Category Archives: Ukraine

Churches and modernity in Kyiv

Returning to Kyiv for the first time in over a year, it was painful to acknowledge at last that Ukraine has decided to cast its lot with the spiritual emptiness of the West instead of defending its own values.The use of English in advertising and branding is booming, new technologies being provided by foreign companies that have no sensitivity to the local culture.

Surely the damage was already done by the time of my first visit to Ukraine in early 2002. But the most distressing thing is that the young people now, after this Orange Revolution that was less a rejection of a shady Russian puppet and more an invitation to the EU and US to have their way with Ukraine, seem so openly enthusiastic about these adoptions in a way I never saw previously. I could go on for hours about how much I hate what is happening to Kyiv, as well as to all the rest of this part of the world. Instead of dwelling on such a miserable theme, however, I might as well give some more positive impressions of the city: its Orthodox churches.

They may be sparsely attended, but as long as they stand here with their lovely gold domes there is hope that modern Ukrainians will see that mere adoption of Western trends will not make them happy, and that they will instead re-embrace the certainty that stood strong here for a thousand years.

For some reason, the cathedral called St. Michael’s also gives considerable attention to St. Barbara. Outside of its gates, a mural showing all of the Great Martyrs is accompanied by one showing only St. Barbara. One of the doors to the cathedral itself has an icon of St. Barbara over it.I never visited the Church of the Holy Nativity on prior visits and now regret that. Its murals are among the most beautiful in Kyiv. Unfortunately, my only view of the Cathedral of St. Sophia on this trip was from outside the gates.