The Church of St Jan the Baptist in the Village Opsa
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
The church existed on this site as early as in 1500, but over years it was destroyed by fire. In 1768 a new church was built on its site, but it was made of stone. Originally the construction of the church was funded by Yadviga Tsehanovskaya, later the church was patronized by Duke Felix Plater. Today the Church of St Jan the Baptist in the Village Opsa is a historical and cultural attraction.
Jan (John) the Baptist. Who is he?
His name is associated with the name of Jesus Christ. The fact that John really existed is not refuted by even the strictest skeptics. He proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the Kingdom of God. It happened so that being the relative of the Savior, and being a little older than He, he baptized Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.
The life of John was short, ascetic and righteous. His death was untimely and martyrish; however his faith remained strong up to the end.
Jan the Baptist is a revered Saint. Many churches are consecrated in his honor; many icons depict stories of his life. His image is popular, and it is often portrayed in secular picturesque canvasses of different ages.
The architectural design of the church in the village Opsa
The Church of St Jan the Baptist is a church with one nave made of red brick in Neo-Gothic style. The apse is five-sided, quadrangular; it’s the only tower decorating the facade expanding its plane upwards, crowned with a facet dome with a cross at the top.
The fence of the church courtyard is made of natural stone at the base; the upper part is made of brick, with figured brick work.
Above the entry portal of the church there is a rose-window traditional for catholic structures, at the both sides from the entry there are high arched windows.
Watching the Church of St Jan one can feel the integrality and harmony of its image.
The church in the period of the recent history
In 1928 the church suffered a fire; the building was damaged. But the church continued functioning up to 1949. Since 1949 to 1990 its building was used as storage till in 1990 it was agreed to establish art gallery and concert hall there. Today the walls of the church are still decorated with paintings of that time. The church resisted holding secular events there; there are a lot of stories about this. Maybe it is a fact, or maybe – a fiction. But obviously, the cross wasn’t taken down, and the obstinate dis believers were punished.
In the 1990-s the church was returned to believers. With joint efforts of parishioners and the Catholic Communion, the church restored its former majesty and beauty.
Amongst unique artifacts kept there, there is one deserving special attention – a vessel for consecrated water carved from a solid stone. There was an organ in the church 1950-s.
In the Church of St Jan the Baptist there are icons “Heart of Jesus”, “The Mother of God”, “The Holy Family”. Stained glass windows also play the role of icons. The eight stained glass windows were painted in 1997 by the master from Vitebsk. They depict the images of Saints. The central altar is decorated with the image of a pigeon – a traditional symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Over its existence, people and circumstances often trenched on the building of the church and its holy vessels. Although something was destroyed, something sank into oblivion, even though the church looks differently than before (according to witnesses of region history experts), but it still exists and functions. It is loved and refuted by believers, it is admired by all. Covered with centuries of history, it brings us its survived through ages beauty.