The Church of the Annunciation in Grodno – the Monastery of St. Brigitte

Grodno

Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

Grodno is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities of Belarus. Its citizens are proud if its diversity of architecture. A lot of tourists come to see it. Of course, it’s difficult to choose what to visit. I will tell you about the place you will like. So, one of the most interesting religious buildings in Grodno – the Church of the Annunciation – the Monastery of St. Brigitte.

The complex is situated at a crossing of two streets. It consists of the church itself and the living part of the monastery, stone fence with gates and a tower. Earlier, a two-storey house with a loggia and a gallery was attached to it. It was built without a nail. The square of the monastery was of a quarter’s size at that time.

St. Brigitte monastery was started to be built in the first part of the 18th century

The stepdaughter of the Lithuanian Marshal Krishtof Veselovsky and his wife Alexandra died small and the spouses decided to set up a monastery in honor of their beloved child. Sisters of the Bridgettine Order were invited to Grodno. There had been a church from wood by that time and it was ordered to build a stone building in baroque style near it. The works lasted for 10 years and the cathedral was consecrated in 1651 in honor of the Virgin Mary’s annunciation.

The living part of the monastery looked like a big rectangle with a large yard inside. There were cells, a refectory and a library with a lot of books.

There was a tall wall around the monastery because according to the traditions, nuns were banned to communicate with outside world. You couldn’t meet them at a service in the church though it was opened for citizens. Sisters prayed in a separate room.

The cathedral was decorated well

There were 7 sculptures and 7 altars. Parishes could pray at 40 icons. Service was accompanied with wonderful organ. Some windows had stained glass. There were relics of the St. Kliment who patronized Grodno.

Only 2 nuns served in the monastery in 1908

 Tsarist authorities took monastery lands in the middle of the 18th century. It was banned to accept new novices and to do repairs in the building. So the complex started to break. On the walls of the church, there are still icons by the artist Paula Gazhich who was the Head of the monastery at that time. In the 50-s, it was already empty and the building became an ambulance for treating psychic disturbance and drug addiction.

It was going to be a concert hall in the 70-s but there was no former luxury any more. The cathedral was given back to the order in 1990 and new novices came. Usually there were 20-30 nuns in the monastery.

They spent their time praying and never spoke to parishes. Nuns wore head-dresses with 5 red marks – symbols of 5 injuries of the Saviour. The statues with the rules about their life style are stored in Grodno now. Any woman could join to nun’s service, even poor girls were accepted. Orphan girls were brought up there in the end of the 18th century.

Nowadays the church belongs to catholic belief. Women’s monastery also is catholic.

 

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