The Red Church is an important historical center in Minsk. It is a center of religious and social life too. The Red Church, also known as the Church of Saints Simon and Helena is a distinctive building that is located on the Independence Square in Minsk. In this article, I will tell you the history of this church and the story behind its name.
The Church of Saints Simon and Helena is a Roman Catholic church that was built at the beginning of the 20th century. Its construction was financed by Edward Woynillowicz, who was a famous public figure. Edward and his wife had two requests before they decided to finance the construction. First of all, they wanted to choose the project by themselves. In addition, they wanted to name the church after their children, Simon and Helena, who died at an early age. That is why this church is named after the Saints Simon and Helena. Famous Polish architects Tomasz Pajzderski and Wladyslaw Marconi designed the Red Church. They were chosen by philanthropists themselves.
The construction of the Red Church began in 1906. They used red bricks as the main material that gives the building a distinctive and beautiful look. In 1910, the church was open, and the liturgy started. Before that, they erected three bells inside the church. One was named Edward, in honor of the person who financed this project. The second bell was named after his son Simon, and the third one in honor of the Archbishop of Minsk, Michael. The founder of the church, Edward Woynillowicz and his wife are buried in this territory.
During the time when the Bolsheviks ruled the country, the Red Church was robbed. However, the prayers were still held there. From 1932, the liturgy stopped in the church, and this building was transformed into a Polish theater. Later on, its ownership was transferred to the Belarusian Movie Studio. Only from 1990, the building returned its original look, and they rebuilt it as a church again.
You will see a sculpture of Saint Michael in front of the Red Church, that was built in 1996. The sculpture shows how he kills a snake with an arrow. It symbolically represents the victory of the celestial power over the darkness. The height of the sculpture is 4.5 meters. There is one more monument here - ‘the Bell of Nagasaki’, that serves as a war memorial and a reminder of the victims of nuclear disasters.
Nowadays, the Red Church functions well and is open to visitors. While being in Belarus, do not miss this beautiful place that is an important historical center of Minsk. The prayers are held in Belarusian, Polish, Lithuanian and Latin.
Cover Picture © Credits to iStock/troyka
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