At the thousand-year-old Cathedral of Saint Sophia here, standing on an easel in front of a towering Baroque golden altar, is a new, freshly painted icon that’s just a foot square.
It depicts a 17th-century Cossack military commander with a long gray beard. His eyebrows are arched. His halo is a plain red circle. He looks humble beneath the immense mosaics that have glinted since the 11th century — through Kyiv’s sacking by the Mongols, its absorption into Poland, its domination by the Soviet Union.
No gold. No gemstones. This icon has been painted on three planks of knotty wood: the planks, I learn, of an ammunition box recovered from the devastated Kyiv suburb of Bucha. Out of Bucha’s mass graves, in the wake of terrifying Russian atrocities against civilians, something new has come to Saint Sophia: an image of mourning and resolve, of horror and courage, of a culture that will not give up.
What Ukraine is proving, amid the slaughter, is that civil society can make a difference against a superior military force, writes our critic, who traveled to Kyiv, Lviv and several heavily damaged towns. He found that cultural power is real power. https://t.co/Zl0kyxGMX0
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) July 15, 2022