The Catholic Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in the village of New Sverzhen

In a small and cozy village of Belarus under the name of New Sverzhen is located the Catholic Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. It is situated 70 km fr om Minsk in Stolbtsy district. A majestic building looks quite simple and serious, however, despite this fact, it amazes with its monumentality and fascinates. Sts. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church is a State architectural monument and has a rich history.  

With a look back to the past

In 1575 Prince Radzivill Sirotka purchased the borough of New Sverzhen (Stolbtsy district) and up to the end of the 16th century there appeared two beautiful temples. One of them – Sts. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church – was built on the crossroads of major roads and the main facade was turned to the market square of the borough. Various arches and buttresses in the building are absent, that is compensated for pretty massive walls, which are a distinctive feature of this structure.

For a long time it has been believed that it was built as a Calvinist Cathedral, but copies of the initial documents of the Church prove that it was founded by Radziwill Sirotka in 1588. The Prince allocated funds and area for a Catholic Church, wh ere services must be carried out according to the Roman rite. This information is proved by the construction techniques and the architecture of the building. The temple has a typical for churches of that time Gothic-Renaissance composition and consists of a rectangular main volume with a hall-type structure of the interior, a semicircular apse and a massive multitiered quadruple tower-belfry on the main façade.

A squat belfry consists of three tiers, the area of which gradually decreases towards the top, and is covered with a sloping tent-cover. It is known that before the Church tower was much higher, but in 1818 was destroyed because of adverse weather conditions. Strong wind blew the roof off and partially destroyed its upper part. The tower was rebuilt during a relatively short period of time, but it was made much lower and more stable.  

The Catholic Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in New Sverzhen had operated right up to the mid-19th century and was closed by the local authority after the suppression of the Polish uprising in 1863. However, several decades later, it resumed its work on the petitions of the people. After the end of the World War II the work of the Church was ceased for almost 50 years. In 1990 Sts. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church was reconstructed and after the re-consecration resumed its work again.

The commemorative Shrine

Today the Catholic Church is one of the most ancient and original sacred places in Belarus. This temple is included in many tourist routes throughout the expanses of the Republic and its visit will not leave anyone indifferent. Even one look is enough to feel tranquillity and serenity. Due to its clean lines and the absence of unnecessary decorations the architecture of the Church of Peter and Paul in the New Sverzhen as if transfers into the past and allows you to feel the plastic expressiveness and slow tempo of this place.