One of the most beautiful churches in Lviv is the Church of Saints Olga and Elizabeth, better known as the church near the railway station. The highest city building (85 meters) was built in the early 20th century in the Gothic Revival style, following the tradition of churches from 13th – 14thcenturies.The Polish community of the city decided to build this magnificent temple in the way to hide another Greek Catholic Church of St. George, as this cathedral was the first most attractive and visible point for the coming tourists who just arrived to the city at railway station.
A shameful and tragic sacrilege story is closely related to the Church of Elisabeth. Godless Soviet government didn’t like the cross on the highest man-made point of the city, and party leaders decided to cut it down. There are several versions of who was this man who ventured on a sinful act. Some people said that it was the son of the first secretary of the Communist Party in Lviv, others affirmed it was the prisoner, who was promised, as a recompense, to be early released, while there was one more thought about an experienced climber with lifting equipment.
One night in 1962 a sinner climbed up the central tower of the temple, hoping to complete his work before dawn to avoid being seen by people. Reaching the highest spire, he began to cut cross. The work was not easy. By dawn it was barely managed to advance a half of work. Trams began to operate. A countless multitude of workers who arrives to the city from villages by diesel engines and trains started to appear. Many people were passing the church on their way to work at 'Electron' factory. By eight in the morning the square in front of the church was overcrowded by indignant people. A huge cross cracked and fell dawn together with a man.
The next step of godless Soviet government was to destroy the cross in autumn the same 1962. There were two projects concerning the church: to crush it totally and bring out of the city or to restore the church and make there a palace of culture or planetarium. But both ideas were extremely expensive. Fortunately, the city didn’t have so much money.
by Il'ko Lemko. 'The Legends of Old Lviv.'
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