Migrant Church: Icons and Wall Paintings of the Wooden Church of St Nicholas in Hradec Králove


  • Roksolana Kosiv




Church Art, wall painting, icon, iconostasis, Hradec Králove, Habura, Rybotycze


The church of St Nicholas, which is now located on the territory of
Jiráskovy sady Park in Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, was originally
built in the village of Habura (Slovakia). During the 2017 restoration,
the iconostasis was dismantled, which made it possible to study the
wall painting, preserved in fragments. The article examines the icons
on the church walls, in the sanctuary and in the iconostasis, and the
wall painting in the context of the activity of their authors. Most of
the icons are attributed to the centre of church art in the town of
Rybotychi (today the village of Rybotycze in Fredropol district of
the Subcarpathian Voivodeship of Poland). In addition to the manner
of painting and of the frame carving of the icons, the history of the
church’s relocation shows that it was originally built in the epicentre
of the activity of these masters on the border of the Peremyshl (today
the town of Przemyśl, Subcarpathian Voivodeship of Poland) and
Mukachevo (today a town in Ukraine) dioceses of the Ukrainian (than
called Rus’ka) church. The chronology of the icon painting is related
to the transfers and rededications of the church. The connection
of the wall painting with the painting style of the master Yakiv
of Rybotychi, who, as we assume, was the leading master of this
centre in the 1670s and 1680s, is substantiated. Associated with his
authorship are icons originating from the churches of Habura’s
neighbouring villages. This confirms our hypothesis that the wall
painting was created in the 1670s. Church icons belong to masters
whose other works have been identified in museum collections and
in churches in Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine.


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Author Biography

Roksolana Kosiv

Roksolana Kosiv is a head of Sacral Art Department at Lviv National
Academy of Arts (Ukraine) and Senior Researcher at the Department
of Old Art of the Andrei Sheptytskyi National Museum in Lviv. Her
main research interest is Ukrainian church art of the 17th and 18th
centuries. She focuses her attention on icon painting in areas which
are now adjacent territories to Ukraine, i.e., Poland and Slovakia, and
is studying how local masters worked and reflected intercultural
and interreligious influences. Her doctoral (habilitation) dissertation
(2019) was dedicated to the church art centre in Rybotychi between
the 1670s and 1760s and her PhD dissertation (2002) studied Ukrainian
banners of the 17th–18th centuries. Dr Kosiv is also responsible for the
collection of old fabrics and icons on canvas at the Andrei Sheptytskyi
National Museum in Lviv.