Ahead of 2012, Ukraine reclaims iconographic and football treasures

But, while many Jews might disagree, the stereotype of the Ukrainian as “natural anti-Semite” does not hold. Throughout the literature one finds gestures of accommodation and tolerance among Jews, Ukrainians and other ethnic groups. Writer Ivan Franko could in fin de siècle Galicia raise parallels between Ukrainian and Israelite searches for a homeland. His series of stories about Borislav peasants and oil workers served as a strikers’ textbook that Franko hoped might sow seeds for interethnic socialism in his homeland.

Measures to remember manifold plights that made Ukraine and neighboring Belarus ground zero for 20th-century suffering continue to gain momentum. “It must be remembered,” said architect Volodymyr Zhuravel on his monument that since Sept 09 commemorates the 33,771 victims at Babi Yar, the bloodiest killing field in a holocaust by bullets. Almost forgotten among human losses in World War II, 250,000 items disappeared from Ukrainian museums along with 50 million books.

Will football and Ukraine’s faith community grasp their potential to help shape post-Communist life and to fill in historical gaps?

The metaphor of iconography offers instruction. Restoration experts over the past hundred years noticed that icons dulled by time possess brilliant colors underneath. In a 1916 essay on Russian iconography, Eugene Trubetskoi writes: “The darkened faces of saints in our old churches were due to our indifference and neglect, and partly to lack of skill: we did not know how to take care of our treasures.”


Alon Raab provided translation from Hebrew.


  • Friedrich Christian Delius, The Sunday I Became World Champion, trans. Scott Williams, in Three Contemporary German Novellas, ed. A. Leslie Wilson, The German Library 88 (New York: Continuum, 2001).
  • Alison Fleig Frank, Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).
  • Israel Grauer, “Ha-koah’ be-nadvorna” (Ha-koach in Nadvorna), in Nadworna: Sefer edut ve-zikaron (translated as Nadworna, Stanislav District: Memorial and Records), ed. Israel Carmi (Tel Aviv: Hotsa’at ha-irgunim shel yotse Nadvurnah be-Yisra’el uve-Artsot ha-berit, 1975) (in Hebrew).
  • Leopold Held, A Tysmienica nadal plynie (The Tysmienica Still Flows), various translators (Poland: n.p., after 1978).
  • John Moroz Smith, “The Icon and the Tracts: A Restrained Renaissance of Religious Liberty in Ukraine,” Brigham Young University Law Review (2001): 815–55.
  • Roman Solchanyk, “Ukrainian-Jewish Relations: An Interview with Oleksandr Burakovs’kyi,” in Ukraine: From Chernobyl’ to Sovereignty. A Collection of Interviews, ed. Roman Solchanyk (New York: St. Martin’s, 1992), 160–69.
  • Eugene N. Trubetskoi, Icons: Theology in Color, trans. Gertrude Vakar (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1973).

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Bill Turianski:

    Thank you very much for this. I try my hardest to avoid bigotry of any kind, and I appreciate what you have written about my homeland.

  2. NormalMan:

    Lwów was build by Polish people. In Lwów to 1939 lived 150000 people and 110000 was Polish. It was Polish city to 1945 when Stalin gave city to ukrainians to jar Poles and Ukrainians.

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