The monastery of Friar Minors in Pinsk

Pinsk is one of the largest and oldest cities in Belarus. It has been mentioned in chronicles as early as at the beginning of the XIth century. A part of the famous route “fr om the Varangians to the Greeks” passed there far back as in 1097. Faster than many other towns Pinsk developed and considered a centre of workmanship and trade in the Dutchy of Turov and Pinsk. Though, it is not all that the city is famous for.

Two significant historic sights are located in this cosy township in Belarusian Polesse – The Dormition of the Mother of God temple and The monastery of Friar Minors. The Franciscans were the representatives of the monastic order, who mainly aimed to take care of keeping the monasteries and churches.

In spite of the fact that Pinsk developed quite fast, a stone temple was built there only at the beginning of the XVI century. The remains of town constructions walls were used as building material, that had become worthless by that time. It is the fact, that differs almost all ancient town’s architecture. During their existence the temple and monastery of Friar Minors went through a lot together. For three centuries the church and monastery burnt more than once, were subjected to awful plunders and desecrations. However, despite all of those terrible ordeals, the temple was rebuilt and continued to be a permanent refuge for Catholic believers.

The monastery of Friar Minors is considered to be the most striking example of architectural style Baroque embodiment. At the beginning of the XX century the building was reconstructed, the project was led by G.Gai. The old monastery construction was enlarged with several two and three-storey buildings. Due to that architectural decision, these new buildings form cosy patios in the temple’s complex.

The temple and monastery are located on the main road of Pinsk, that is why they are the most visitable historic monuments in the town. Now Major Seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas is located in the monastery’s building.

Speaking about the Dormition temple, it was built on the former church’s place in XVI century, wh ere an old temple’s walls remains were used. Two towers decorate the contemporary temple, the architecture is in Baroque style. The interior of the temple is very rich: alters with unique wood engraving are present here, somewhere gold leaf can be noticed. Although the monastery’s interior represents strongly marked asceticism and absense of graphic fragments, the local residents like to come here. Only on the sides of the building the features of classic Baroque can be seen. The organ is also kept in the temple, which is considered one of the oldest in the whole Belarus.

For several centuries, as it is today, the monastery of Friar Minors and the Dormition temple complex can be called with confidence the very heart and soul of Pinsk. Not only local residents come to pray here, but also pilligrims come from other country’s regions. This complex has been an integral part of excursion routes for more than half a century, as it is of a great artistic, cultural and historical value for the Belarusian people.