CATHOLICISM

The first Latin Rite was established in Belarus as early as in the 10th century, but the official spread of Catholicism didn't start before 1387. The church had its ups and downs, flourishing at the times of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and being repressed in Russian Empire and later under the Soviet rule. Currently, there are 19 Catholic communities in Minsk, with the main churches situated in the city center. As mostly the Belarusian language is used during church services, many artists and cultural figures frequent the mass in those churches.

Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary

Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary
This Roman Catholic baroque church built for Jesuits in 1700-1710 is currently the main catholic church of Belarus. In the past, Swedish king Carl XII, Ukrainian hetman Ivan Mazepa and Russian Tsar Peter I stayed in the nearby Jesuit Collegiums building. In the Soviet times, the building was repurposed for the needs of the Spartak sporting society. In 1993, it was returned to the Catholic Church. The interior of the church holds the works of arts of Rococo period. One of its bells is dedicated to Pope John Paul II.
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  • Address: 9 Svabody Sq. (between Metro stations Kastryčnickaja and Niamiha)

Church of Saints Simon and Helena (Red Church)

Church of Saints Simon and Helena (Red Church)
This church, built in early 20th century, features elements of neo-Roman and neo-Gothic styles. The name of the church derives from the names of deceased children of its main sponsor, prominent civic activist Edward Wojniłowicz. The big tower to the right of the main entrance symbolizes the sorrow of mourning parents, while small towers over the altar are dedicated to deceased children. The Soviet authorities rebuilt the church into a cinema. Beginning from Easter in 1989, Minsk Catholics organized daily religious processions around the building. 18 months later, the Soviet government gave up. On November 21, 1990, the church was returned to Catholics. During the street protests on December 19, 2010, part of protesters tried to hide from the police in the building of the Red Church – it is situated next to the House of the Government. Since then, the entrance of the Red Church has often become the place of prayers for political prisoners and the site for protest actions. Protesters are often detained by the police.
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  • Address: 15 Savieckaja St. (Metro station Plošča Lienina)

St Joseph Church

St Joseph Church
This building has been a church from 1644 till the end of the 19th century. Since 19th century, it has been used as an archive. St Joseph Church belonged to the monastery of Cistercians (Bernardines), which was used as a prison during the Uprising of 1863-1864 and later served as a military custody. Recently, Minsk City Council decided to repurpose the building of the Monastery into a hotel. The decision was met with discontent and more than 30,000 signatures were collected against the plan. At the moment, this dubious plan is hurdled only by the lack of funding.
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  • Address: 4 Kiryla i Miefodyja St. (Metro station Niamiha)

Church of Holy Trinity (Saint Roch)

Church of Holy Trinity (Saint Roch)
This neo-Gothic church was built on the site of the wooden Holy Trinity church in 1864. It is dedicated to Saint Roch: the legend says that he saved Minsk from cholera. After World War II, the devastated building of the church was used as a book depository. After being restored in 1983, it became a concert hall of Belarusian State Philharmonic. The church restarted masses in 1991. It was returned to the Catholic Church in 2006.
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  • Address: 44A Niezaliežnasci Ave (Metro station Plošča Pieramohi)