Ukrainian Jerusalem: Hidden Wonders of the Ternopil Region

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Priests sanctifying a church complex in Ukraine

In August 2018, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church sanctified the newly-built ‘Ukrainian Jerusalem’. The sanctification gathered hundreds of believers in the tiny Zarvanytsia village in Western Ukraine, as the Custos of the Holy Land Francesco Patton brought a stone from the Holy Sepulchre to put in the wall of the new sacred complex. However, it’s not the only reason this place has gained instant popularity.

The Ukrainian Jerusalem, which is a part of the Mariinskyi spiritual center in Zarvanytsia village, was sanctified on August 27. In mere days after the event, this location is already flooded with pilgrims that walked miles to see the new temple.

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The reason behind is that the new complex has actual life-sized copies of the main places of worship of Jerusalem. The architects managed to recreate Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified, the Holy Stairs on which he stepped on his way to trial, the Pool of Bethesda, which is claimed to heal the sick, the Lions' Gate and the Tower of David. Besides, an olive garden where Jesus Christ prayed before the arrest, is present in Zarvanytsia as well.

The central part of the sacred location is the copy of the Holy Sepulchre. The Ukrainian twin will now have an original piece from Jerusalem thanks to the Custos of the Holy Land Francesco Patton, who brought the stone over to Ukraine. You can see how it looked during construction:

…and on the day of sanctification:

Sure enough, Ukrainian Jerusalem isn’t the only religious landmark in Zarvanytsia. The local Cathedral of the Mother of God gathers thousands of pilgrims every year to purify their souls from any negativity. Another famous location for pilgrimage in the region is the Church of the Holy Trinity, constructed in 1747—1754. This temple is famous for storing the miraculous icon of the Holy Mother of God.

1 - The Church of the Holy Trinity, circa 1930s. 2 - Side altar, photo taken in 1900.
1 - The Church of the Holy Trinity, circa 1930s. 2 - Side altar, photo taken in 1900.
Modern view of the church
Modern view of the church
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Many pilgrims and hikers also visit Zarvanytskyi National Park, which grasps about 283 hectares. While the first wander through the untouched nature to be cleansed of sin before witnessing the icon of the Holy Mother of God, the latter simply enjoy the large green territory.

Zarvanytsia can be conveniently reached by car from Ternopil. The ride will take about an hour. Numerous buses in this direction go from Ternopil as well. Finally, suburban trains #6036, 6040, 6044 from Lviv and Ternopil also go to Zarvanytsia. The trip will last about 2 hours. The train and bus schedule may vary seasonally, so it’s always better to check beforehand.

Sources: news.ugcc.ua.
Photo sources: kolugcc.org.ua, wikipedia.com.
Video: Живе Телебачення, SOKILDNISTER / Youtube.

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