Stained Glass - History

One of the prominent features of St. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral is the large number of windows that can be seen within the Church. The Cathedral was constructed with the total number of 36 large windows. Of these, five are in the sanctuary, 28 within the Church proper or nave, and the largest of these windows — a rose window overlooking the choir loft.

At the time when the Cathedral was in the planning stages, it was foreseen then that, in time, all these windows would be covered with stained glass. These plans for the beauty of the Church interior had their initial realization when the Cathedral was consecrated in 1951. Two stained glass windows were installed by a New York firm for this sacred event in the history of Sts. Vladimir and Olga and is located in the sanctuary behind the altar. The other window is the large rose window which depicts the figure of Christ in the middle and is surrounded by many symbolic Christian signs. The other 34 windows were finished only in colored glass since at that time all the funds were used in the building of the Cathedral and to complicate matters, a competent artist could not be found who could design the stained glass in accordance with the desired specifications.

In 1963, the well-known Ukrainian artist, Mr. Sviatoslaw Hordynskyj, completed the interior painting of the Cathedral. Since the colored windows detracted from the beauty of these paintings, it was decided that in order to preserve and even enhance these works of art, stained-glass windows must be installed as soon as possible. This monumental work was accepted by Mr. Leo Molodoshanin who is an artist and sculptor from Winnipeg. In the winter of that year, he completed 2 stained windows in the sanctuary. One of these windows represents the princes of the Ukraine — Sts Borys and Hlib, who were martyrs of their faith. The other represents the founders of monasticism in the Ukraine — Sts. Anthony and Theodosius. Because of other commitments, Mr. Molodoshanin could not complete any further artistic work on these windows until 1972. In that year, the 14 stained glass windows were installed in the upper portion of the nave. The 14 lower windows in the nave are expected to be completed by Mr. Molodoshanin this year – 1977.

The costs for the designing, material, and the installation of these windows were paid for through the donations of the parishioners of this Cathedral Parish. Five if these windows have their special donors who paid for the entire costs of those windows.

These stained glass windows which have been completed in the upper portion of the nave are representative of the excellent artistry of Mr. Molodoshanin and vividly show the major events in the history of Christianity in the Ukraine. Each of these windows has a major theme where 12 bring out important moments in Ukrainian Christianity and 2 represent the most important Christian feast days — the Resurrection and Birth of Christ. The lower windows in the nave are ornamental in design featuring the emblems of various parts of the Ukraine and international cathedrals.

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