Drohobyc, Ukraine

This article comes to us courtesy of Oleh Iwanusiw, author of "Church In Ruins", a masterpiece collection of photographs and text detailing the demise of Ukrainian Churches in what is now modern day Poland.

The following article and photographs are copyright © 1996 by Oleh Wolodymyr Iwanusiw Any use of this material should include the proper credit.

Saint George's Church - right side. The fourth dome, the one on the very left, is that of the bell tower, not the church.

It may be interesting for the readers to find out a few details about the church of St. George in Drohobyc, after which St. Elias is patterned.

The church was built sometime in the late XVI century in the village of Nadiyiv. (Nadiyiv is about 40 miles south-east of Drohobyc). In 1657 the church was purchased for a barrel of salt, taken apart, transported and erected in Drohobyc on the site of an earlier church which was destroyed by tartars in 1499. The bell tower was built in 1670. The church is officially labelled as a "three-room log constructed church with three levels".

The church was repaired and improved during the period of 1820-1830 and then again in 1974-5. The church has been labelled as an architectural monument for a long time and has been used as a museum during the Soviet period. Its architectural monument registration number is 377. I do not have the dimensions of the church available.

Of interest - the wide roof overhang of a Boyko church was called "suboty" in Ukrainian or "saturdays" if translated into English. This is where some of the parishioners from far away would spend the night, under the overhang, after coming to church late saturday evening. This assured their timely presence at the Sunday services early in the morning. It is very doubtful that the overhang at St. Elias will serve a similar purpose.

Saint George's - right front


For those who are not familiar with wooden architecture of Central Europe the Boyko style churches are characterized by a three-room structure. Each of the three rooms are square, are arranged in line, and each is topped by a dome. A further characteristics of this style is that the centre room, called the NAVE, is the largest and is topped by the largest and tallest dome. The SANCTUARY, which is located at the front of the church and the NARTHEX, which is located at the rear of the church, are typically of the same size and topped with similar domes. Most Boyko style churches feature a wide overhang, or porch, encircling the nave and the narthex at ground level. Also, many Boyko churches exhibit a porch, or a balcony, at the upper level that encircles only the narthex. St.George and St. Elias exhibit both of these features.

Saint George's Church - left front.

The main distinguishing and characteristic feature of the Drohobych church, and equally present in St. Elias is the addition of two additional domed wings, one on each side of the nave. This feature makes the church have a cross-like appearance if viewed from above. It is interesting to note that all wooden churches in Ukraine were built using log construction techniques, while at the same time all the bell towers associated with such churches were always built using the post and beam construction method.

Saint George's Church bell tower.

InfoUkes suggests that you visit the Saint Elias Church page for related information.

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Copyright © 1996 Oleh Iwanusiw

Original page design and layout by Greg Gressa

Copyright © 1997-1999 InfoUkes Inc.


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Originally Composed: Sunday June 22nd 1997.
Date last modified: Tuesday August 17th 1999.