Since September 1939, Western Ukraine found itself within the frontiers of the Soviet Union. The local population of Polish descent was resettled and almost all Roman Catholic churches - closed. The buildings were deprived of their original outfitting, the majority subsequently lost, and were transformed into storehouses, sports halls, cinemas, factories or penal institutions. Their unsuitable use destroyed the churches' historical substance and adversely affected the structure of the walls. The exploited and devastated former churches were then abandoned, leaving them without any protection and reducing them to ruins. Many of the sacral monuments featuring remnants of once valuable outfitting (stucco, polychromes) can no longer be salvaged (churches in Uhnow, Warez, Maciejow, Miedzyrzec Korecki, Niewirkow). After Ukraine regained independence, sacral buildings could once again fulfil their original functions. The extremely small size of the Catholic community and the high costs of reconstruction are the prime reasons why only scarce buildings may be saved. Regardless of costly repairs conducted in the regained churches, problems stemming from their unsuitable use still emerge (for example, the fact that for years the church in Korzec was used for storing chemicals damaged the wall structure). Some of the churches, due to the lack of funds for their restoration, are now open only upon special occasions and then only partly (by way of example, the presbyteries in Olyka and Tartakow). Buildings that had been entrusted to the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate are in a much better situation - they have at their disposal suitable funds allowing them to carry our thorough restoration and salvaging the historical buildings. Adaptation for the purpose of the Eastern rite, however, involves changing the outer appearance of the given church the construction of domes, as in Czartorysk) and the outfitting (an iconostasis concealing the main altar, e. g. in Brahilow).
mgr, absolwentka Instytutu Historii Sztuki Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, pracowała w Galerii Zachęta, Muzeum Archidiecezji Warszawskiej oraz w Galerii Sztuki Średniowiecznej Muzeum Narodowego w Warszawie, a od 1991 r. jest pracownikiem naukowym Instytutu Historii Sztuki UW. Jej zainteresowania koncentrują się wokół zagadnień architektury średniowiecznej oraz kamieniarki wczesnorenesansowej w Polsce. Jest współautorką części katalogowej publikacji „Architektura gotycka w Polsce”, autorką artykułów w książkach i pismach naukowych („Studia nad architekturą Gdańska i Pomorza”, „Sztuka około roku 1500”, „Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, „Biuletyn Historii Sztuki”) oraz popularnonaukowych („Spotkania z Zabytkami”). Od 2005 r. organizuje w Instytucie Historii Sztuki UW objazdy naukowe na Ukrainę, których celem jest dokumentacja aktualnego stanu zachowania zabytków polskiej architektury sakralnej i rezydencjonalnej na Kresach Wschodnich.
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