St. Joseph Church in Volozhyn

St. Joseph Church in Volozhyn


Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

Volozhyn city, a place rich in historical attractions, is located in the north-west of Minsk region.  One of the main survived to this day monuments, famous along the whole Belarus, is considered to be the Church of St. Joseph. This place is in the list of the most amazing and unique attractions of not only the city but the entire region as a whole.

The construction was built at the beginning of the 19th century on the order of Joseph and Michael Tyszkiewicz, the representatives of an ancient, noble family of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It should be mentioned that the temple doesn’t look like a typical religious institution, but more resembles an ancient Greek temple. Though the Catholic shrine overcome challenges, the temple impresses with its grandeur and monumentality today.

On the 10thof March, 1803, Joseph Tyszkiewicz got Volozhyn city fr om the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire Adam Czartoryski. Three years later, Joseph laid the foundation of the temple, wh ere up to that time a wooden catholic church and the Bernardine Monastery were located, that were damaged after a fire in the 17th century. Unfortunately, by the end of the constructive activities, in 1815 Joseph Tyszkiewicz died. After that, his son Michael had to finish the final constructing. One year later, in March the church was consecrated in ceremonial atmosphere.

The residents of the city had never seen such constructions in late Classicism style before that time. The building was made of stone; it comprised the classical architectural forms and rich decoration. The temple has a rectangular shape and is covered with a gable roof. The main facade is decorated with a six-column portico of Doric order with the presence of the triangular front. Small sculptures of the evangelists are located in four niches of the portico.

The plan of the building allows its rooms to be filled with light; rooms become visually larger and more spacious. There are five altars in the temple, the main one of which is consecrated in the name of St. Joseph. There is also a kist o'whistles, so during Sunday services and religious holidays the parishioners can enjoy organ music.

Not far from the church there is a belfry gate, which was built a little later than the temple. This massive building is crowned with front, and its arches are equipped with three bronze bells. In 1829, Michael Tyszkiewicz ordered to build Volozhinsky cemetery, which was part of the church.

Near the temple, there is family tomb of Tyszkiewicz. Here the founder of the church Joseph was buried. In 1866, by the order of the throne, the church was closed and converted into an Orthodox church. So, until 1919 it existed as the Holy Righteous Joseph Church, and then again the temple was returned to the Catholics.

Military and combat operations during World War II could not but affect the safety of the building. In 1960, the church had to be closed and for 30 years it was used as warehouse and workshop of building reinforced concrete. Believers were returned their shrine in 1991. Thanks to the numerous restoration activities, it was able to save church’s original appearance and restore the interior of the building.

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