Carmelites Monastery in Zasvir

Carmelites Monastery in Zasvir


Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

There is a small village Zasvir in Minsk region, which is located not far from the lake Svir. Here located the Carmelites Monastery- a historical monument of Baroque style of early 18th century.

“Carmelites” were called Catholic monastic orders, which were founded in the 12 century during the Crusades. Their main goal was the unity with God through constant prayers. Great importance was attached to the worship of the Mother of God. Their appearance was quite unusual: the Carmelites were dressed up in a white coat with black stripes, which was called “scapular”.

That is why people called them magpies. It was said that this way they emphasized their sinless souls. They led pretty unusual lifestyle for a modern man: they didn’t eat enough, were engaged in the rewriting of books and reading. Did you know that some of the Carmelites lived in the forests all their life? The only exceptions were holidays, when they came to the monasteries.

In 1697 the monastery was built of wood firstly. Carmelite Monastery was built of stone only in 1713-1714. It is located not far from the lake Svir. It is known that responsible for the construction of the building, as well as the main sponsors were Christophe and Jadwiga Zenovich. These people contributed a lot to the development of Christianity in our lands.

An interesting fact is that the monastery was not just a single building, but a whole complex of buildings and rooms with a courtyard. Near the monastery there was a bell tower, not far from which it was possible to see the church. All of these buildings were built and decorated according to the canons of the Baroque style: flat niches, shaped towers, gable roof and semicircular outbuilding with a plurality of holes.

Did you know that in unquiet times, during the uprising of Kalinowski, soldiers of tsar (Slavic monarch or supreme ruler) held monks prisoners under the monastery? Those quietly crawled out through the dugout tunnels and allowed the rebels to hide their weapons there. When everything calmed down, the monastery was decided to close. The temple was initially Orthodox, but after 1919 it was given to Catholics. Connoisseurs of the history know that in charge of the monastery was Stapovich Constantine, better known as the Casimir Svoyak, the Belarusian poet and folklorist. It is interesting that he spoke and held services exceptionally in his native Belarusian language.

In the times of Soviet regime, the church was closed, like all the other religious buildings. It resumed its services quite recently. Inside the monastery for some time a hostel and school were located.
However the impassive time didn’t have mercy on anybody or anything, the monastic complex was being weakened and destroyed. At the end of the 19th century the building of the church was restored. Nowadays the monastery is barely preserved. Now, only the Trinity Church and the accommodation room remained. However Zasvir still continues to be of interest of tourists and lovers of ancient architecture.

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