St Joseph Church in Minsk
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
The upper city in Minsk, located in the heart of the capital, is included in the list of the frequently visited and interesting Belarusian attractions. Tourists are recommended to visit the most beautiful place, spiritual and religious shrine - St. Joseph Church - which is located near Freedom Square.
However, the modern name of the church - St. Joseph Church - is not spread among residents. This building is more known as the Bernardine monastery. Earlier, this monastery was part of the most significant Catholic buildings.
The monastery was founded in 1624 by two brothers - Andrey and Jan Kensovskys. The first building of the monastery was built of wood and burned down in 1644. A few years later, the church of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and monastery were erected there. The building was destroyed several times by fires but it was restored every time. The large-scale reconstruction took place in 1752: at that time, religious buildings featured elements of Baroque.
Initially, there were only a few buildings; later the Bernardine monastery and church occupied the whole block at the end of the 18th century. Stone and wooden structures were added. There was a school, refectory, hospital, stable, and even brewery. The monastery was surrounded by a large stone wall and several gates, the main gate was right in front of the church.
In 1864, many Belarussian believers participated in the national liberation revolt in Poland. As a result, the building was confiscated by the authority and the monastery was abolished. After that, the church was restored in 1983, but there were no worship services. Nowadays, there is an archive of scientific and technical documents and information relating to the literature and art of Belarus.
Nevertheless, the beauty of the building surprises not only residents but also tourists from other countries. Nowadays, the church is a three-nave type of construction. The highest central nave is covered with a gable roof and completed with a protruding three-walled apse. The side naves are slightly lower than the central one, they are covered with a single-pitched roof.
The main decorative elements are concentrated in the western part of the facade. The side parts of the facade feature two niches where a sculptural composition was installed. The main entrance represents a wide portal with a large three-lobed window.
The Bernardine monastery is located in the heart of the capital but worship service is not held there. It should be noted that the church was constantly restored for several centuries. People tried to preserve it by all possible means. It is known that it is planned to make a hotel complex from St Joseph Church.