February 14, 2023
«Arma Christi» Project – «Weapons of Christ»
On February 9-14, 2023, the «Arma Christi» project took place at The Lviv National Academy of Arts Department of Sacred Art. The project began with a prayer in the chapel of the Ukrainian Catholic University, which was led by Father-Rector Bohdan Prach.
The goal of the project was, and continues to be, a way to use the unique prism of Sacred Art in order to draw attention to the current, ongoing russian-Ukrainian war. The name is taken from the Latin metaphorical iconography «Arma Christi», which shows that the cruel instruments used in the Passion of Christ became the very weapons through which he overcame His persecution and crucifixion. By his Passion, death, and resurrection, Christ defeated death and evil; it gives certainty that evil in any form will be defeated.
After the opening with prayers and reflection, over the course of several days, icon painters — teachers, graduates and students of the LNAA Department of Sacred Art created icons according to their own composition and perspective.
The ideas and themes of the icons are unique and different, yet the works are united by a stark reality–a fragment of a russian projectile mounted in the composition. This shard is associated with the instruments of Christ’s Passion, coincident with the instruments of russian aggression and the effects of war that Ukraine and her citizens, who are made in the image of God, experience now – each day.
As one of the participants noted: «Here, the shard symbolizes evil and destruction — an instrument of human suffering, wounds and death, and also draws attention to the events that Ukraine is experiencing today».
Icon painters turn to various themes and images of Christian iconography. However, the image of the Passion of Christ in various thematic versions or the theme of Christ’s Passion, presented through associative signs, prevails. The color of the icons is mostly restrained, although red colors dominate, which in the iconography is a symbol of spilled blood and sacrifice.
On February 14, the LNAA Gallery hosted a presentation of works that featured eighteen icons created during the implementation of the «Arma Christi» – «Weapons of Christ» project. Distinguished faculty and guests spoke boldly about the importance of the project in terms of symbolic power of the incorporation of Christ’s Passion in Ukraine’s battle, the project’s significance, and future plans for Sacred Art as representation of the amalgam of spiritual and temporal warfare.
During the event, rector of the Academy Vasyl Kosiv, vice-rector for scientific and pedagogical work Taras Lesiv, as well as project participants, in particular Oleksiy Cherednichenko, president of the «Friends of LNAA» Charitable Foundation, icon painters and teachers of LNAA Roman Vasylyk and Kostyantyn Markovych, each told how important is the idea and practice of holding «En plein air» on the basis of the Sacred Art department work and the possibilities it opens up. Some of these include the process of creation and the special atmosphere in the classrooms and beyond, the influence of Sacred Art in relation to Ukraine, along with also the importance and prospects of similar initiatives at the Lviv National Academy of Arts.
In fact, the project is intended to be followed by an exhibition and sale at the Vatican Museums. The funds will be directed to the account of the «Friends of LNAA» charity fund for the reconstruction of the LNAA bomb shelter and for the needs of the Department of Sacred Art.
The «Arma Christi» – «Weapons of Christ» project from the LNAA Department of Sacred Art is a profound and powerful collaboration between not just artistic medium and display, but between the ultimate power of the Passion of Christ to overcome evil and death. See this, engage in it deeply, and support LNAA in ongoing and future Sacred Art initiatives. Your support makes such profound stories through art possible.