The Church of the Virgin Mary in the Village Bolshie Eismonty

Catholicism is the second largest denomination in Belarus being inferior to only Orthodoxy. Nowadays there are almost one and hath million Catholics in the country. Herewith, the Grodno region has suffered the greatest influence of Catholicism over hundreds of years, so it is not surprising that 60% of the total population of the region claim to be Catholics. Besides, catholic communities are found in the territory of the whole country.

In Belarus Catholicism began to develop actively and expand at the historical moment when Great Prince Jagailo in exchange for the Polish crown adopted Catholicism and began to popularize it in the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the XVIII-XIX centuries the Grodno region was influenced by Poland where the majority of the total of believers was Catholics. So today here you can see dozens of churches that have survived up to now; some of them impress with their beauty and rich history.

Ancient Catholic sanctuaries have survived not only in the administrative center of the Grodno region but also in its small towns and villages. While visiting an architectural monument of the XVII century – the Church of the Virgin Mary in the village Bolshie Eismonty that has another name – in honor of Jan Nepomuk, you can learn more about the cultural and historical heritage of the district. By the way, apart from this church there are another several Catholic and Orthodox religious structures.

The construction of the church was started in the 1850s that increases the value and uniqueness of the preserved building. At the time the main styles for constructing Catholic churches were Neo-Gothic and Classicism. Sometimes buildings were designed in the style of Baroque. The Church of the Virgin Mary in the village Bolshie Eismonty stands out from typical Catholic structures of the time. The building is rectangular in planning; it has a cube-shaped apse and sacristies that indicate the mixture of several styles – classical architectural movement with Gothic reminiscences. These features are seen in a four-column Dorian portico on the main facade and in arc-shaped niches alongside of the entry portal. The majestic triangular gable of the roof is filled with the beams of a unique composition “All-knowing Eye”.

Today the rather small church does not prevent countrymen from coming there again and again. The church can be attractive for those who are interested in history of the development of religious institutions in Belarus and also those who want to watch with their own eyes Catholic attractions that have survived up to now. It is they that keep echoes of the most significant historical events within their walls. Over several ages they could survive in the vicissitudes of the First and Second World Wars. Herewith, the Church of the Virgin Mary in the village Bolshie Eismonty is still the heart and soul of the Belarusian Catholics living in the territory of the Grodno region.