Sunday, July 3, 2022

Lviv in Context (2): God's Good Creation

Introduction

We witness to Jesus in a certain context. Many ways exist by which we might describe it. One way is by identifying the country in which we live and by establishing the relationship between where we live and important cities nearby. We did this yesterday for Lviv, our representative city, in “Lviv in Context (1): Geography.”

Another meaningful way of defining context is in terms of God’s good creation: the land, water, and air (habitats) and all the animals and plants (species) that fill them. We witness most clearly to God as creator when we live in ways which respect the integrity of the habitats and species he purposefully created to serve as the context of our tufluvian relationship with him.

A short digression: Church leaders speak of Christians as called by God to be stewards of his creation. A steward is one who manages the property of another. Stewardship, though, might wrongly be understood as using God’s good creation primarily to make money. We might reduce specially created habitats and species to mere natural resources. Perhaps we better understand ourselves as guardians: people called by Jesus to develop ways of living which actually nurture and protect the vitality of all the habitats and species that were created through him.

Land

According to the Bible, God created Earth, and separated the land from the seas, on the third day of creation (Genesis 1:9-10) just over 6000 years ago. Lviv was founded over 4700 years later in 1256. Since then, humans have been called by God to live there with one another in such a way that respected the integrity of the habitats and species around them.

Topography Across Europe, there is an almost unbroken plain that begins along the Atlantic coast in southern France, sweeps north and then east along the English Channel and North and Baltic seas, and only bumps into some hills east of Minsk. The flatness of this terrain did nothing, over the centuries, to discourage aggressive rulers from sending armies against perceived enemies to their east or west. 

The elevation and hills of the plain increase as one proceeds inland until finally one reaches either the Alps or, farther east, the Carpathians. Lviv lies in the Roztocze Uplands: a range of foothills lying about 60 miles (100 km) northeast of the Carpathian Mountains. The city’s altitude is about 985 feet (300 m). High Castle, that strangely solitary hill at the foot of which Lviv was first built, reaches an altitude of 1345 feet (410 m) and towers 360 feet (110 m) the adjoining city.
Soil
Bedrock

Terrestrial plants
Trees: Lviv was built in what once was a temperate forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous trees.
Shrubs
Groundcover

Terrestrial animals
Mammals The original forest in which Lviv was built was thickly populated by brown bears, wolves, foxes, elk, deer, squirrels, and other animals.
Reptiles: snake, lizard, and turtle
Birds: pigeon, sparrow, titmouse, crow, jackdaw
Insects: fly, mosquito

Water

Salt water: oceans, seas, gulfs, bays, and coves
In terms of the seas created by God on the third day, Lviv lies deep inland. From Lviv, about the closest port on the Baltic Sea lies 385 miles (620 km) northwest at Gdansk (Poland); on the Black Sea, it’s about that same distance southeast to Odessa (Ukraine); and on the Adriatic Sea, it’s 555 miles (890 km) southwest to Trieste (Italy). To the Atlantic Ocean, it’s an even more inaccessible 1190 miles (1910 km) west to the port city of La Rochelle (France).
Saltwater plants
Saltwater animals
Marine mammals
Fish
Shellfish

Fresh water
Rivers and streams When founded in 1256, Lviv was built on the Poltva River. This river flows east and is a small tributary of the Bug (pronounced Book). The Bug River flows north and eventually reaches the Vistula River just northwest of Warsaw. The Vistula continues northwest until it empties into the Baltic Sea near Gdansk. That portion of the Poltva River flowing through downtown Lviv suffered the indignity of being encased in an underground system around 1900.
Lakes and ponds
Aquifers
Freshwater plants
Freshwater animals
Freshwater mammals
Amphibians: frogs and toads
Fish

Air

Climate
The K√∂ppen Climate Classification System divides the terrestrial climates of the world into five groups based on variations in temperature and precipitation through the seasons: A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). Continental climates (D) differ from temperate ones (C) by having colder winters. Lviv lies within Zone D. On the Eurasian continent, Zone D begins in eastern Germany, encompasses all but southeast Ukraine, and tapers in width as it stretches east passed the Ural Mountains in Russia. Lviv’s full climate classification is Dfb: humid continental, with warm summers and cold winters.

Temperature Lviv’s summers are warm: average high temperature in July is 77°F (25°C). Its winters are only moderately cold with an average low in January of 22°F (-6°C).

Humidity Lviv’s average relative humidity is 78%, with an average low of 69% in April and high of 85% in December.

Precipitation falls fairly evenly throughout the year with an annual average of 30 inches (769 cm). Every month sees some rain while snow falls primarily from December through March.

Summary

In 1256, humans chose to build Lviv in the context of a temperate forest of mixed broadleaf and evergreen trees with a humid climate, warm summers, cold winters, and even rainfall. They did not build their city on the broad coastal plain but inland in a range of rolling hills close to the Carpathian Mountains. Its location offered the particular advantages of adequate trade and defense provided by the Poltva River and a towering hill nearby.

Copyright © 2022 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.