St. Peter’s and Paul’s Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is one of the main Orthodox sightseeings of the Belarusian capital. The cathedral was founded in 1612. At that time, the construction of such a building was necessary to strengthen the Orthodox faith, the followers of which were oppressed by Catholicism that prevailed in Belarus. The construction was carried out thanks to voluntary donations of nobles and other residents of Minsk, whose names are on the list stored on the altar of the cathedral.
Despite the obstacles created by the Catholic gentry, the construction was completed in 1613. The church has become an important stronghold of the Orthodox faith, preserving the Slavic tradition of writing, which was extremely important during the struggle between different faiths. The cathedral underwent through changes several times: in the 17th century it was restored with funding of Catherine II. After the invasion of Napoleon, who used the temple as an infirmary, the internal decoration was damaged and had been restored only by 1814. By the end of the 19th century the cathedral was significantly rebuilt by the construction of a dome, painting walls and changing the iconostasis.
In the era of the Soviet regime, the temple’s property was looted, and the premises were used as a warehouse. The military bombing had severely damaged the temple which had been used as an asylum, but immediately after the war, the temple was closed, and services had not been carried out in it for almost half a century. However, the Soviet authorities repaired the building and used it as an archive. The restoration which took place in the 1970s returned the original appearance of the temple, as conceived by the architects. Today the temple is functioning and opens its doors to tourists and believers, despite the fact that the restoration works are continued.
However, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is also interesting as the oldest Orthodox church in Minsk and the only architectural monument of the Renaissance, remaining in the capital of Belarus. A visit to the cathedral will allow you to get acquainted with the beautiful architecture and interior of the temple, which played an extremely important role in the history of Minsk Orthodoxy.
How to get there: Nemiga metro station; buses 24, 38, 57, 73, 163, 188c
First service on weekdays is at 8:30, the last –– at 18:00; on weekends –– at 6:30, the last –– at 18:00.