The DakhaBrakha musical quartet became the voice of the destroyed Ascension Church in the village of Lukashivka, Chernihiv region
The members of the DakhaBrakha, Ukrainian folk music quartet — Marko Halanevych, Nina Harenetska, Iryna Kovalenko, and Olena Tsybulska — narrated the story of the Ascension Church in the village of Lukashivka in the Chernihiv region, destroyed by the Russian invaders. The aim is to let the whole world know about the crimes of the Russian army.
The “Postcards from Ukraine” international campaign launched by the Ukrainian Institute tells about the unique historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine damaged or demolished during the full-scale war against our country.
Basic facts about the Ascension Church:
Throughout Ukraine’s history, the life of Ukrainian churches often took tragic turns. They were either destroyed by invaders, captured by various denominations, or closed due to the belief that God is nonexistent: the Soviet Union authority considered religion the opium of the people.
The Ascension Church, which is in the village of Lukashivka, Chernihiv region, endured a similar fate. The first wooden church was built on its site in 1781 and dismantled at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1913, it was replaced by a stone temple — a cruciform building with a two-tiered belfry, designed in the eparchial architectural style, which was popular in the Russian Empire of that time. After seizing power in Ukraine, the Bolsheviks terminated the function of the church and used it as a warehouse until 1988. Many temples faced a similar fate being unfortunate enough to fall under Soviet control.
No one could have imagined, however, that in the 21st century, the Russian army would dare to turn a century-old architectural landmark and the spiritual centre of a community into a military headquarters and ammunition depot. Regrettably, this was exactly what happened to the Ascension Church in 2022 when the Russian troops entered Lukashivka on the 21st day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Half a thousand Russian soldiers with dozens of equipment units stayed beside and inside the temple until the end of March. As a result of fierce battles, the church was destroyed with its facades, domes with crosses, and interiors mutilated. When the Armed Forces of Ukraine expelled the Russian forces from the Chernihiv region, rescuers found not only the remains of ammunition and garbage but also human bodies on the temple’s territory. Entire generations in Lukashivka have consolidated around the local church for years. This was the place where they exchanged vows, baptised their children, prayed, and accompanied family and friends on their final journey. The site’s activities flourished until Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The place, which once cherished memories, has now become a memory itself.
“Our band sings, in particular, about the people’s memory, which goes back ages and which Russia has been trying to erase for centuries,” Olena Tsybulska noted in the video.
One can destroy the walls, but can never destroy the memory.
“Postcards from Ukraine” is a project of the Ukrainian Institute aiming to inform about the destroyed cultural and historical sites of Ukraine. For the support of USAID, a single database was created containing information about 100 monuments and allowing one to see the scale of damage and read the history of each in Ukrainian and English.
The project team calls everyone to tell the world about the destruction of Ukrainian culture, disseminate the postcards on social networks and share them with friends abroad for the whole world to know the truth about how Russia is destroying the cultural heritage of Ukraine. Use the hashtag #PostcardsFromUkraine