IVAN RUTKOVICH

I cannot help thinking about the many young Russian soldiers who were were deceived into fighting in Ukraine. What great worry and sorrow their families and friends must feel. It is obvious that a multitude of Russians are opposed to Putin’s evil war. And now he has even engaged the military help of his sub-demon lackey in Belarus, the dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Let us all hope this nightmare for Ukraine soon comes to a peaceful end with Ukraine’s independence preserved. But let us not also forget that it is a nightmare too for many Russians who want nothing to do with Putin’s criminal madness.

In the Ukrainian National Museum in Lviv is what is considered to be the finest iconostasis in Ukraine.  It was painted 1697-99 and is the work of Ivan Rutkovych (Іван Руткович).  It is known as the Nova Skvariava iconostasis. Rutkovych worked mostly in Zhovkva, and is considered part of the Zhovkva School of iconographers.  His work combined traditional Byzantine notions with western European baroque influence, resulting in very pleasant images without the severity so often found in Byzantine and traditional Russian iconography.

zhovkvaiconostasIsivanrutkovych

This mixture of Eastern and Western added a certain gentleness and kindness to the faces in the iconostasis, as seen in this central Deisis image:

rutkovychzhovkaiconostasisdet1

It may also be seen in the faces of the Archangel Gabriel —

And even in the face of St. Michael, the weigher of souls in the afterlife. Michael is the patron saint of Kyiv, the capital city that is now under siege by the Russian forces.

Here is the modern statue of Michael atop the Lyadska Brama (Lyadsky Gate) in the “Maidan” — Independence Square — Kyiv.

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