10 the most amazing churches in Belarus
10 the most amazing churches in Belarus
Belarus is a multi-confessional country: there are approximately 25 religious confessions. The most common is Christianity (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Eastern Catholicism and Protestantism). Also, Judaism and Islam are confessed. The freedom of religion is protected by the Constitution.
Every year the number of believers of various faiths and the number of churches grows in Belarus. In addition to new and modern cloisters, there are so many unique ancient churches and cloisters survived in our country. We are going to tell you about the most interesting and unique of them.
№ 1 Archcathedral Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It was built under the Polish rule in 1710 as a church for the Jesuit house. In 1793, after the Russian conquest of Belarusian part of the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth, the Jesuit order was banned and the church got a local status. Soon, after creation of the Minsk diocese, the church became the local cathedral.
The Cathedral was heavily damaged in a fire in 1797, but was later fully renewed. In 1869, the Minsk diocese was liquidated and the church got a parafial status. In November 1917, the diocese was restored; Zygmunt Lazinski was appointed as a bishop.
In 1920, Lazinski was arrested by Soviet authorities, the cathedral was closed down in 1934.
During the Second World War, the Germans allowed the cathedral to function again, but after the war it was again closed down by the Soviets. In 1951, the cathedral's bell towers were intentionally destroyed by Soviet artillery and the building itself was given to the Spartak sports society.
In the beginning of the 1990s, religious services started again. In 1993, the building was given back to the Roman Catholics; by 1997 it was renewed.
In 2005, the church was given a new organ manufactured in Austria. Around the same time, the frescoes created in the 18th century were also restored.
№ 2 St Peter and Paul’s Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul is a nationally significant monument that was built by Count Nikolai Rumyantsev. It was after the death of his father that he decided to construct a temple so as to honour St. Peter and St. Paul. The church has been made in the classical style and has a height of 25 metres. Nikolay Rumyantsev died in Petersburg in 1826 and as bequeathed, his body was taken to Gomel and buried there. In 1872, the church was then established as a cathedral and on this day, visitors would be able to observe the absolutely magnificent interior decoration and the beautiful orthodox paintings. The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul operates even today and it is possible to get married here.
№ 3 Uspensky Cathedral
This cathedral has a beautiful interior which you can spend some time marveling at. In addition the walk there is enjoyable with nice views afforded from its elevated position. It is also known as the Assumption cathedral. Although destroyed and rebuilt, there have been spiritual/religious buildings on this site for over 600 years, so it is a special site.It was damaged or destroyed many times and even blown up in 1936, and there was then a factory on the site. But the church tradition has continued and this building was reconstructed in the 1980's. It is a vibrant living church now on a beautiful place where two rivers meet.
№ 4 The Holy Spirit Cathedral
It’s is the main Orthodox Church in Minsk, set in the center of the Upper town (old town). It dates back to 17c, and survived fires, WWII demolishing and Stalin's dictatorship. The renovated exterior is pretty simple, rather a whitewashed twin belfries facade with green roofs, yet nice. Don't judge with that but go inside - the interior is very nice, decorated with great frescoes and artwork.
№ 5 The Holy Assumption Church in Sarya
It’s is one of the most expressive neo - Gothic churches in Belarus built of red brick. It was built first as Catholic church, but later forwarded to Russian Orthodox community.
№ 6 Church of St. Michael
There is a legend that the church was built by Vytautas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, in honour of his marvellous escape from his cousin, Jogaila, when they were at war. In reality the church was built in 16th century. The foundation could have been done by Konstanty Ostrogski, who reconstructed similar church in Vilnius in 1511 – 1522.
After the Union of Brest, the church became subordinate to the Holy See. After Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned the parish stayed active, but after November Uprising the church was converted into the Eastern Orthodox.
In 1880-1881, the temple was significantly reconstructed. In 1926 it was rebuilt as a Catholic church by the government of the Second Polish Republic. In 1988-1990, it was turned into the Orthodox again.
№ 7 Kolozha Church
Kolozha Church in Grodno is a unique architectural monument of the XII century with its own history. The church was built in honor of princes Boris and Gleb. Its name derives from the Kolozhan district in Grodno. The word “kolozhan” means a place overflowing with spring wells.
The uniqueness of this church is not only in its honorable age, but also in appearance. The church seems to consist of two parts: stone and wooden. It happened because of the big fire of 1184, that destroyed one part of the church. During the reconstruction there were decided to make the destroyed wooden: it was cheaper and had less chances of repeated destruction. Since then Kolozha Church has been staying this way on the bank of the Neman.
№ 8 St. Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk
St. Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk is a vivid history of Belarus, one of the most ancient Belarusian temples. For the first time it was mentioned in the “The Tale of Igor's Campaign”. St. Sophia Cathedral was built in Byzantine style, but with the peculiarities of Polotsk architecture.
Today St. Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk is a cultural and educational center of Belarus. The temple is functioning: divine services, excursions, concerts and creative evenings are held here. The temple is a part of the National Polotsk Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve.
№ 9 Saint Peter and Paul’s Church
Saints Peter and Paul Church in the town of Iwye, Belarus is a Brick Gothic church, partly altered in Baroque fashion. It is currently an active Roman Catholic church belonging to the Diocese of Grodno. It is included in the list of protected historical and cultural heritage of Belarus.
Built in 1491–1495, in the 16th century the church became Protestant and then, in the 17th century, Catholic again. For a long time a Franciscan monastery existed near the church.
№ 10 Troitsky Catholic Church in Gerviaty
Troitsky Catholic Church in Gerviaty is a unique sight not only of this small city, but of the whole country. The temple is built in the Gothic style with a clear symmetry, majestic spiers and graceful windows – all this makes the architecture of the church unusual for our country. The temple is built in the form of a cross. Architects and builders had to work hard, but thanks to that the church in Gerviaty survived two wars and did not changed.
The services in the Church of the Holy Trinity are still being conducted. They are in three languages: Lithuanian, Belarusian and Polish. This happens so, because the church unites three Catholic parishes at once.