Beautiful Christian temples of Minsk

In Belarus there are two major branches of Christianity - Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. So, in the streets of the capital of the country, Minsk, one can find temples of these both Churches.
The main temple of the Orthodox Church is the Holy Spirit Cathedral. It dates from the 17th century. The layout of the building is a three-nave basilica. The main and the medium naves are higher than the side ones and have their own window configuration. The relics sacred for the Orthodoxy are placed in this cathedral. Among them is the icon of the Blessed Virgin of Minsk.

The story of the appearance of the Blessed Virgin in Minsk is worth mentioning. In one of the raids against Kiev the invaders of the Tartar horde intruded into the church and attempted to tear the ornaments off the icons, throwing the sacred images then into the river. Among the icons there was that of the Blessed Virgin. Still, it didn't sink but went against the current of the Dnepr river. And then, in August of 1500 the canvas with the image of the Blessed Virgin appeared in the water of the Svisloch river. The icon became the protectress and patroness of Minsk against misery and evils. It is believed to be painted by the apostle Luke.

The main temple of the catolics of Minsk is the Cathedral of Saint Virgin Maria.The cathedral was built in 1710 as a church of the Jesuit monastery. In 1793, after Russia's taking over Belarus, 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 1934 the cathedral was closed down.
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 sports society.

In 1993, the building was given back to the Roman Catholics. In 2005, the church was gifted a new organ manufactured in Austria. During 2000s, the frescoes created in 18th century were also restored.

Another famous and very attractive temple of Minsk is the Catholic Church of Saints Simeon and Helen (the Red Church). It was built in the beginning of the 20th century in memory of two early died children Simeon and Elena by the wish and financing of their parents. The names of the kids have been given to two small towers and the large one symbolises the everlasting grief of the parents. The city emblem is positioned on the pediment of the church.

In front of the Red Church the 4.5 m height bronze sculpture of Archangel Mikhail is positioned. The saint has ever been known as the protector of Belarus. The sculpture symbolises the heavenly victory over the forces of darkness. Archangel Mikhail with extended wings pierces with his spear the throat of the winged dragon.
In 1932 the church was closed down by the Soviet authorities, rebuilt into a cinema and was returned to the Catholic Church only in 1990. Since then it was renovated, and became an important centre of religious, cultural and social life.

The Peter and Paul Church is one of the oldest buildings of Minsk, it was built up at the beginning of the 17th century and became a part of the city fortifications. The strong and rough walls of the temple dominate high in the sky, its windows narrow and coupled, all the elements regular and laconic. The building represents a house-style tradition for the Belarusian architecture of the 17-18th centuries. The layout of the church is a rectangle with its inside diveded into three parts - the naves.

The icon of the Great Martirs of Vilna - Anthony, John, and Eustaphy together with the fractions of their relics inserted is the most esteemed icon of Saint Peter and Paul Church. After the reconstruction the ancient cornices, loopholes, door to the belfry tower and paintings have been discovered.

The Church of Saint Maria Magdalene is one of the most beautiful temples of Minsk. This small church was built in 1847 instead of a wooden one in the territory of the former cemetery. It is in the old orthodox style, with an octagonal bell tower above the entrance and a single dome above the crucifixion.
The Mariinsk Cathedral was built in the firs half of the 18th century. The temple layout is that of a six-pillar basilica of the rectangular shape. The elevated central nave is topped with a high double-ramp roof. The medium section of the facade is devided in two tiers and is crowned with a three-step pediment. In the centre of the pediment the is the statue of the Virgin.

Four bells are mounted in the towers. The first bell is the largest, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Budslov; the second one - to the Pope John Paul II, the third one - to the bishop Zigmunt Lozinsky and the last one, the smallest, - to Synod.

The Trinity Golden Hill Catholic Church of Saint Rokh is a architectural memorial of Neo-Gothic. It is a one-nave, one-tower temple with a 5-edge apse, has a rectangular layout, simmetric disign and a duel-slope roof. The small ornamental towers are placed at both sides of the pediment. The facade of the construction is furnished with lancet niches with inserted window sashes. Inside, on both sides of the organ, in the niches there are the sculptures of the Blessed Virgin of Fatima and of Saint Rokh.

The Church of Alexander Nevsky was erected in the territory of the Military Cemetery in honour of the victory in the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878 and is built according to traditions of the Russian churches: cross vaulting domes, three naves, four pillars, the bell-tower over the vestibule.

The columns at the entrance in the vestibule embed the brasses with the names of 118 Belarusian warriors of the 30th artillery brigade and the 119th regiment of Kolomno who perished as heroes at Plevno. The military relicss have been kept in the church: the mobile church and the regiment gonfalons. The high rank officers were buried behind the chancel-wall.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!! Very beautiful churches and so lovely decorated!!!! :)