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Bernardine Church and Monastery, Lviv, Ukraine

One of the most beautiful Christian churches in Lviv - the church of St. Andrew, is the hearth of the Bernardine monastery (Костел і монастир бернардинів), which was founded in the 15th century. The buildings of the monastery, which have survived to the present day, were built in the 17th century. For several centuries the monastery with its defensive walls has had strategic importance for the protection of the city, because of its remote location from the Lviv’s center. The Catholic church of St. Andrew, is located in the center of the monastery, and fortunately, unlike other parts of the complex has completely survived.

Catholic church of St. Andrew is a three-tiered basilica with faceted apse. According to the tradition, the plan of the church was created by one of the Bernardine monks. The building's architecture combines several architectural styles (Italian Renaissance is dominating). The reason of this diversity is the fact that the church was built by several architects. Initially, the construction started Peter the Roman, who built the lowest and rather modest part of the church. After his death, the construction continued Ambrose Prihylny, who built the second more extravagant tier of the building. Later Andrzej Bemer finished the construction of the third tier. He is also the author of the sculptural decorations of the building’s façade. On the façade of the building are placed the statues of the Bernardine order’s saints, and in the niches of the second tier - the images of the Virgin Mary and the Apostles Peter and Andrew.

The church was built from 1600 to 1630. Its height is 22 meters and the length - 57.5 meters. It is built from dark hewn stone. The building's interior is designed in Baroque style. 17th century wooden altars are still decorating the interior of the church.

Numerous legends have survived about the Bernardine monastery. One of them is associated with the clock tower, adjacent to the church. According to the legend, thanks to this clock one of the monks saved the city from attack of the Tatars, who were almost entering to Lviv through open gates, because the guards of the city fell asleep. Ingenious monk changed the time on the clock, the bells of the church started to ring, awakened guardians managed to close the gates right behind the attackers and the city was saved.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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