A former Calvinist church, currently foundations – a permanent ruin, Sidra
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A former Calvinist church, currently foundations – a permanent ruin

Sidra

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The remains of foundations of the former Calvinist church, erected in mid-16th century in Sidra, representing great historical values. These remnants remind us of the extremely affluent Wołłowicz family, particularly of Eustachy Wołłowicz (died in 1587), Hospodar Marshal, Lithuanian Treasurer, Lithuanian Chancellor, one of the most trusted persons of the king Sigismund II Augustus, developer of the church and founder of Sidra. The Wołłowicz family is one of the most distinguished families related to the current Podlaskie Voivodeship, for they can be remembered as colonisers of this land, founders of churches, tserkvas and congregations. These foundations are also the remains of the Evangelical community, functioning here until mid-19th century and constituting a component part of a colourful ethnic, religious and cultural mosaic of the borderland of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

History

Ostafi Wołłowicz, son of Bogdan, was the main builder of the congregation. In 1546, he was mentioned as a writer of the Vilnius Voivode, Deputy Lord of Regality of Brest (1551), writer of the Hospodar (1551-1556), Mayor of Grodno (1551-1552), Lessee of Miednice (1552-1565), Lessee of Mohylev (1554-1560), Marshal of the Hospodar (1553), Grand Marshal of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1561-1569), vice-treasurer of land (1551-1566), Governor of the Vilnius Voivodeship (1565-1566), Starost of Brest (1565-1587), Vice-Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1566-1579), Trakai Castellan (1569-1579), Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1579-1587). He was one of the main protector of Calvinism. Apart from Sidra, he possessed immense private properties and royal tenancies. It was in Sidra that he erected his residence (castle), founded a town (1566) and built a Calvinist church where he was later buried. He died in 1587. Subsequent owners of Sidra also cared for the church they were entrusted with: in 1630, the Hołowczyńskis family granted considerable allocations to the church; in the 18th century, the site was cared for by the Potockis family. The church began to fall into decline in the second half of the 18th century, and in the 19th century, along with the decline in the number of believers (a Catholic parish was established in the town in the early 18th century). In 1839, it was closed down. At the end of the 19th century, there came a proposal of transforming a highly damaged church into a tserkva. After World War I, the church was demolished. In 1975, foundations of the church were secured in the form of a permanent ruin, following architectural studies.

Description

The foundations of the former church are located in the town’s market square. The structure is made of stone and brick and was erected on a rectangular floor plan with external dimensions of ca. 16.7 x 23 m. The building is oriented to the East, has a basement under some of its parts and has buttressed walls - one buttress in the east, two buttresses on other sides. Corners are reinforced with diagonal buttresses.

Site accessible to visitors.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Bialystok, 03-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Piłaszewicz Z., Sidra woj. białostockie. Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne do planu zagospodarowania przestrzennego Sidry, Białystok 1977, s. 5-19.
  • Czapska A., Zagadnienie trwałej ruiny na przykładzie zboru kalwińskiego w Sidrze, „Rocznik Białostocki”, t. 17, Warszawa 1991, s. 251-268.
  • Krasiński W., Zarys dziejów powstania i upadku reformacji w Polsce, t. 2, cz. 2, Warszawa 1905, s. 221.

General information

  • Type: other
  • Chronology: poł. XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Sidra
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district sokólski, commune Sidra
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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