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St Nicholas Church is the oldest church in a city of Mahiliou. Moreover, it is the biggest Baroque-style church of the country. The stone building of a church was created instead of a wooden one in the end of the 17th century. It became the centre of St Nicholas monastery in distance from thetown. In the beginning of the 18th century St Nicholas church was damaged duringthe attacks of Russian and Swedish armies. A lot of damage was also caused by a fire in the town. The final renovation was done only in the beginning of the 20th century. During the First World War Mahiliou was chosen to base the High Command of the Russian Empire.
The last Russian Emperor Nicholas II visited this Church with his family during their stay in Mahiliou. A special asphaltic road was constructed from the governor’s house in the town centre to the temple for their convenience. In 1934 the church was closed. A prison and a bookstore used to be here. The walls with impressive paintings and the dome were covered with concrete and plaster. Because of it the frescoes of the 17th century were damaged. Only in 1989 the Orthodox Church got St Nicholas Church back. Nowadays the Church is a part of an active St Nicholas female monastery.
The dominant art feature of St. Nicholas Church and its pride is an impressive four-ier iconostasis of the 17th century made by Mahiliou artists. It consists of many details and no one is the same. The only similar iconostasis made by Belarusian craftsmen can be found in the Smolensk Cathedral in Moscow. Do you know that there is a ceremonial portrait of Nicholas II in the church that is regarded by parish as the same value as an icon? Close to the portrait you can also find an old 5-rouble coin. It was presented by the emperor to a little boy here in the church. And this boy brought this coin to the church before only before his own death.
Photo: belarustourism.by, mapio.net
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