The Church of the Holy Cross history Exaltation in Zhirovochi village

The church of the Holy Cross Exaltation is an inseparable part of the architectural Ensemble of the Holy Assumption monastery in Zhirovichi. A spouse of Pinsk huntsman Elleonora Golovshchina became a sponsor in 1716, and allocated some funds for the Church of Passion of Jesus construction, where burial services were supposed to be performed after her death. The construction was delayed for more than 50 years and the church was built only in 1769. In 1839, the church was renamed into the church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. According to the idea, the church symbolized Calvary – a mountain of Jesus suffering and tortures. A location of the church is also a peculiarity of the church building; it was constructed on the highest site of the entire territory of the monastery. Such a location is a vivid symbol, reflecting the mount of suffering.

When the western part of Belarus attached to Poland in 1919, the shrine was taken away fr om the monastery and passed to the church. The church was returned to Orthodox believers only in 1945. In 2004, the temple was restored both in and outside. As a result of the reconstruction works, an iconostasis consisted of one tier appeared.

Description of the Church of the Holy Cross Exaltation in Zhirovichi village

The Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is distinguished not only with its special location but also with having not less unique peculiarity. Amusing stairs of its kind were placed in the church: there are the same stairs only in one church in the capital of Spain. These stairs have its own history, which is known to be called Saint. According to the historical legend, Jesus passed on it after the trial. During a long period of time, the stairs were in the sacred city of Jerusalem, however, it was later transferred to the Holy Church of Rome named after John the Baptist, wh ere it is located today.

An exact copy of so-called Pilatova staircase is represented in the church in a small village of Zhirovichi. It begins on the very doors of the church and it is directed to the altar, the side wall of which is beautifully decorated with fresco painting. The fresco painting takes an important part in decoration of this shrine; it adds the effect of depth and fullness in such a small-sized church. The walls of the church were painted in 1777 by Shalashevich – a monk, who had been taught painting in the capital of Spain. Unluckily, the amazing painting of the church has been lost by this point in time.

There is a special custom at believers – all 28 steps on the staircase should be walked on knees and accompanied with a reading of special prayers all the way. This tradition is revered in the church in Zhirovichi. Until the mid XIX century, relics of different saints were engraved into each of the steps of the whole Holy staircase. Later, they were taken away and placed into a cross, which is kept in Holy Assumption Church nowadays.

The church in Zhirovichi village is one of the most marvelous and unusual churches of the Belarusian land. Pilgrims and tourists come here from different countries. The trip to Zhirovichi village is included into numerous excursion tours and programs.