The Temple of the Cross Elevation in Svisloch
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
The Temple of the Cross Elevation in Svisloch, Grodno Region
Svisloch is one of the oldest towns in Belarus that is mentioned in the Ipatiev chronicle. Along with the Novogrudok Principality, in the XIII century, there was the Svisloch Principality under the rule of Yaroslav the Wise. The town has been quite rapidly developing due to its favorable location in its day. But Svisloch reached its greatest development under the rule of Vintsent Tyshkevich who became the sole owner of the picturesque village in the XVIII century. Thanks to him, the village was completely modernized. The main merit of Tyshkevich is the opening of a popular gymnasium that afterwards made the small town of Grodno region well-known all around the country. Such great historical figures as Kalinovsky and Napoleon Orda graduated from the gymnasium. Thanks to them, Belarus is known far beyond its borders, and curious tourists regularly visit these places. But the fate has prepared many trials for Svisloch. First Svisloch was occupied by troops of Kaiser’s Germany during the First World War, then joined Poland, was also under the oppression of the fascist invaders during the Second World War.
One of the great symbols of the town is the Temple of the Elevation of the Cross constructed in the XIX century, now completely restored and rightly included in the list of the Belarusian monuments of historical and cultural value.
It is known that there were three Orthodox sanctuaries in the village at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. That was quite a lot for such a small town whose population numbered only three thousand people at the time. As a comparison only one Catholic Church and one Jewish synagogue functioned in Svisloch at the time. That was due to the political doctrine of the Russian Empire that after the uprising led by Kastus Kalinovsky pursued the Russification of the population of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
A small temple in the town of Svisloch has gone historically interesting way as initially was built as a Catholic chapel and was even consecrated by a local priest in the XIX century. It was a rectangular building on the stone-and-brick basement with a tiled roof and a massive cross on the top. The building was made of brick, and light came into the building through small window openings. Interestingly, the chapel was designed as a burial vault, as there was a special tomb with latticed windows inside it. Ashes of Yuzefa Tyshkevich – a gone wife of Tadeush Tyshkevich who owned Svisloch at the time were bought into the tomb. The chapel existed until the middle of the XX century. After the Temple of the Mother of God was burned in fire in the early days of the Second World War, the chapel was used as an Orthodox parish. Now this is the Temple of the Elevation of the Cross in Svisloch town, situated at the town cemetery.
Liturgy and prayer services are held in the temple. It attracts Orthodox believers and many tourists willing to see the wonderful monument of architecture adorning the picturesque Svisloch town.