The Church Of The Blessed Virgin Mary Nativity in Zaslavl

The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zaslavl is famous for its majestic performance. The Catholic Church rises above a market square located in the historical part of the town. The construction of the church was carried out in accordance with the tendencies of the Baroque.

The first stones were placed in 1774. Since that time the church was once rebuilt. Since the end of the last year the Church is included in the list of historical and cultural heritage of Belarus.

Historical review

The first church in Zaslavl district was appeared in 1627. It was a wooden building which eventually became dilapidated. More than a century and a half after the construction of the Catholic Church was began on its place. The main initiator of the construction of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Nativity was Anthony Pshezdetsky who was the owner of Zaslavsk County at that time. One version says that the finish of the church was made under the guidance of the Italian architect Giovanni Batista, who was invited by Anthony.

When Belarusian lands occurred in the possession of Russian authorities the church suffered the same fate as other catholic establishments, it was simply closed. Some years later the Russian rulers of Zaslavl lands re-consecrated the temple to the Orthodox Church and opened a parish.

At the request of the residents some of the icons in the Church were saved. For example, the icon of the virgin Mary that adorn the church was untouched.  The name of the temple was also invariable; it was named after the Virgin Mary Nativity as well.

The Orthodox Parish was located in the building of the temple up to 1941. During hostility the building was badly damaged by robbers, it required a complete reconstruction. Nobody wants to do it so that the temple stood empty for several decades.

The final return of the relics of the Catholic Church occurred in 1998. The first restoration work began in the same year and is still underway. The interior of the building was completely changed in 2007-2008. In 2014 the Church was consecrated by Metropolitan Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz and since then services are held constantly in the sacred building.

The architecture of the temple

The style of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Nativity is the late Baroque.  Inside the Church was decorated with the images of the Virgin Mary and the icons of Saints, on the walls there were art paintings. The altar was adorned with the image of the Virgin Mary as usual, and in the underground part there was located vault of the Pshezdetsky family who owned the town in 18-19th centuries.

The appearance of the Church consists of one nave; it has a round apse and two vestries. The temple walls are pretty thick, and in some places they reach 2 meters. That is why during the war the Church was only damaged, but not destroyed completely. The area adjacent to the temple is fenced, it has an approach and several paths lead to it.

At the time the decoration of the interior space was made by famous masters: the artist Anthony Smuglevich and sculptor Carol Jelski. It’s a pity but only a small part of their works is preserved till nowadays.