St Yura Church – Historically Significant Wooden Structure
Lviv is a city that has become famous for being home to many different religious groups. This famous Ukrainian city has been home to Catholic and Greek Orthodox worshipers who have lived in harmony with Jews and members of other religious groups. This somewhat unique blend of religion and culture is clearly reflected in the city’s architecture, since each temple or church has employed a different architectural style. Some of the oldest churches in Ukraine can be found in the ‘Lion City’. One of these is St Yura Church.
You’ll find St Yura Church in Ukraine near the edge of the massive city of Lviv. This beautiful Baroque-style church is hard to miss. The church is located at 5 St Yura Square and takes the form of a 14th century Greek Catholic church. What makes the building especially impressive is that it is made largely of wood. This makes it one of only two wooden churches still standing in the city of Lviv. Unfortunately the old age and fragile nature of the building material used means that the church is almost always undergoing some sort of renovation. Many view the St Yura Church as a symbol of unity between the Greek Orthodox and Catholic church since it was here, in Western Ukraine, where the Greek-Catholic faith was founded. St Yura is the Ukrainian equivalent of St George; so many might prefer to call the church ‘St George’s Church’. A number of different icons of St. George and the Dragon have been removed from this church and are now on display in the Lviv National Museum. In them St George, the Christian, is depicted slaying the pagan dragon. Thus this icon is seen as representing the triumph of Christianity over paganism or of justice over falsehood.
To date, the most valuable relic belonging to the church is a 17th century icon of the Mother of God. The building itself is painted in gold, cream and white and is decorated with striking statues of different saints. These statues were created by the Lviv sculptor Johan Pinsel – a man often referred to as being Lviv’s Michelangelo due to his impressive sculpting abilities and techniques. St Yura’s Church is an impressively old building that is well-worth visiting. So make sure its part of your travel plans and spend a little time admiring the early ingenuity of the builders and religious figures who made this edifice possible.