The Church of St. Nicholas in Novogrudok

Novogrudok

Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

Novogrudok is one of the oldest towns of Belarus that has a rich history and many extant architectural and historical sights, which are a real pride of the Belarusian people.  It is the Cathedral of St. Nicholas that is considered one of the few places where every object and wall is fraught with echoes of tragic events that have taken place for several centuries. 

In 1434 on Bernardine Street was built a wooden Catholic Church of the Franciscans, which stood for several centuries. But in 1780 on its place was erected a new brick building at the monastery of the Franciscans. Initially, it was a Catholic Church, consecrated in honor of St. Anthony. The place was not chosen accidentally – at the end of the 18th century here was a market square where every day gathered all of the town's people. Elena Radziwill donated money for the construction of the temple.

And in 1846 the Catholic Church was handed over to Orthodoxy and it was consecrated in honor of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. As some scientists suggest, the building acquired features of Russian–Byzantine style during the rebuilding of the temple into an Orthodox Shrine. According to another version in 1852 there was a great fire, as a result of which the temple was rebuilt again but its appearance was slightly changed. It should be noted that the rebuilding of the temple was funded only from donations by local residents. At the same time a massive Baroque pediment that decorates the façade of the building appeared instead of the old dummy wooden octagonal construction with a bulbous cupola.

The project of reconstruction of the Cathedral was carried out together with the eldest sons of Alexander II, Nicholas and Alexander, who took an active part in restoration works. The belfry was significantly changed: here were mounted three bells, and over the narthex were placed choirs. In the late 19th century the temple belonged to the second class, and Novogrudok eparchy included also several churches in the town. The whole parish, by the way, was quite rich. The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker had 78 dessiatines of land, which were used as arable, haymaking and pasture territories. Every year 702 rubles was allocated from the state Treasury for the clergy of the parish. In addition to this the Church received monetary contributions due to the so-called “plyats” (tillages) and several leased stone churches in Novogrudok. In the 19th century the parish was quite large in number: there were more than 4000 parishioners, and at the beginning of the 20th century their number increased by one and a half.

The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker became a Cathedral in 1992, at that moment when Novogrudok eparchy resumed its work. Today the Orthodox Church is two-throned: one of the thrones is named after St. Nicholas, the other one is named after St. Queen Alexandra.

Before the restructuring, the Cathedral was a vivid embodiment of the late Baroque style. But by the end of the 19th century the building acquitted clear features of the Russian–Byzantine direction. Inside the Cathedral there is a unique extant icon of the 18th century “The Virgin Hodegetria”; guests of the town often come here to watch it. Many parishioners, by the way, say that the image of the Saint has healing properties.

The territory near the temple is ennobled and clean. It is quiet and calm near the Church, so elderly residents of the town of Novogrudok like to come here.

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