The Church of the Virgin Mary in the Village Porechie

The Catholic religion appeared in the territory of Belarus in far XI century. It happened due to the mass expansion of Christianity in the context of the Latin Church. However, at the time there were not many Catholic believers; this branch of Christianity began to develop in the early XIV century when Prince Jagailo in exchange for the Polish crown popularized Catholicism among people of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. And, of course, it had born results.

A short time later the major part of Polish noblemen joined the Catholic Church, and that is why Catholic churches began actively to be constructed. Many of them have survived up to us and reflect culture and life of the Belarusian people in the XVIII-XIX centuries.

It is worth noting that some time later the Grodno region suffered the greatest influence of the Catholic Church as it was part of Poland. As it is known, most believers in Poland are Catholic. A short time later, in the early XX century when the Grodno region came to possession of the BSSR, the Belarusian people could not come up with the national identity. Many of them considered themselves to be Polish-Catholics living in Belarus. However, today this opinion does not happen to be. Such vicissitudes of history could not but influenced the construction and preservation of cultural monuments, such as churches and temples.

So today you can see and even touch a bright evidence of the influence of the Catholic religion on people – the Church of the Virgin Mary in the village Porechie. At the difficult moment when the Grodno region was part of Poland the locals began to ask and solicit for construction of a Catholic chapel in the village. The authorities approved the request and ordered to create an architectural project. However, almost at once it was agreed to build a filial church instead of a small chapel. Thus, in 1906 the center of the village Porechie was decorated with the new church that became the only place of faith for Catholics. Several years later the local government permitted to expand the filial church, this mission was entrusted to the priest Rodishevsky.

The priest wanted to create a unique place in the Porechie church, different from hundreds of others. And, it is fair to say, he managed it. In the Church of the Virgin Mary there were fulfilled original ideas of an architect and design engineer: the catholicon with a five-sided apse was cut across with a transversal transept. The log-houses are covered with different in size tented roofs above which you can see five tented four-sided domes located on low uprights.

The whole church has features of several architectural styles. Here you can see bright attributes of Baroque – it is seen in the plastic effect of overlaps and many-sided annexes of the transept. The influence of Gothic is seen in arc-shaped windows and steeple-like towers. The inner decoration present New-Baroque: the altars are a clear confirmation of this. The whole structure resembles an eclectic building. Since the beginning of the construction of the church the main property of local residents has been kept there – the icon “Mother of Perpetual Help” and the icon “The Unburnt Bush”.