Presented at the exhibition, the Kleinod of Hetman Ivan Mazepa is a rectangular reliquary with cut-off corners, measuring 5.4 × 4.3 × 1.7 cm. It is made of pure gold and magnificently enameled. On one side is the Savior on the cross and the inscription “I. N. R. I.” (Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdæorvm (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews)), on the other – the instruments of the Passion of Christ are depicted, and below – the coat of arms of Hetman Ivan Mazepa, decorated on top with his initials “I. M.”, under the coat of arms – the letter “H.” (Ivan Mazepa the Hetman). According to the conclusion of the expert commission of February 11, 2005 (Yu. Savchuk, O. Starchenko, O. Volkovynskyi), the reliquary was crafted at the beginning of the 18th century in Central and Eastern Europe from gold in the technique of casting with engraving and application of notched enamel. Today it is preserved in the State Enterprise “Mystetskyi Arsenal” National Cultural and Art and Museum Complex.
The artefact was found by the Minister of Culture of the Ukrainian National Republic and the Ambassador of the Ukrainian National Republic to Poland Roman Smal-Stotskyi and bought jointly with other Ukrainians. According to R. Smal-Stotskyi’s assumption, the reliquary may have belonged to Hetman Mazepa, who gifted it to Orlyk before his death, and the Orlyks family “sold this Kleinod in Krakiw being in great financial difficulty, where it was bought by one of the collectors from Ukraine.” Over time, the monument was kept in the collection of the Podil didych (heir) J. Uniahovskyi, who died during the Revolution, and his children, saving part of the collection, sold it in Warsaw, where one of the “English friends” pointed to R. Smal-Stotskyi on this relic.
By the Universal of the Ukrainian National Republic of October 14, 1937, the Kleinod of Hetman Mazepa was proclaimed a visible symbol of every head of the Ukrainian state, which was to symbolize the continuity of Ukrainian statehood from the Hetmanate (Zaporizhian Sich) to the Ukrainian National Republic. “By this resolution, the Government reminds that the proclamation of the Ukrainian National Republic by the historic Universal of the Central Rada (Council) on January 22, 1918 was the restoration of the Rus-Ukraine state, which a thousand years ago, during the time of the Grand Princes of Kyiv, was the greatest power in Eastern Europe, later restored in the world-famous knightly Cossack state. … It reminds that the war of the Ukrainian National Republic with the Red and White Moscowshchyna is a continuation of the war for the liberation of the Motherland, which was declared to the Moscowshchyna by our ancestors and whose symbol was the name of Hetman Mazepa.” Therefore, “the Kleinod of Mazepa on the chest of the Chief Otaman should always remind Ukrainians of the will of Mazepa and Petliura, should link the third Ukrainian Statehood with the Prince’s and the Cossack’s, should call modern Ukrainian emigration to fulfill national duty and should unite all living people’s forces under the state Ukrainian leadership.”
According to the “Tryzub” (Trident) newspaper, at the same time the idea of making a precious chain for Kleinod arose among Ukrainian citizens. The names and sums of the donators, as well as congratulatory letters to the Government of the Ukrainian National Republic were printed in “Tryzub”. Congratulations and donations came both from individual Ukrainians and from various Ukrainian organizations, such as the Ukrainian Parliamentary Representation in the Polish Sejm and Senate, the Society of Former Soldiers of the Ukrainian National Republic Army in France, the Union of Ukrainian Women Emigrants in Poland etc. These congratulatory letters not only testified to the Ukrainians’ understanding of the Kleinod as a political symbol of independent Ukraine and the need for voluntary donations to make a shoulder chain for it at a very difficult time, but also testified to the conciliar unity of Ukrainians in exile. Thus, the act of the Ukrainian National Republic acquired democratic legitimacy in the eyes of Ukrainian and world society.
The shoulder chain for the Kleinod was made in one of the goldsmith workshops of Switzerland according to the project of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic V. Prokopovych. The chain is made of oval rings, in which golden tridents on a silver background alternate with silver swords on a gold one. The base material for swords is steel, and for tridents – copper, “all from weapons obtained from Moscovites by our Cossacks in the liberation struggle.” These swords and tridents were, respectively, triply silvered and gilded. On the reverse side of the rings in the upper semicircle there is an inscription: “On October 14, 1937, this fortunately preserved to this day Kleinod of Hetman Ivan Mazepa was admitted to be the Universal of the Government of the Ukrainian National Republic on October 14, 1937 as a visible sign of dignity of the President of the Ukrainian State”, in the lower semicircle: “The chain for the Kleinod was created by the measures and means of Ukrainian community on the native land and in the scattering”. The middle ring connecting the chain and the Kleinod of Hetman Mazepa is dedicated to the memory of Symon Petliura and is made of pure gold. On the silver background of the ring, the monogram Σ.Π. (Symon Petliura) is inscribed in gold, and on its back the inscription is engraved: “This Kleinod / gift to the Government of the Ukrainian National Republic / Minister of Culture / Roman Smal / Stotskyi”.
During the World War II, the Kleinod was hidden in Prague by R. Smal-Stotskyi, who returned it to its “rightful owner” – President Andrii Livytskyi – after the war. Later the Kleinod was kept by Patriarch Mstyslav, and was used as a symbolic sign of power by the presidents of the Ukrainian People’s Republic during the opening sessions of the Ukrainian National Council. At the Extraordinary Session of the Council on March 14, 1992, a decision was made to transfer the powers of the State Center of the Ukrainian National Republic in exile to the Ukrainian state authorities in Kyiv. The transfer of the Kleinod took place on August 24, 1992 – the day of the first anniversary of the revival of the Ukrainian state in 1991. That was the last time the Kleinod decorated the chest of the last President of the Ukrainian National Republic in exile Mykola Plaviuk. At the ceremony in the Mariinskyi Palace, the insignia of state power of the Ukrainian National Republic were handed over to the President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk. The Kleinod of Ivan Mazepa was handed over by Plaviuk directly to the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Ukraine Mstyslav, and the Patriarch presented it to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ivan Pliushch. Pliushch handed the Kleinod to President Kravchuk, who accepted the award and wished the Verkhovna Rada to adopt a special resolution on the Kleinod’s status, “confirming our loyalty to the history of Ukraine, the loyalty of the path taken by great predecessors.”