The Church of St Varvara in Vitebsk

The Church of St Varvara in Vitebsk


Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

The church traces its history back to 1785 when the local Marshall Antony Kosov donated money for its construction. It was planned that it would be a small church at the Catholic cemetery. So it was for a long time. The church functioned being consecrated in honor of St Varvara. It is thought that St Varvara prevents from rapid death when it is impossible to perform the sacrament of Communion over a dying. At the church there was erected a tower, its contemporary, and a rectory. 

The Catholic laity was growing and gradually the small church refused to accommodate the congregation. And then it was agreed to reconstruct it expanding it.

The architecture of the church

The project of a new church was worked out by the engineer and architect V. Piotrovsky. The church was constructed in New-Roman combined with New-Gothic. It is made of three-nave basilica with two two-tier towns that prolong upwards the frontage.

The entry gates are made in the same style and of the same material. The church, the tower and the gates constitute a single harmonic ensemble.

But its harmony does not end here. The canons of architectural styles of the church supposes some tendency for moving upward; besides, the building itself is rather high that strengthens the effect of moving upward and of a flight. The brickwork that is ornately shaped creates an illusion of a delicate lace, adding to the whole composition some sense of highness and elegance. Someone can look at the church endlessly finding its new merits.

If the exterior of the church is a bright juicy spot in the whole landscape, the interior is light and laconic that, in general, leaves the feeling of monochrome graphic and purity; only icons – patterns of fine art- make a bright accent on the walls, dominating in the inner decoration.

A little more history

So, the church was reconstructed, and it had turned from a suburban church into a center of the laity. It was newly consecrated in honor of St Varvara and St Joseph.

The divine services were held there up to 1935 when in the days of militant atheism the state closed the church. The building was used as pesticide storage.

During the Great Patriotic War the Church of St Varvara (Barbara) suffered damages. On the site of the Catholic Church of Belarus it is figuratively described that the destroyed towers were like two injured arms raised up to the heavens with tears in the eyes to the important praying.

After the war the building remained empty and lifeless. There were attempts to arrange there concerts of organ music.

The next revival of the church began in 1988. It was given back to believers, restored, and since then it has been functioning. And though today it is not a center of the laity but it continues to perform its high purpose of a center of spiritual life.

The Church of St Varvara today

Nowadays the church actively function, apart from services and ceremonies there functions a choir, formed general events, fulfilled religious initiatives.

The Church of St Varvara is located slightly away from the town center, but here leads a desire path. Some people come to pray here, others - to admire the third – think over history lessons. And the church accepts everyone, giving him its kindness, beauty and spirituality.

Map location


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, Vitebsk , Belarus
  • Distance to airport: 248 km
, Vitebsk , Belarus
  • Distance to airport: 260 km

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