The Church and Convent of the Benedictines

  • The Church and Convent of the Benedictines(today the Greek Catholic All Saints Church of the Convent of the Protection of the Holy Virgin) was built at the end of the 16th century. The nunnery complex at the foot of Castle Hill resembles a fortress.

    The Benedictine Convent was founded by three sisters who were nuns, daughters of rich nobleman Adam Saporowski. The church was built at the end of the 16th century by the famous Lviv architect Paul of Rome in late Renaissance style. At the beginning of the 17th century the convent was rebuilt, thick walls separating it from secular life.      

    The edifice was surrounded by solid fortifications of complex configuration, in compliance with fortification requirements of the time. Crenellated walls, encircled by a deep moat, were reinforced with bastions. A good deal of the walls of the convent’s solid fortifications have survived. 

    The church walls are supported by strong buttresses. The upper tier of the belfry attached to the southern tower is adorned with carvings and completed with a beautiful attic. Purity of form of the belfry places this composition among the best Renaissance monuments in Lviv. Gallery arches are decorated with white stone; above these loom sculpture-filled niches. 

    From ancient Vicheva Square one passes through a tall Baroque gate into a wide courtyard with the church and convent complex. At first, one is struck by the cautious, defensive atmosphere, but at the same time one notices the calming features of the convent-fortress, which portray a sense of architectural harmony, symmetry, relaxation, peace, and optimism. 

    Since the proclamation of Ukrainian independence religious activities have resumed in the convent. Nuns of the Studite order specialize in weaving, embroidery, and Easter egg painting. The St. Sophia School, very popular among Lviv’s youth, functions within the convent complex.

    The Church of St. Lazarus

    The Church of St. Lazarus at 27 Kopernika Street was built on a hill adjoining a monastery and a hospital in the first half of the 17th century. It is a Baroque monument with some elements of the Renaissance. 

    Designed by Lviv architect Ambrosius Prykhylny, the St. Lazarus Church and Hospital were built on a hill on the outskirts of the city in 1630-1640. This building appeared at a time when the Baroque style was popular, however, its constructors remained faithful to the art of the Renaissance. Enclosed by walls, the church and hospital feature a striking defensive character. Smooth, solid walls have incised pointed windows – a tribute to Gothicism. Cross-vaulting also affirms the Gothic style. The posh cornice set on exquisite consoles softens the severe simplicity of shapes of the monumental late Renaissance building. 

    For several centuries the hospital served as a refuge for cripples and paupers. Here the wounded from battles against Turkish and Tatar raiders were treated.

     A hospice for the poor and elderly functioned here until World War II. The former church and hospital were restored in 1989. At present the building accommodates the Dudaryk Children’s Choir. 

    The hospital walls are decorated with reliefs depicting the Gospel parable of Lazarus and the rich man, as well as a very rare theme for the plastic arts - God the Father holding his Son Jesus on his lap. 

    Beneath the monastery walls lies a 17th century well adorned with two stone lions and heraldic shields of patrician families of Lviv.

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