Ascension Church
Ascension Church
Lukashivka, Chernihiv region Ascension Church

The stone church in Chernihiv region, which is a century-old architectural monument.

Lukashivka, Chernihiv region
Official status:
Architectural Monument of local significance
Religious building
Date of destruction:
March 2022

Before March 20, 2022. Photo: Wikipedia

Throughout Ukraine’s history, the fate of Ukrainian churches frequently took tragic turns. In the past, they were either destroyed by invaders, captured by various denominations, or closed because there was allegedly no God: in the Soviet Union, it was believed that religion was the opium of the people.
A similar destiny befell the Ascension Church in the village of Lukashivka in the Chernihiv region. The first wooden church was built on its site in 1781 and dismantled at the beginning of the 20th century. Instead, a stone temple was erected here in 1913. It was cruciform, with a two-tiered belfry, and designed in the style of eparchial architecture, which was popular in the Russian Empire of that time.
After seizing power in Ukraine, the Bolsheviks closed the church and used it as a warehouse until 1988. It was the fate of many temples that were unfortunate enough to fall under Soviet control.

After March 20, 2022. Photo: @ngumenyuk

No one could have imagined, however, that the Russian army in the 21st century would convert a century-old architectural landmark and the spiritual centre of a community into a military headquarters and ammunition depot. Unfortunately, this was exactly what happened to the Ascension Church in 2022 when the Russian troops came to 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. During fierce battles, the church was destroyed: its facades, domes with crosses, and interiors were 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 united around the local church for centuries. Here, they exchanged vows, baptised their children, prayed, and accompanied family and friends on their final journey. Until barbaric Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The site that once held memories has now turned into a memory itself.

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