Shaping aesthetics of sacred architecture in works of Zenon Mazurkevych

The role of cultural Ukrainian heritage in the formation of national identity and the creation of a national state in Ukraine and in the multicultural civilization. The mission of Z. Mazurkevich as a Ukrainian architect of the Canadian diaspora.

Рубрика Культура и искусство
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Язык английский
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Shaping aesthetics of sacred architecture in works of Zenon Mazurkevych

Formulation of the problem. Shaping aesthetics of sacral architecture is an expression of the internal condition of the people who, through their representatives leave works of art for future generations. For art historians and historians of architecture an important task is to explore and fill the gap that provoked historical events to demonstrate valuable artifacts of Architecture to young generation.

Analysis of recent research and publications.

Religious architecture in Ukrainian Diaspora represented by prominent figures like T. Hevryk, P. Iwaniec, A. Ivanusiv, D. Krvavych, R. Zhuk, R. Halyshych, R. Pavlyshyn, V. Sichynsky, V Slobodyan, M. Sopolyha.

Ruslan Halyshych provides detailed analyzes of Ukrainian sacred architecture in the Diaspora. He offers a way for the revival of sacred architecture in Ukraine by borrowing many samples, expression of times and particular style [4, p. 310].

Ukrainian architect and historian Titus Hevryk writes about the role of spirituality and traditions in the creation of the temple. He stressed that the design of the church is one of the most difficult tasks for an architect. It is necessary to design not only the structure but also a work of art, which concentrates a collective expression of faith. Thus composition of Ukrainian churches must contain elements of Ukrainian traditions even in modern buildings; we must make a statement with traditions of Ukrainian sacred architecture in modern construction techniques and in modern international style [5].

The subject of sacred Ukrainian architecture became major in works of Radoslav Zhuk, an architect which theoretically established rhythmical feature of Ukrainian churches taking into consideration geometrical abstract as basis for modern temples.

Sviatoslav Hordynsky also contributed to analysis of religious architecture in Canada and the USA. His report “Sacred art of Ukrainian Diaspora” [6, p. 262], delivered at the International scientific conference in Lviv in May 1993 provides an overview of the development of religious architecture after World War II in Ukrainian Diaspora of America and Canada.

The “Propamiatna knyha. Settlement of Ukrainian People in Canada 1891-1941 years” composed by Ukrainian Catholic priests led by their bishop, Bishop Basil Vladimir Ladyka is a very valuable fact of Ukrainian sacred architecture in Canada. The book contains information on all Greek Catholic churches that were built in Canada during the 1891-1941 years, with their photos, photos of architects, planning and description of the style and use of building materials.

Since this period many churches were burned or destroyed for different reasons, the material in the book is very important for understanding the formation and development of Ukrainian sacral architecture of Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada.

Main material. The Church is a tradition, “and we, the architects are the guardians of this tradition. This, however, does not mean that we should blindly copy them or hinder their development. On the contrary, our sacred duty is to promote the development of our architectural tradition, so they would always remain updated and coordinated with the times” [3].

These words belong to the architect in Ukrainian Diaspora in the USA and can be put at the forefront of his artistic creativity. Zenon Mazurkevich - architect, social activist, husband Balukh-Mazurkevich; was born in 08.31.1939 in the town Rozhnyativ, Dolinsky district of Ivano-Frankivsk region of Galicia. He emigrated with his parents to Germany, then to Canada.

His words can be put at the forefront of his artistic creativity. Zenon Mazurkevich - architect, social activist, husband of Uliana Balukh-Mazurkevich; was born on 08.31.1939 in the town Rozhnyativ, Dolinsky district of Ivano-Frankivsk region of Galicia. He emigrated with his parents to Germany, then to Canada.

Zenon Mazurkiewicz studied architecture at the University of Toronto, where in 1966 he defended his bachelor's degree, and University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1968-1972), where he received a master's degree of architecture and urban planning. He worked in various architectural corporations as well as the chief architect of Ford Motor Land Development Company in Detroit. In 1974 the company created its own firm “ZenArchitects” in Philadelphia.

Mazurkevich designed industrial and commercial facilities, residential buildings, hotels, churches and sacred buildings, office building “Fairview Plaza” in Jen- kintown PA, the bank “Selfreliance” in Philadelphia, OSBM monastery in Glen Cove (Glen Cove) NY; Manor Collage in Jenkintown; St. Joseph Church in Chicago, Church of St. Michael in Baltimore, Basilian monastery in Glen Cove.

He is also an author of articles on the subject of arts such posted in magazines “Freedom”, “America” and other American publications, speaker on topic of specificity of Ukrainian religious architecture.

Zenon Mazurkiewicz designed the temple, which entered the top ten most original churches in the world today and illustrated on all sites as original and unique architectural work. Church of St. Joseph belongs to Ukrainian Greek Catholic community. It is located in Chicago, Illinois, and belongs to St. Nicholas Eparchy for Ukrainian Catholics.

The project of this particular church was elected by Bishop Gabbro from proposed 32 options that were presented by various architects in 1974, and approved by the parishioners.

Main construction materials are glass, concrete and steel. The building has a modern composition which is constructed of thirteen golden domes, symbolizing the twelve apostles and Jesus Christ.

In this project author implemented his idea of evolution of Ukrainian traditions in modern environment and the state of sacred architecture in Ukraine as a whole. When communicating with a professor Yarema Kelebay, Zenon Mazurkevich noted that the current design trend in Ukraine is a repetition of structural forms of the past. The trend is established in order to borrow and repeat forms that were characteristic for previous periods of architecture. Most of these churches lack imagination and inspiration. They come from nostalgia and memories, not from intuition and creativity. Most of this is ersatz architecture that does not fulfill the expectations and needs of our time [2].

Guided by these beliefs, Mazurkevich filled the project of the Church in Chicago with unexpected solution, with traditions through the light of modern tradition.

The construction of the church is made in accordance with the traditions of Ukrainian churches and churches of Eastern European countries. The symbolism is the key. Twelve towers representing the twelve apostles surround a large central dome, symbolizing Christ. The building is divided vertically into three levels that represent the Trinity. The plan of the first floor is present-

Fig. 3. The plan of the first floor of the Temple St. Joseph in Chicago [8; 11]

Fig. 4. Church of St. Michael the Archangel [12] (USA 1992). Architect Zenon Mazurkevich

Fig. 5. Project of the church presented at the competition in Kolomyia.

Architect Zenon Mazurkeviched in the form of a cross of Jerusalem, the second floor - Coptic cross, and the top floor - the cross of St. Vladimir. Thus, in planning and three-dimensional structure of the church one can read the history of the Christian church. Seventy-five percent of the building is made of glass, so the interior is filled with natural light.

Brilliant blue circular walls surrounding the ornate gold chandelier hanging from the ceiling represent Christ as the “light of the world” [10].

Church of Archangel Michael in Baltimore, USA is a continuation of architect's work in creative reinterpretation of traditions. Baroque domes, which are unique features of Ukrainian religious architecture, the author combines with modern plastic cylindrical drums. The base of the temple “chetveryk” of the main dome visually pulls the temple together, rounded completion of windows proportionally harmonized with similar completion of facade.

Another interesting project of Zenon Mazurkevich was presented in the competition in Kolomyja Ivano- Frankivsk region. The bold three-dimensional resolution of the temple and modern building materials had a chance to make an impressive statement in the architectural environment of the city, but “architectural council rejected this project because it did not fit into the architectural situation of the city” [1].

Despite modern architectural solution of the temple, one can clearly follow Ukrainian religious traditions: pyramid like structure, rhythm, symbolism (ellipse symbolizes the womb, sacred symbol of man's spiritual birth and his protection by it), although completion of the dome makes the project somewhat unusually urbanized.

The emotional outburst, the expression that comes out of the building, the architect explains as a way “to become a symbol of freedom of choice in the arts and democratic society. This structure speaks another language that captures the senses and the intellect, challenging complacent traditionalism. The building cathedral climbs to universality, but appeals to national and cultural kin” [7].

In the work Mazurkevich we can see artistic laboring and creative use of architectural traditions of Ukrainian church under the new time, new materials, new shaping. However, even experimenting with volume and shape, the architect never violates the established canonical laws of sacred construction, which may affect the conduct of the liturgy.


mazurkevych architect ukrainian

Sacred architecture in Ukrainian Diaspora is full of outstanding personalities who brought a rich range of creative ideas, which world enjoys immensely. Under the influence of a free society architects of Ukrainian Diaspora worked according to the state of mind, not ideology. Their architecture breathed dynamics that are characteristic of Christian Church, its eternity and universality.

However, such architects as Zenon Mazurkevich, Myroslav Nimtsiv, Radoslav Zhuk never forgot the traditions of Ukrainian church building. In the works of these great architects we can follow the evolution of Ukrainian traditions of church building, their rethinking and adjusting of traditions under the current conditions, which has become a reference point for young architects of Ukraine.


1. Babynskyi, A. (2012). Vasylyk Roman : My prahnuly, shchob vykhodiachy z tsoho khramu liudyna pochuvala sebe preo- brazhenoiu [Roman Vasylyk : We wanted to leaving this church one felt transfigured] : interv'yu. June 6. Available at : http:// [In Ukrainian].

2. Kelebay, Ya. Philadelphia architect designs church for Kolomyia. Available at : chive/1997/489717.shtml (23.12. 2016). [In English].

3. Mazurkevich presents his project. Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, November 30, 1997, No. 48, Vol. LXV Available at : .shtml (23.12. 2016). [In English].

4. Halyshych, R. (2002). Ukrainska tserkovna arkhitektura i monumentalno-dekoratyvne mystetstvo zarubizhzhia [Ukrainian church architecture and monumental-decorative art abroad]. Lviv : Spolom. [In Ukrainian].

5. Hevryk, T. (2013). Tserkovna arkhitektura ukraintsiv Piv- nichnoi Ameryky : arkhitektor Radoslav Zhuk [Ukrainian church architecture North America: architect Radoslav Zhuk]. Ukrainskyi osvitnii prostir. -- Ukrainian educational space. February 15. Available at : tserkovna-arhitektura-ukrajintsiv-pivnichnoji-ameryky- arhitektor-radoslav-zhuk/

6. Hordynskyi, S. (1993). Sakralne mystetstvo ukrainskoi dia- spory [Sacral Mistetstvo Ukrainian diaspora]. Proceeding of the International Scientific Conference Ukrainske sakralne mystetstvo: tradytsii, suchasnist, perspektyvy -- Ukrainian sacred art, tradition, modernity, prospects (Lviv, 4-5 travnia 1993). - (165 p.). Lviv. [In Ukrainian].

7. N.Y. (1997). V Kolomyi bude novyi kofedralni sobor [In Kolomna will be a new cathedral]. Svoboda. Ukrainskyishch- odennyk. -- Freedom. Ukrainian diary (July 8, Ch. 128, p. 4). Dzhersi syti i New York. [In English].

8. Saenko, Y (2016). Tserkov sv. Yosyfa obruchnyka v Chykaho [Church of St. Joseph the Betrothed in Chicago]. Arkhytek- turnye perevody -- Architectural translations. July 17. Available at : post_17.html. [In Russian].

9. Shpyz, E. (Ed.) (2016). Samye neobychnye khramy myra [The most unusual temples in the world].Myr Vpechatlenyi -- Experience the world : The Lucky Traveler Journal. May 16. Available at : xramy-mira/. [In Russian].

10. St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Catholic Church. (2010). BLUEPRINT: Chicago. April 20. Available at : https:// (23.12. 2016). [In English].

11. St. Joseph The Betrothed Ukrainian Catholic Church. (2015). Byzantine Church Architecture- What it all Means. Available at : [In English].

12. Tserkva sviatoho arkhanhela Mykhaila. [Church of St. Michael the Archangel]. Available at : tserkva-svyatogo-arhangela-myhayla-m-baltymor-ssha. [In Ukrainian ; In English].

13. Zhuk, R. (1991). Rytmichni osoblyvosti ukrainskoi tserkovnoi arkhitektury [Rhythmic features of Ukrainian church architecture]. Pamiatky Ukrainy -- Attractions Ukraine, 4, 38-45. [In Ukrainian].

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