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St. Peter and Paul Cathedral and Jesuit Complex

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Beginning in 1604 the Jesuit Order expanded its activities in Lutsk, and set up one of the highest forms of Jesuit Settlement.

Beginning in 1604 the Jesuit Order expanded its activities in Lutsk, and set up one of the highest forms of Jesuit Settlement.

In 1609, Lutsk Jesuits obtained permission from Polish King Sigismund III for the purchase of land for the construction of a new college and church. The project was given to a talented Italian architect, Giacomo Briano, who on the 16th of July in 1616 laid the cornerstone of the Cathedral. Construction of the Jesuit Cathedral lasted for many years: vaults were built in 1630, the dome in 1637, and the dedication of the temple in honor of Peter and Paul happened around 1639-1640.

Originally it was built as an example of Renaissance architecture. Later features of baroque and classic styles were added. Overall the Cathedral is a basilica based on a Greek cross with galleries and two towers at the corners of the main facade. The main facade presents a rich compositional interplay of volume, surfaces and numerous axes.. The central sculpture is a statue of the Saint Mary that stands on the globe, fighting with a serpent. On the lower floor on both sides of the entrance there are sculptures of Peter and Paul.

In the 1720 's after a disastrous fire the church was completely rebuilt “from scratch”. On the south-eastern wall of the church, the college was attached. The college had a very good students’ theatre, a great library, and many valued works of art. Only children from the noble and wealthy families had the opportunity to study here. In 1773, after the dissolution of the Jesuit Order, the college was transferred to the Department of Education.

For more than 300 years the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral was the tallest building in the town.

Because of its prominence the Cathedral is the central object of many paintings and drawings of artists of the past.

After the war, in 1946, the Soviets eliminated the Lutsk Roman Catholic Church and for a very long time the building of the Cathedral was not cared for. In 1980 the church was converted into a museum of atheism, which remained until 1992. In the place of the altar, a concrete exhibition named “Space” was set up.

In 1992, the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral was given back to the Roman Catholic community of the town.

 

Article: Page of Historical and Cultural Reservation "Old Town"

 

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