04 May 2023

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RELIGIOUS TOURISM - In the Lviv region, they plan to restore the church of St. Valentine

                        RELIGIOUS TOURISM - In the Lviv region, they plan to restore the church of St. Valentine

Residents of the village of Rakovets in the Lviv district are asking to restore the abandoned church of St. Valentine. This is reported by the Society.

The parish church of St. Valentine was built in 1822-1856 and was already the fourth after the previous wooden churches on this site. In 1946, after the church was closed and the Poles left the village for their historical homeland, most of the interior was destroyed and burned. Some surviving images, in particular, the images of St. Valentine (brush by Otto Edward Borzemski, circa 1930) and the image of St. Joseph (brush by Władysław Rossowski, circa 1909), were later transferred from the church to the Greek Catholic Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin, where they are also kept now Since the 1980s, the temple has been empty and in a state of disrepair. Due to the fact that the roof was damaged and leaking, the rafters rotted and the vault completely collapsed, and in 2013 the roof completely collapsed along with the signature and the cross.

The Greek-Catholic community managed to partially support the temple with its own resources. In 2016, on the eve of the celebration of the 160-year anniversary of the Church of St. Valentine, the parishioners of the Greek Catholic Church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos cleared the premises of the church from construction and other debris, so that it was possible to enter the church and pray, and also arranged the territory adjacent to the church. Due to the efforts of the Greek-Catholic community, on the occasion of the anniversary - the 160th anniversary of the consecration of the temple, the relics of St. Valentine, the patron and patron of the temple, arrived from the Italian city of Terni, where the saint is buried.

However, now only the walls remain of the shrine, although until recently the building was covered with ceramic tiles. However, above the sacristy, the ceiling decorated with golden stars and the statue of the Mother of God, which was moved to a nearby church, were preserved.

There is a small community of Roman Catholics in Rakovka that is trying to save the church by rebuilding it, however, they need help.

Local resident Nataliya Jureliuk said that the temple was valuable for Poles. She has been interested in its history for 15 years, since she moved here from Lviv.

"Roman Catholics don't have altars, only icons are placed. The room where the priests changed clothes is a very interesting nuance: the roofs remained, once there were no microphones and sound, and it was necessary to convey to the people in the temple. And in Roman Catholic churches, they built a rise to the tribune, the priest would go there and the sound would spread throughout the church," noted Nataliya Jureliuk.

"Some may say that it is not the time, but it is not so. The Church of St. Valentine will be destroyed, just think about the name. At least once a year, but a lot of people will definitely come there, and this is a matter of the development of local communities, the development of tourism, it is possible to organize routes, bring tourists from Poland," — Andriy Ryshtun, researcher of the development of tourism in the Lviv region.

According to the deputy head of the Solonkiv Territorial Community, Andriy Zhidachko, after the end of the war, they plan to apply for a grant to restore the destroyed monument.

"The cross-border program, which is financed by the European Union and is also the Ukrainian Cultural Fund, they are also interested in it, we will submit applications there," says Andriy Zhidachak, deputy head of the Solonkiv Territorial Community.