The Holy Presentation Church is one of few folk architecture samples in Ukraine. Moreover, it’s the only wooden temple in the Kherson Region. Are you wondering how that happened the Cossacks’ church is located near the ruins of the Ottoman fortress and why the place attracts tourists? Just keep reading to learn about the history and explore how to get to the temple.
The history of the church
The Holy Presentation Church was built in 1725. It served as a chapel for the Cossacks of the Perevolochna fortress in the Poltava Governorate. The temple was originally called the Resurrection Church. In 1784, the Cossacks took it to pieces and rafted it more than 200 miles away by the Dnipro River to Beryslav. Historians just wonder, why they did it. In fact, it was cheaper and easier to build a new church from coquina the land was rich on.
There is a legend that the wooden temple was washed away by the spring flood. So, water brought the church to Beryslav. But there is a more plausible theory about how the church found its way to the lands. According to it, the Cossacks from Chernihiv and Poltava settled the area of the former Kazikermen fortress. It was common to relocate churches from one place to another for those times, as the Cossacks just tried to save money for new buildings. But probably, the Cossacks wanted to save the holy place, so they took it with them.
When the church was transported by the river, it was originally reassembled in the historic heart of Beryslav. The temple was also consecrated in honor of the Ressurection of Jesus (Easter Sunday). Then, during the height of the Crimean War, the church was relocated to the edge of the city, near the Presentation Cemetery. The church has stood here since 1853, and a stone temple was established in the historic heart of Beryslav instead of it. At Soviet times, the church was razed to the ground. It was also re-consecrated in honor of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It was a miracle that the shrine wasn’t disassembled during Soviet times. The temple was closed in 1939 and worshipers took the church plate to keep “for better times”. There was a depot in the building, but it slowly turned into a dump.
In 1941, public worships were renewed in the shrine. Since then, the church doors are always open for parishioners. The holy place was damaged during the war. At the moment, the church needs restoration, as the main dome was deformed. Nevertheless, the public worships and ceremonials are held here regularly.
The architectural style
The church was built from the wood of oak without any nails. The building is covered upright with boards, and the roof is iron. The shrine is the Naddnipryanshchyna (former lands of Ukraine over the Dnipro River) architectural style sample. Not so many wooden architectural patterns remain to the present day. Moreover, the church is half-century older than Beryslav! That’s a rarity for modern cities.
The church is a cross-domed architectural type, its composition is longitudinal-axial. The church is octagon-shaped, and its apsis is pentahedral-shaped. The narthexes are added to the northern, southern, and western sides of the building.
The shrine has a unique spherical dome, that is crowned with a small onion. It reminds the folklore elements of the Ottomans. The main entrance is decorated with a crossed window.
The interesting facts
- It is the only wooden church in the Kherson Region. That’s why the building is so unique.
- There is a legend that there was an inscription on the raft by which the church crossed the river. It would read: “Bery i slav” (translates as “Take and glorify”). That’s how Beryslav city got its name.
- Ancient relics, such as the Gospel, printed in 1695, unique icons of the 18th century, an altar cross, are stored here. It’s got a picture of the Crucifixion of Jesus and Saint Nicholas on the altar cross. The Zaporozhian Cossacks gave a carved iconostasis to the church, but unfortunately, the relic didn’t survive until our days.
- There were several attempts to disassemble the shrine in Soviet times, as the wood was a valuable raw material in the Kherson Region.
- After closing the church in 1939, the public worships were resumed here only two years later, during the German-Fascists occupation. The invaders tracked down Daniel, the priest of the temple, and made him serve. When Father Daniel was doing his community work in the White Sea-Baltic Canal, he reinjured his spine, so was freed. The priest wasn’t able to do the hard work, so he devoted his life to the church. Father Daniel served here until the 1960s.
- The Holy Presentation Church is an architectural landmark of the 18th century, so it is protected by Ukrainian Governance.
Where is located and how to get to the church
The Holy Presentation Church is located in Beryslav city, it’s 47 miles away from Kherson. You should follow the M14 route by car. When you’ll reach Molodizhne village, then follow the P47 route to Beryslav. Drive Matrosova and Videnska Streets just to the end.
The public transport to Beryslav departs from the Central bus station in Kherson.