The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Riga

Цeркoвь Скорбящей Богоматери

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Riga is the first stone sacral structure in Riga, built after the reformation began in Livonia. In its place stood a small chapel, consecrated in 1865. In 1875, the Austrian emperor Josef II passed through Riga, who, after visiting this small church, was extremely surprised and indignant at the poor and unsightly sight of the chapel. He sacrificed an impressive amount of money to build a more representative temple.

The first stone in the foundation of the future church was consecrated in 1784, and a year later the consecration of the newly built church in honor of the Our Lady of Sorrows took place, the service was conducted by Bishop Janis Benišlavskis. The future emperor of Russia Paul I, the Polish king Stanislaw Poniatowski and other Polish tycoons donated for the construction of the church. In addition, local Catholics provided financial assistance, as far as possible. According to the instructions of Empress Catherine II, all the buildings in the castle area, including the church, were to be built in the style of classicism.

Three entrances led to the church, the main one was located on the side. The church itself was made in the style of classicism, but some details belonged to the Baroque.

In May 1854, the Russian emperor Nicholas I came to Riga, who, after examining the temple, stated that the building was not large enough, but too narrow. The Emperor’s remarks accelerated the repair work. In 1858, a cardinal restoration of the building began, lasting 2 years. The director of perestroika was the young and talented architect Johann Daniel Felsko.

The last reconstruction of the church of the Sorrowful Mother of God, as a result of which the temple acquired a modern appearance, was held in 1895. The project was designed by the German master Wilhelm Boxlaf. He gave the building a neo-Renaissance appearance and expanded it by completing the building for the ritual of baptism.

As a result, the Church of the Sorrowful Mother of God acquired an elegant eclectic decoration, practically unchanged, preserved to this day. The height of the church, including the spire, is 35 meters. The main entrance is on the side of Zamkova Square. The length of the church is 48 meters, width – 17 meters. The Church of the Sorrowful Mother of God refers to the church buildings of the hall type. The top of the three-story tower, which performs the function of the dominant, is crowned by a pyramidal spire.

Concerning the interior, it is worth noting that after repeated rebuilding, each of which brought something of its own that it was a bizarre confusion of all architectural styles. Here you can see elements of classicism, in this style the church was made from the very beginning. The first restructuring brought elements of romance and Gothic, well, and later all elements of neo renaissance appeared. The Church successfully transferred the periods of wars and Soviet times, all this time it was in effect.

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