The Monastery of the Holy Spirit of the Basilians in Minsk
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
The building, in which previously was located the Order of the Basilians, is considered the oldest building of the capital of Belarus – Minsk city. In those remote times, when the monastery was erected, and now it is the whole complex of buildings, including male and female buildings, as well as the Church of the Holy Spirit. All these three buildings have been well preserved till nowadays.
The Order of the Basilians: history and facts
The Basilians, actively built their temples in the 17-18th centuries, are one of the most mysterious and interesting Christian Orders, existed on the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The monks of the Order of St. Basil are a Greek Uniate branch that appeared in the 17th century in Poland. They followed the behests of St. Basil the Great, who was a staunch proponent of cenoby - a form of monastic life, similar to reclusion. Distinctive features of the Basilian Order were:
- scholarship. In fact it was an “elite” monastic order, whose members not only prayed, but also constantly studied; the majority took the path from basic knowledge to PhDs;
- asceticism. The commitment to the principles of cenoby meant a complete dependence from the monastery. The monks had no right to property, they received all the necessities for life from the monastery and the results of their work also belonged to it.
There were three branches of the Basilian Order:
- The Italian-Albanian Catholic Church, to which belonged the Basilians-Italians located in the monastery of Grottaferrata;
- The Melkite Greek Catholic Church (monks-Alepians, as well as the monks of the Order of St. Saviour and St. John the Baptist);
- The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, to which belonged the Basilians, who were also known as the Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat.
Despite the fact that the Order was almost abolished along with the existence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commomwealth, the latter branch, the most widespread on the territories of modern Ukraine and Belarus, still exists. According to the data of 2014, altogether in the world there are just over five hundred Basilians, 345 of which are priests.
The gem of Victory Square
The Basilian Monastery was founded in 1616, on the place of its construction had previously been located a wooden church. The permission and funds for the construction of the Shrine was given by the Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Russia Anthony Selyava. In all likelihood, the complex of the buildings of the monastery and church were also used as defensive structures: the male building was located on the southwest side, the female one was on the northeast side and the three buildings were connected with a covered way with narrow loopholes and entry gates. Thus, only one side was unprotected, however, according to fragmentary information, preserved to our times, it was closed by a stone wall, making the whole complex a completed fortification. History keeps evidences that the nuns of the Basilian order showed no less courage in defense of their shrine, than the monks.
Uniate monasteries ceased to exist after the last partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1835 here was a large fire. After the reconstruction of the buildings in 1839 the Basilian complex was abolished and its buildings were handed over to the Orthodox. At the same time the appearance of the Church of the Holy Spirit and the male building of the monastery was also changed. However, the female building remained untouched, that is why it causes the greatest interest among tourists coming to see the sights of Minsk.