St. Barbara’s Cathedral in Pinsk
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
The Orthodox Cathedral in the name of St. Barbara in Pinsk has an unusual fate. All the peripeties of the history of Belarus of the 19th century have been reflected in it. Initially the temple had another name, and Catholic monks prayed in it.
The prehistory and construction of a stone temple
The precursor of St. Barbara’s Church can be considered the Catholic Church of St. Michael the Archangel, built of wood in 1712 in the initiative of Prince Michael Vishnevetsky. Also he financed its construction.
The temple was handed over to the monastery of the Bernardines. Its image even appeared on the map of the monasteries of the famous engraver of the Radziwill family - Girsh Leibovich.
74 years later a stone Baroque temple was erected instead of the wooden Catholic church. It stood out for refinement and laconic architecture. On the front side the temple was attached with 2 three-tiered towers with domes. And in 1795 a belfry was erected at some distance.
And then came the uprising of 1830...
A Saint for Catholics and the Orthodox
After the suppression of the uprising the government ordered to transfer the building of the Catholic Church to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Benedictine monastery was closed forever. The temple was restored in 1830 and, as an Orthodox church, was consecrated in honor of St. Barbara.
It is symbolic that St. Barbara is honoured both in Orthodoxy and Catholicism. She is considered the protector against sudden death, and the savior in storms and fires.
The icons of St. Barbara’s Cathedral
Nowadays the patronal icon of the Cathedral is the image of St. Barbara. Here is also kept a particle of the relics of St. Barbara. In addition to it, the temple hosts a number of ancient icons of the 16-18th centuries.
“The Virgin Hodigitria of Jerusalem” is a monument of the icon-painting of the 16th century. The miracle-working icon is made on a board with egg tempera in the tradition of ancient Russian icon painting, with features of the Byzantine tradition. It is characterized by the monumentality of the imagery and majestic composition.
“Our lady of Tenderness” - the image is made with egg tempera on a board with the use of silvering, metal, embossing and engraving. It is dated to 1751.
The icon of the Three sainted Hierarchs (1765).
“The Old Testament Trinity” (the 18th century).
“Christ Pantocrator” (1776).
“St. Nicholas the Wonderworker” (the 18th century).
On the altar wall you can also see frescos of the 19th century.
The architecture of the Cathedral
During the reconstruction of 1830 the Church was changed in outward appearance. Domes were installed on it and the roof was made more sloping. But the pediment of the Late Baroque remained unchanged.
Today the Cathedral is a one-naved temple without towers with a semi-circular apse and a central axial façade. Cornices, pilasters and bands are used as a décor. An octahedral drum with a bulbous cupola is erected in the center of the building.
The Cathedral amazes for its external grandeur and richness of the interior. It is included in the State List of historical and cultural values of Belarus.
“The sacred temple”
Citizens often call the Cathedral “the sacred temple”. Thousands of believers come here for services. St. Barbara’s Cathedral is also very popular with tourists.
Today this Cathedral belongs to Pinsk and Luninets diocese of the Belarusian exarchate of the ROC. Its dean is Archpriest Constantine Balaklaj. The Church runs Sunday school, a library and a youth center. The temple is situated on Sovetskay Street in Pinsk.