We continue to travel in Kholodnyi Yar and explore interesting places. This time we will dwell on trivialities of the Dormition of Mother of God church in the heart of the village Medvedivka, Chigirinsky district, Cherkasy region.
For centuries churches have been the centres of culture, spirituality and education in Ukraine. Almost every village erected church buildings. Some of them have become real works of art and architecture. Dormition of Mother of God Church is a monument of architecture of the nineteenth century as local importance. The church was built in 1860-1864 and funded by Kiev civil governor Fundukley Ivan, who owned Medvedivka in the XIXth century. There were years when the church stopped its activity, but today it is an active Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.
Material taken from the Third Scientific Conference of local history
In 1836 Medvedivka became the property of the Governor Ivan Ivanovych Fundukley. The church was forced to stop its existence forever, but instead St. Michael’s Church, which already at that time was the emergency church, Fundukley laid a stone church in 1860.
In 1861, the church area of about 460 m2 and a height of 29 metres was built. In design of a church it stated that it is “the Church of Archangel Michael,” but at the end of construction and probably following the day of the consecration of the new sanctuary (28th of August) it was called Dormition Fast.
A newly built church became a spiritual center of the rural population. Worshiping was taken place regularly, there were religious holidays and rituals were conducted.
In January 1930, the third Ukrainian Orthodox Assembly took place, where it was decided to disband the UAOC. It is known that during this period a more active prosecution of clergymen took place, the NKVD instructions were designed on how to close monasteries, chapels and churches.
According to these documents in the area many churches were closed and destroyed. Local authorities decided to destroy the Dormition of Mother of God Church. The activists dismantled a brick fence, destroyed the equipment inside, children with teachers removed the crosses from domes and bell towers. The fate of the temple was determined at the rural assembly. A proposal was submitted not to destroy the church building but rather reconstruct it as a collective closet for storing grain. The priest’s house was used as a clubhouse .
For a long time the church didn’t correspond to its intended purpose and only in 1942 in Dormition church the service was resumed. Since that time the church has no longer been closed and the clergymen gradually, by donations of believers, were restoring the destroyed parts of the temple.
In 1973 the Dormition Church of Mother of God was registered as a monument of architecture of Regional Administration of Architecture. Most of the restoration work was completed in 90th – the time of formation of an independent Ukrainian state. In 1992 with sponsorship help and parishioners’ donations the bells in the bell tower were installed. In 1994, facade repairs were made. In 1998 painting of the side parts and the door was completed. The total repairing was finished in 2000, when the altar was made.
Not every village has such a beautiful, majestic and a spacious church. Happily it has survived in the maelstrom of historical events, it continues to operate and accept Medvedivka parishioners and the surrounding villages. Hopefully, the future of the Dormition Church of God Mother will not deteriorate in the context of future political and historical events, and this shrine will be kept for our descendants.