Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Borisov

In the very center of Borisov there is a majestic church. The architectural monument was built in the early 19th century. The Church was built in the style of the late classicism that you can identify by the external appearance of the building.  At the end of the last century it was included in the list of historical and cultural values of our country.

The history of the construction

In Borisov there was a wooden church up to the early 19th century but it burned down during one of the fires. The head of the town decided to remove remains of the building and to build a stone church. The first bricks of the church were laid in 1806. The construction was delayed for 17 years but after that the sacred building was rebuilt and changed several times.

In 1863 according to the decree of the Russian authorities the Church was closed. But its work was resumed by the end of the 19th century. For a long time the Chancel was adorned with a local shrine, an icon of the Virgin Mary with Jesus on her hands.

The altar was richly decorated: it was adorned with carving and gilded details. Inside the walls of the church, its dome and pillars were decorated with art paintings.  Somewhere there were terra-cotta panels with drawings on biblical themes. An original place was given to the choral where was located an organ. Underground rooms were burial vaults.

Shortly before the World War II the Church was closed. It didn’t work during the hostility and bravely survived the attack of the German invaders. In 1988 the Church of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was returned to the Catholic Church. Service in the temple was resumed in 1990.

The architecture of the Borisov Church

The construction of the temple was carried out in accordance with the canons of the late classicism. In the original version the Church was decorated on each side with two towers, but in the middle of the 19th century they were demolished. Today in the very center of the façade there is a five-tiered bell tower. It is massive enough; it has a tall faceted spire and forged openwork cross.

In the postwar years the tower had to be partially disassembled. It was reconstructed only in the 90-s of the last century. The Church is somewhat different fr om the classical concepts of Catholic buildings: it is made of white bricks; there are no gabled facades and Strelna windows. The façade of the building is decorated with paintings on biblical themes.

Interesting facts about the Church

The closing of the temple in 1937 was associated with a spy scandal. At that time a rector of the parish was Adolf Krzywicki who was accused of treachery and espionage. He was arrested and put into custody. All the churchmen including the cleaner went to NKVD for the rector. Church utensils disappeared with people, and on the place of the former parish there appeared a warehouse where were stored a lot ofthings.

There was located a cinema in the temple after the war in 1945. The bell tower and the cross were demolished; cosmetic repairs were made inside the Church:  art paintings were erased, frescos were plastered and drawings were taken off. After the war everyone wanted relaxation and fun, so that the Church turned into a place of entertainment.   

Wild life has stood in the temple for long 20 years but in 1965 this came to an end. A new cinema was built in Borisov and an unnecessary building of the Church was handed over to a medical school.  Here was located the sports hall, wh ere future nurses engaged in physical education.

They wanted to turn an empty building into a massive warehouse, arrange inside an exhibition hall and even open educational institutions in it. But in 1988 it was finally handed over to the rightful owner, the Catholic Church.