Palaces, manors, castles
Starye Zhyrovichy, where the courtyard of Zhyrovichy Monastery is located nowadays, just a few years ago was Soltys’ abandoned homestead.
In 2010, the area was given to the monastery, located in Zhyrovichy village that is just ten kilometers south of the regional center of Grodno region, Slonim.
Zhyrovichy Monastery itself is a significant construction belonging to the Belarusian Orthodox Church. Its appearance refers to 1470 (according to other sources to 1490). The church was built on the place where the icon of the Virgin Mary was found. It was found by shepherdess of Soltys, whom that time this land belonged to.
Today Zhyrovichy icon of the Virgin Mary is one of the most worshipped in Belarus. Moreover, it is considered miraculous by Orthodox and Catholic churches. According to Gregorian calendar, May 20, is considered the day of the celebration of the shrine.
The monastery changed its owners for several times. At first, it was an Orthodox; it was given to Bazilians in 1613. During the 17th-18th centuries, the monastery was an important center of the Uniates. In 1839, the building was returned to Orthodox monks.
The monastery is also known for such an important value as Zhyrovichy Gospel, which is now stored in the Scientific Library of Lithuania, and since the middle of the 19th century, is located in the monastery. It is a hand-written monument of the 15th century. The Gospel includes 404 pages decorated with numerous miniatures, headpieces and initials. The manuscript has another name – “Sapieha Gospel”, which it received from the dedicatory inscription made by hand of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Chancellor Lev Sapega.
Nowadays the monks of well-known Belarusian Orthodox shrine built a town church on the territory of the monastery. They also cleared up a former manor Soltys’ apple garden. Moreover, the manor itself was arranged well. At first, a part of the plan was to complete the restoration of the manor building. However, the restoration of the manor house is not possible for the reason of the absence of any its drawings, and descriptions. All that survived – is the foundation, which has impressive size, indicating the significant amounts of the former facilities. As a result, it was decided to conserve the surviving ruins.
The total area of the monastery in Starye Zhyrovichy is 55 hectares. Various animals live in the courtyard; there also is a fish farm.
Starye Zhyrovichy is visited by many pilgrims. Yet they are not the only visitors of farmstead. There are tourists who travel to Belarus and want to learn more about our country. Thus, Starye Zhyrovichy could be called a full-fledged tourist attraction that offers people to admire with the remains of the manor, to walk along a shady alley, as well as to become better acquainted with the inhabitants of the monastery.