The Protestant Kirk in Grodno

In 1793 there appeared a Kirk in Grodno – this is a Lutheran church. Ten years earlier Lutherans from Germany had come to the town at the invitation of the head of Grodno; they had to open royal manufactures there.

The townsmen rebuilt a three-storey building of the former tavern that was gifted to the community by King Stanislav into a Kirk for worshipping. The construction was completely finished by 1843. Near the church there appeared a new Lutheran cemetery, later – a belfry with a clock. The church hosted an evangelic school.

 The new for Belarus religion got rooted rather quickly; all the more, it was supported by the governor of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The pastor received an allowance from the king funded by the Treasury; and in 1882 the Kirk received two chemists’ as a donation.

In 1912 a new house of the pastor was attached to the building; there a Lutheran school functioned. The kirk was plastered with the money raised by the community.

The misfortunes in the Lutheran church began with the First World War when in the then tsar Russia all Germans were expelled from Belarus.

The soviet authorities established an archive in the building of the Kirk and the annexes were used as dwelling houses; the churchware was given to the party members, the organ – to the State Philharmonic Hall. In 1936 the Lutheran cemetery was destroyed forever, presently there are new buildings and a nursery school.

The temple was returned to the fold of the Lutherans and Protestants only in the mid of the 90s. Then the restoration works were started. The Grodno Kirk was fully restored and the Lutheran community was also “revived” in Grodno. A hereditary bellman – before him his grandfather had worked there – rules the bells informing of the beginning of a mass. In the middle of the large hall there are rows of benches. The forged font and the bell have survived since the ancient times.

During the following reconstruction it was planned to revivify to the maximum the church and restore lost elements. The most important of them was a steeple with a cross. There are two versions that tell us how it was destroyed. According to the first one the height of the Kirk with the steeple was more than that of the Holy Protection Cathedral so it was agreed to make lower its roof. The second one refers to the period of the Great Patriotic War. It is believed that an enemy snipe took his position on it, and he was taken away together with the steeple.

In 2013 the new restoration of the Lutheran church was started. During the works on strengthening the basement there were found tombstones with inscriptions in the German language. In the course of the restoration of the Kirk the old plaster was removed and the facade was painted grey. It is planned to restore all steeples.