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Featured Window

Window of the Month
Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Featured Windows, January 2002

St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church Window

Building: St. Josaphat Church

City: Warren

State: Michigan

This great East Window is filled with images that represent the history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Depicted in the center are the hands of God bestowing favor upon the Ukraine. To the left of the hands of God, St. Andrew the apostle is shown blessing the hills upon which the city of Kiev was founded. Further left is St. Michael, patron saint of the Ukraine. Also in the center is an image of the Virgin Mary, venerated for centuries by the Ukrainian people as their "Pokrova" or protectress. To the left of Mary is the Basilica of St. Sofia, as it once looked.

To the right of the Virgin Mary are great scholars and doctors of the Eastern Church: Saints Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, Nicholas, Ignatius, Athanasius, Cyril and Methodius. Below these saints is Nestor the historian, who recorded the early history of Ukraine and its church. Other images at the left represent many early Ukrainian church fathers, including St. Josaphat, whose martyrdom for the Union of the Ukrainian Church is symbolized by the ax and palm leaves.

Fiery flames depict Soviet persecution of the Ukrainian people and the destruction of their churches during the 20th century. The Phoenix, a mythological bird symbolizing rebirth, represents the new independence of Ukraine and its church. Migrating birds symbolize the spread of Ukrainians throughout the world. Also pictured are several contemporary Ukrainian spiritual leaders and cathedrals in Rome and the United States, as well as the parish of St. Josaphat in Warren. The red poppies are a tribute to those who gave their lives in the wars to gain freedom for the Ukraine.

The octagonal St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church, built in 1966, was designed by Edward Holowchak of Associated Architects. Its two great windows, 17 feet by 21 feet, were created by church member and artist, George Kozak of Clarkston, Michigan, with the help of his daughter, Maria Truckey. The East Window, "The History of the Ukrainian Church," was completed in 1998. The companion West Window, "The History of the Catholic Church," was made in 1997. Born in the Ukraine in 1933, Kozak fled his homeland with his parents and sister during the Russian occupation when his father, an editor and political cartoonist, was threatened with death. After several years as refugees in Poland and Germany, the family came to Michigan in 1949. Kozak, who studied at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, was a painter, photographer, mosaicist and sculptor, in addition to his work in stained glass. He worked for General Motors as an industrial sculptor before retiring.

The January window is featured in memory of George Kozak, who died on January 20, 2001. The photographs were taken by his good friend, J. William Gorski. The West Window created by the same artist can be seen by visiting the Window of the Month for June, 2000.

St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church of Warren was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Maria Truckey of Rochester Hills.

(MSGC 1999.0002)

Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, January , 2002.