the city walls determined its defensive nature: its walls are almost two metres wide and crenellations top the tower’s highest tier. Gothic and Baroque elements complement each other in the stylistic features of the church. The gable of the eastern façade of the church bears resemblance to the Gothic tops of the majority of ancient churches in Lviv, none of which has survived. The square niches on both sides are associated with Wallachian and Bukovynian churches, and Baroque elements are easily recognisable on the main façade of the church. The church used to be the richest amongst the churches in the suburbs of Lviv: a brotherhood hospital, cemetery, school, and priest’s residence were located here.

    The interior of the Paraskeva Church is well-preserved. It comprises an outstanding monument of old Ukrainian art – an iconostasis created by gifted craftsmen of Lviv at the beginning of the 17th century. Six rows of icons conjoined with tracery wood-carving are evidence of the astounding craftsmanship of the painters and carvers of the period. The iconostasis was made by several craftsmen with outstanding individual expression. It was probably the first time in the history of Ukrainian iconography that specific elements of landscape and architecture were used as background for icons of the Feast and Passion cycles. Out of 70 icons from the multi-row composition four were made in the 19th century, but they do not equal the earlier ones in terms of their artistic level.

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