Catholic Church of the Mother of God of Angels in Grodno

Grodno region is the only one of all regions of Belarus that has been largely affected by the Catholic Church over centuries. A great number of Catholic structures have survived on that very land that for a long time were in possession of Poland. However, there are also ancient Orthodox temples. So today we can easily say that Belarusians that lived in the territory of Grodno region stood out for their religious tolerance in relation to representatives of other religions.

One of the most beautiful and popular churches is the Church of the Mother of God of the Angels in Grodno. Along with the church, the Franciscan monastery was established there in 1535. The founders of this complex of Catholic institutions were devout believers, pious husband and wife: the Vilno commandant and war leader of Vitebsk Evstahy Kurcha and his wife Suzanna, a representative of the ancient noble Tyshkevich family.

Thus, the first wooden monastery and church were constructed on the picturesque bank of the Neman in the first half of the XVII century. Unfortunately, wooden structures were often destroyed by fire; the monastery and church were no exception. Less than twenty years after the construction, the complex was burnt during the Russian-Polish War. The war leader fr om Vilno Mikhail Pats together with the Grodno stolnik Gedeon Hlyadovitsky decided to conduct reconstruction of new buildings. They and parishioners funded a new church and a monastery.

Peace and calm lasted there only one century. In 1759, a new fire outbreak occurred, and it damaged severely the both buildings. The Mstislavl chatelaine Konstantsiya Lozovaya did not remain indifferent to that event, and she donated money for constructing new buildings. Over one century, the church served as a refuge for Catholic believers and representatives of the Order of Franciscans lived in the monastery. When the Russian authorities took the possession of Belarus it was decided to close the church, and the building was used as a prison up to 1919. It is difficult to imagine that the place where townsmen had come to seek advice and humility, wh ere parishioners had found solace and calm, got filled with human sufferings and unbelief.

Fortunately, the monastery did not suffer such a sorrowful fate and it remained functioning for a long time. In the late XX century, the representatives of the Order came back to the town and actively helped to restore the former church. The main sanctity of the church – the miraculous icon of the Mother of God of Angels was returned. Every year pilgrims from all regions of Belarus come here to bow to it.

After numerous reconstructions and restoration works, the modern church looks like a three-nave basilica that forms an inner closed court. A separate entrance leads into the three-tier belfry. The inner decoration of the church is filled with elegance and artistic expressiveness. The main two-tier altar is decorated with carved wooden statues showing saints and some scenes from the Book.

Undoubtedly, today the exterior and interior of the church and its richest history make the Catholic Church one of the main historical and cultural property of the country.