The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Braslav
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
Some religious institutions impress with their amazing history. The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Braslav is not only recognized as the cultural and historical value of Belarus but it is also a place of pilgrimage for believers from all over the world.
Catholicism in Braslav
The first mentioning of Braslav town refers to the early XV century. Catholic churches were constructed in its territory. They traditionally were wooden. However, it’s well known that the wars were rather common in the territory of Belarus (at that time – a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) in the Middle Ages; due to this fact the wooden structures could not stand for a long time.
In 1824, the construction of the new church was started, this time – a stone one. Every year the number of church people increased, so it is not surprising that, by the end of the century, when there were 16 thousand Catholics in the territory of Braslav alone, it was agreed to extend the building of the church. Today it can be seen with the naked eye that there is some difference between the old layer and new one of brickwork that serves a type of the gem of the church. The renewed version of the church was named after and consecrated in honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1897.
The church withstood the Second World War, but the parishioners as well as church members were oppressed. Thus, it is notoriously known that one of the church leaders, Mechislav Akreits, was executed by the German invaders.
After the war, in the Soviet period, the church was transformed into storage that was rather common for religious structures of that time. The church was opened to parishioners in 1967; the building had been tentatively repaired and restored.
The features of the church
There was applied rather specific for that region and architecture of Braslav stylistic solution during the primary stonework: instead of lime mortar, there was laid the mixture with small natural stones between big stones. Later that element was called “Braslav mosaic”. The building presents an example of New-Roman style.
The local residents are proud of the organ located within the walls of the church; it was created in the early XX century. However, the most famous attraction of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the image of “Mother of God” that is the subject of several legends. According to one of them, it was originally kept in the territory of an island of Lake Nespish, and it was brought to Braslav after the fire occurred in the local church. Every time it mysteriously appeared again on the island. It was until then when repented thieves were entrusted to bring the icon.
The very important event in the history of the church took place in 2009: the icon was crowned, thus becoming the seventh icon in Belarus ever have been thus honored. The icon that is popularly called the image of “The Queen of Braslav” is considered to be wonder-working.
The Braslav district is worth visiting not only due to lakes situated there and breathtaking views but also thanks to such architectural attractions as the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.