The construction, rise, destruction, resurrection. All churches’ stories of the Kherson Region end the same. But the destiny of the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary differs from other fates of shrines. Moreover, its architectural style is atypical in such places. The reason is that the plan of the temple belongs to Alexander Bernardazzi, who was the Chief Architect of Odesa. People say the church has good energy. Moreover, legends say the Holy Mother herself protects this place. That’s why tourists and pilgrims from all over the country visit the sanctuary all year round. Just keep reading the article to learn more about the history of the church. We’ll tell you about the temple’s architectural features, interesting facts, and even show you the shrine from every angle!
The history of the church
The exact date of the church’s construction is unknown. Historians say it was built from 1910 to 1912. That’s only one thing we know for sure - the church was designed by architect Alexander Bernardazzi in 1905. You can find his works in Odesa, Bender, Kishinev, and Yevpatoria.
The construction of the church began only after the death of Bernardazzi. The church was built by donations from worshipers. Even despite the First World War and public unrest, works to place a church weren’t put on hold. Nevertheless, the October Revolution of 1917 made adjustments to the religious activity of the country. Back then, all church plates and spirituality were handed over to the local authorities. When Soviet times came, street religious demonstrations were illegal, priests were repressed, and churches were closed and taken to pieces….
However, the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary was relatively fortunate. Worships were held here until 1930. Then, in February 1930, it was decided to close the church in Kachkarivka village. Its bell, silver and gold vessels, cross, bell chamber, and other plates were transferred to the former National Bank. Its vestment, antependium, dossal were handed over to the local study group to arrange amateur performances. It was also planned to transform the church into a club. But the local citizens couldn’t put up with such sacrilege. Churchmen began the fight for their rights. They gathered signatures to take the church back to the worshipers. And they did it! The Church of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary reopened its doors. Despite worshipers couldn’t take back all holy vessels to the church, the fact the church was reopened meant a lot in those days.
The church was damaged during the Second World War. The fascists used the temple to store grains. They also ripped its roof and dome of the church off, and its floorboards were used to cross the Dnipro River. When the Germans retreated, they put a sniper on the shrine’s belltower. Soviet artillerymen picked the sniper off but destroyed the right-wing of the belltower. When the war came to an end, local citizens began to reconstruct the church.
In the late 1950s, the Eparchy of Odesa provided funds to overhaul the shrine. They delivered crosses, covered the building with plaster, painted the dome, windows, and doors. In the late 1980s, the church was fully renovated. However, there are no expensive icons here, and the decoration of the temple is just simple.
The architectural style
The church was built in the neo-Byzantine style. It’s based on the cross-in-square architectural form. The temple’s designers didn’t try to replicate the Byzantine architecture, they just matched the temple in the local landscapes.
The main feature of the church is that arches are used instead of massive columns. So, the temple’s dome has a form of a cross.
The shrine is built of half-column-sawn stone that was delivered from Odesa. The sheet iron covers the temple’s roof. Its dome is painted in green outside, and in azure-blue inside. You can see eight windows in the dome. Also, hexagonal window openings are on every external element of the building. They allow natural light to pass into the church. That’s why it’s bright in here, and the building doesn’t require proper light.
There are houses to lodge pilgrims in the area of the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary. Worshipers from all over the country visit this place. Also, baptism rooms and priest houses are here.
Interesting facts about the church
- The story about the foundation of the church is associated with Catherine the Great. It says that the Empress had to stay in Kachkarivka village for a rest during the Crimean Journey. So, the local citizens built a small church where Catherine II could pray. After some time, the stone Church of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary was built in the same place.
- Some people say the church has good energy and is protected by the Blessed Virgin herself. The shell hit the temple’s belltower during the Second World War. Witnesses described that the bomb blast cracked the top of the belltower. But then, the belltower got off the ground and fell into its place. You can even see cracking in the middle of the belltower.
- In the church, you can pray to the holy relics of Saints Seraphim of Sarov, Job and Amphilochius of Pochayiv. Priests here keep a copy of the Theotokos of Pochayiv icon and the impression of the Holy Mother’s footprint.
How to get to the church and where it’s located
The church is located in Kachkarivka village of the Beryslav District. You just should follow the M-14 route from Kherson through Beryslav and Novokairy. About 6 miles after Mylove village, turn right.
Public transport departs from the bus station in Kherson (Polkovnyka Kedrovskoho Street, 1). You should take a bus to Novovorontsovka village.