The Church of St. George in the village of Zhirovichi
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
The village of Zhirovichi is a famous center of Orthodoxy in Belarus. Here is a place which attracts thousands of pilgrims – the Monastery of the Holy Dormition, where the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God of Zhirovichi is.
The Monastery in Zhirovichi was one of the richest in Lithuania and was popular among the Uniats in the second half of the 17th century. The architectural ensemble of the monastery complex includes 5 buildings: the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and of the Epiphany, the Dormition Cathedral, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Seminary building and the Church of St. George. Construction of temples was carried out here until the mid-19th century. A small private printing house was operating in Zhirovichi district at that time.
People call Zhirovichi St. George’s Church differently
St. George’s Church is also called a cemeterial one. The reason for that was its location: it was erected in the old cemetery, which is in the North-West of Zhirovichi. The Church is also called St. Jury’s. Perhaps, it is because of the fact that this area is also called “St. Jury's Hill”.
The cemetery and the Church of St. George appeared in the early 18th century
In 1710, when the war between Sweden and Poland ended, Zhirovichi’s lands were devastated and exhausted by military actions. The settlement was in decline; its inhabitants began to hurt. The events of that year were very brutal, when there came the plague, it killed almost all of the novices of the monastery and very few survivors were left among the urban population.
Only one person of the whole brethren survived – the hieromonk Nikolay Okunevich. He buried more than six hundred people, whose lives were claimed by that terrible epidemic. The cemetery on that place in Zhirovichi appeared in such a way. A little later, a new rector built a wooden Church of St. George the Victorious close to it.
The architecture of St. George’s Church in Zhirovichi is simple
From the architectural point of view, the temple looks very simple. The building has a rectangular shape with an apsidal frame on five facets. The facade on the West side is covered with a roof similar to a small drum with a dome. A figured tower in the Baroque style rises over the main facade. The building does not have any special decorations, the walls are just plastered and therefore the temple looks like a simple wooden old house. The interior is also simple inside the church, its main zest is an iconostasis with a laid-on carving.
Despite the simplicity of the structure, the Church of St. George in Zhirovichi refers to the monuments of folk architecture with elements of Baroque. There are the ashes of the famous writer, Archpriest Placid Yankovsky, under the temple. He lived in the 19th century.
A holy-water prayer service in St. George’s Church
May 6 is the day of St. George. This date is celebrated in the following way in Zhirovichi: first Liturgy is held in the Dormition Cathedral, then the monks together with students of ecclesiastical schools and pilgrims, who gathered in the village on this day, go to the Church of St. George. Every year rectors of the temple conduct here a holy-water prayer service.