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Why is a statue of St. Michael in Independence Square in Kyiv?

SAINT MICHAEL

Bill Perry | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - Luis Santamaría - published on 03/01/22

Devotion to St. Michael the Archangel has shaped the people of Kyiv for centuries, expressed in a prominent statue placed in Independence Square.

One of the most prominent statues in the Ukraine capital’s Independence Square is a powerful image of St. Michael the Archangel, watching over the city of Kyiv.

Patron of Kyiv

The bronze and gold statue was placed atop the Lach Gates in 2002, a decision that matches the devotion to St. Michael that the people of Kyiv have had over the centuries.

One of the most recognized buildings in Kyiv is the “Golden-Domed” Monastery of St. Michael, built in 1108 and dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. It is said that St. Michael, patron of soldiers, was chosen at the time to honor military victories during the 12th century.

During the early 20th century, the monastery and church was destroyed, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that work began to restore St. Michael’s Monastery and create the new Golden Domes that are visible today. The building’s “resurrection” was seen by some people as a miracle, as Oleksandr Kozlovskyi explains in an article for the Religious Information Service of Ukraine.

In the same way we, being miraculous temples, express our spiritual love through material things. For God did for us significantly more. And even this revival of St. Michael’s Monastery is a miracle of God, for when the church was destroyed, no one even believed that it would rise from the ruins. This witnesses that the Lord can even revive his shrine from ashes … [this monastery is]  a witnessing to the unconquered spiritual strength of the Ukrainian people.

Furthermore, St. Michael was featured prominently on the seals of Kievan grand princes and then on the coat of arms of the city of Kyiv since the 17th century. When the city voted on a new coat of arms in 1995, they restored the original design featuring St. Michael the Archangel.

More recently, the Ukrainian Orthodox leader recalled on September 19, 2020 the long devotion to St. Michael that the people of Kyiv have had over the years.

It is symbolic that our ancient shrines are dedicated in this area under the Archangel Michael: St. Sophia of Kyiv, St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and Vydubychi Monastery, which testify that we have a thousand-year history and that our Ukrainian state and our Ukrainian Church have such historical roots.

St. Michael remains a powerful protector, along with the Virgin Mary, over the people of Kyiv.

St. Michael the Archangel, protect Kyiv.

Tags:
AngelsUkraine
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