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Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ivano-Frankivsk

The Collegial Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the oldest sanctuary of Ivano-Frankivsk.

Virgin Mary Church in Ivano-Frankivsk

First, the founder of the city Ivano-Frankivsk Andrew Potocki built on that place a wooden Roman Catholic Church. It was the time, when the walls around a future city were constructed. An old friend of Potocki, pastor and Chaplain Wojciech Belyachevski assisted him and advised a lot. The church was built quickly. By the time when the town was given Magdeburg right, there was a kind of paraffin. As evidence, there is a metric left after the baptism of the son of the Galician vice-mayor Jury.

Originally, the sanctuary was called the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Andrew and St. Stanislaus. In 1669, Potocki managed to raise the status of church to the rank of collegiate. He also opened a public school that became a branch of the Jagiellonsky University (Krakow). In 1672, the construction of a stone church was started by the French architect François and Carole Korassini Benoe. It was complete by 1703. Built in the baroque style with elements of Renaissance, the church delights the visitors with its Doric columns and the perfect eagle with three towers. The main altar and two altars of repose were carved out of marble. The relics of St. Vincent are kept in one of them. In 1680, they were passed to the eldest son of the city founder Stanislaw Potocki by the Pope Innocent IX.

Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ivano-Frankivsk

Unfortunately, neither Andrew nor Stanislaw, didn’t live to see the ceremony of a consecration of church. In 1718, the school was passed to the Jesuits, and in four years it raised to the rank of collegium, with 400 students. In 1737, Joseph Potocki, the youngest son of the city founder expanded the church by finishing the construction of the altars of repose, the total number -12.

After the death of Joseph, who was buried in the church, the church encountered problems. Over a time, the Austrian authorities lowered the rank of the shrine to the small-town level. At the end of the XIX century under the influence of time the interior of the church required a restoration. In 1877, at the request of then-pastor Krasowski the church was painted by Erasmus Rudolph Fabian. However, 5 years later, a fire destroyed the roof of the church, the main tower and the fresh painted vault. In 1892, the church was completely repaired. Since then, a music school was opened there, where one could study church singing.

After the Second World War the hard times came to the sanctuary. The Poles, which were tightly connected with the history of the church, started leaving the city taking with them the cult-objects from the sanctuary. The rest of the objects were damaged due to the improper use. During the Soviet period, the church was used in different purposes. Moreover, in 1963, the bell tower constructed in the XVIII century, was destroyed.  In 1965, the church was passed to the museum of the Institute of Oil and Gas. In 1980, after the restoration, the Museum of Art was opened there.

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