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On a white background, which symbolizes purity and sincerity, blue and yellow colors bloom – the colors of peace, strength and wisdom, the colors of life, wealth, harvest and joy.

Olha Cheromushkina, a master of a Petrykivka painting, saw such one of the previously imperceptible churches in Donetsk region.


The Church of St Petro Mohyla and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine have been building in Mariupol for over 20 years at the expense of parishioners. From now on, already on the donations of people of different religions, this church of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will become not only an artistic monument, but also almost the only large building in the world, decorated with paintings in a “Petrykivka” style.

REFERENCE: The tradition of decorating houses, clothes and weapons with decorative patterns originated in Ukraine long before Christianity. People believed that complex ornaments hid a magical power that protected the owners from sinister forces and misfortune. Some things with patterns in a Petrykivka painting style have been preserved since the XVIII century; its origin is associated with the Cossacks and the settlement of Dnipropetrovsk region (in particular, Petrykivka village) by people from Poltava, Slobozhanshchyna and Podillia. Building bright huts, people painted them with luxurious floral patterns, decorated stoves, furniture, chests and utensils with colorful ornaments. Images of any flower or a bird, the color of the paint is not accidental – they are coded symbols that can be read like a book.

By the way, blue and cyan colors that predominate in Mariupol are not classic for Petrykivka. It is more characterized by warm colors – red and yellow. But every artist sees his own.

– We want to move away from the classics and make a combination of sky, sea and Ukrainian symbols, – Olha, a master of painting says. –What is more, cyan and blue are the colors of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the colors of peace and protectiveness, the colors of amulets. By the way, we use Ukrainian paints for painting the church. They are not frightened by the salty wind of the Sea of Azov, the scorching sun or the rain. It is checked!


The master suggested painting the church in an unusual style for our region in the spring of this year. In fact, Olha is a native of Dnipro, she mastered Petrykivka painting at the Petrykivka Art School, where she went to study immediately after school. She calls herself a strong woman, because she has enough strength for three sons, a family and a job. She is a professional painter, unites «Petrikivum» masters from all over Ukraine in social networks, Olha produces souvenirs, and holds master classes for children and adults. She came to Mariupol to paint the church from Lviv, where she now lives with her family.

– I have been drawing since childhood, but a lot of real work started here, in Pryazovia. In 2014, I took part in painting the tetrapods that now stand at checkpoints. The soldiers from «Azov» saw these works and invited me to paint the fence of the military unit in Urzuf. This is how my first record happened – the work on the painting of this fence is entered in the Book of Records of Ukraine as the longest painting in a “Petrykivka” style, its length reaches more than 150 meters, – Olha recalls.

The master came at the invitation of a local volunteer Kyryl DOLIMBAIEV (we recently wrote in “HROMADA Skhid” how he helps to feed people at the church of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine). The process of turning the church site into an interesting art object is executed under his control. “Have you ever wondered what will be left after you? Will your name be forgotten? Today, I can offer those who want to leave something behind, an option that will not only become a memory, but will also warm the soul and delight the eyes of you and other people right now”- fundraising began from this emotional appeal of Kyryl on Facebook, which continues up to date.

It took 3.000 $ to paint the church, and in a few days, concerned citizens and Ukrainians from abroad – now more than 150 people – raised the required amount. They bought paint, brushes and meticulous work began.

Among the philanthropists, there are also private enterprises that do not advertise themselves, but support not only with money. In particular, local construction organization performs some work, provides building materials and insurance equipment for work at height. According to Kyryl, this is a lot of money: the rent of such equipment costs 1.500-2.000 hryvnias a day, and the painting has been going on for three weeks, and only half of the volume has been completed.

“As it turned out, you can implement many projects without touching the municipal budget,” the volunteer says. – And implement not for huge amount of money, as they do in most cases, but for relatively small. In Mariupol there are half a million people, if at least 10% of the population will give 100 hryvnias, there will be a lot of money. We might have used the money not only for exterior!

Kyryl Dolimbaiev’s further plans are as follows: when the construction is completed, the church will be painted not only outdoors, but also indoor – like the St Volodymyr`s Cathedral in Kyiv. There are already masters for this. The square near the church will be decorated with a metal sculpture of Michael the Archangel, it will be made by a blacksmith from Chernivtsi Andrii Khort – he performs works for the city not for the first time, his sculptures already adorn one of the parks of Mariupol. There will be a new fence and a large staircase and a photo area for tourists.

Kyryl is confident that this object will become an ornament of the city and should be registered in the Guinness Book of World Records. There will be memorial plaques with names of all who donated at least 50 hryvnias for this miracle. The volunteer personally keeps records and records each benefactor.


This question may arise: why is he doing this? he is not even a parishioner of the church.

– For me, the first and main goal is to show that Ukrainian culture and authentic Ukrainian painting are very beautiful. After all, “Petrykivka” is a Cossack style, houses and churches have been painted with it since ancient times. In the east of Ukraine, unfortunately, people are practically unfamiliar with it, – Kyrylo says. – The second purpose – is to show unity of citizens in achievement of transformations for the better. What is happening here is being done without personal gain, without politics and business interests. It does not matter which parish you are a member. To make the city beautiful it does not matter if you are a Christian or a Muslim. Universal values ​​are important, equal for everyone.

For the time being, the church looks like a solid construction site, but all this mess is a temporary thing. In two weeks of work, brave Olha Cheromushkina overcame the fear of heights and now works like a real climber – the church building has three floors, climbed high. A painting of the bell tower is ahead, which the master will paint with a special technique. She says that she is not afraid to make mistakes when she works, because she has a firm hand and loves her job very much.

The time will come and festival bell-sounds will ring from the painted bell tower, on the walls of the church sun-filled Petrykivka mallows with peonies will bloom, naive and pure, as if from childhood. The time will come and the church will become a city wonder created by people themselves. Created not for themselves, but for the community. For all future communities.

Olena SVITLA/Gromada Skhid 12 (21) 2020