Saint Casimir Church in the town of Lepel
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
“ I, Lev Sapega, state to each around and every, … contemporary and future generations of people, that for respect and praise of God almighty, in the Trinity united, I’ve built a church in the name of Saint Casimir in my place of Noviy Lepel…”. Such a note was made in 1602 by the great chancellor. Since that time the church stands in Lepel, although it is modified a little (time and forces of nature destroyed the old building) and it’s no longer a wooden, as in Sapega’s lifetime, but a stone, durable and distinguished church. It stands, being a stronghold of faith, a memory keeper, a picture of spirituality and beauty.
History of the temple
The fires of 1779 and 1833 didn’t have mercy on that initial temple. The last one was especially devastating – almost the whole town centre was burnt down. The temple structure was in the most miserable condition and couldn’t be restored, divine services were held in a small chapel. They started to think about the erection of a stone temple.
The project was designed by an architect Machulevich in 1857, a local landowner Peter Malchevsky granted means on its realization. Two generations of the Malchevskys were building the church, in 1876 it was put into operation and consecrated in Saint Casimir’s name. A service in remembrance of the dead in the same year Malchevsky, father, the main foundator.
Later the architectural ensemble was added with a clergy house, in 1889 organs were brought from two other churches; a master named Shultz made a single organ out of two, ringing with 12 voices.
The church functioned until 1935. Then there was a break in its work – hard times of theomachy, militant atheism. Garage, transformer equipment – all of it the church had to bear in its walls.
The years of 1990-1993 is a period of the resurrection of the church. It was repaired and equipped. And finally the church received the functioning status.
Architecture and decoration of St. Casimir Church
The church is heavenly beautiful outside. It looks harmoniously and impressively even in a black and white modern picture. Not every building deserves such words.
Its architecture is made in classicism in the view of two-towered tree-aisled basilica. The designer grouped the sizes in such a way, that the composition came to be stepped, dynamic. Tree-cornered pediments decorate all the building’s facades, and the towers – only the main facade.
The external fence of the church is wooden with solid stone pillars. It was built at the same time as the stone church.
During the time, when the church was closed, the murals inside the building and baroque altar turned out to be lost. It cannot be restored. Unique icons are also lost: ancient “Feast of the Saint Cross” and “Saint Casimir”, as well as the copies of well-known pieces of art as “Liberation of Saint Peter from the dungeon” and “Saint Anthony”.
Modern inner decoration of Saint Casimir church and its layout fully correspond to the canons of the Catholic Church, conform to the general style decision.
It is necessary to mention as well, that the external walls of church ancillary buildings are decorated with pictures and photos of Lepel of different time and there is a sculpture of the Pope John Paul II next to the church. Saint John Paul II greets the parishioners with a blessing gesture from the masonry pedestal in a full vestment.
On the initiative of the priests a sculpture of Lev Sapega was installed on the opposite of the church. This description was started with his name, with it shall it end. The great personality, and the great is his trace in history. Is it possible, that he addressed to us, mentioning “future generations”? As in this church there is a part of spiritual heritage: historical and religious. And happy our contemporaries are, having the opportunity to become familiar with it.
Tours and excursions
- Minsk - Babtsy - Lepel - Polotsk - Orekhovno - Ushachy - Selische - Bychki - Minsk
- Number of hours 14