Photographer's Note

Catholic church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross (Bernardine)

The Church of the Holly Cross Discovery, alongside with the Bernardine monastery, is an architectural complex constructed in the XVI-XVII centuries in the styles of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. These ancient structures are situated on the right bank of the Neman and considered to be the true gem of the whole town’s architecture.

The monks built a wooden monastery there in 1494. Grodno reached its peak in the XVI century: at the time, Stefan Batory made the town be an unofficial capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. His successor King Sigizmund III Vaza ordered to build a brick church on the basis of the Bernardine monastery.

The Vilno bishop Evstahy Valovich finished the construction of the church and consecrated it on 13 May 1618. This remarkable historical event is eternalized in the memorial tablet on the modern building of the church.

The inner decoration stands out for its peculiar richness and elegance. Here one can see sculptural compositions of the Renaissance and an organ of the XVII century. The interior is ornamented with carving, moldings and fresco painting. There are images of the 12 Apostles on the ledgement from the southern side and you can see 12 prominent historical figures a little above it on the Northern ledgement.

The Soviet period also influenced the history and development of the church and Bernardine monastery. In the XX century, the building of the church was used, mildly speaking, inappropriately. It hosted a forensic medical bureau, and a forensic laboratory, and a sanitary-epidemiological station, and a regional house of public health education. In 1990, the building of the monastery was given to Catholics that established there the High Roman Catholic Divinity School that is engaged in training priests.

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Additional Photos by Piotr Fagasiewicz (PiotrF) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 5631 W: 2 N: 11132] (52330)
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