The Collegiate church of St. Mary and St. Alexius in Tum is a Romanesque church constructed out of granite blocks. It was built between the years 1140 and 1161.
Apart from religious functions, the collegiate church could also serve as a refugee for the local population. In 1241 it resisted the invasion of the Tatars, but in 1293 Lithuanians under the leadership of Witenes managed to get it. Part of the population was taken captive, and the rest were cut down or burned in church. Several years later, in 1306 Łęczyca was invaded by the Teutonic Knights, who returned here again in 1331.
For several decades the collegiate church was ruined. During its subsequent rebuilding, some of its former romanesque features were partially obliterated. Among other, after the fire in 1473, on the occasion of the completion of reconstruction in 1487, preserved to this day, gothic pointed arcades and pillars of bricks and grion vaults in the aisles appeared. In 1569, a renaissance porch with frescoes was built in front of the main entrance.
In 1705 Łęczyca was invaded by the Swedes, who also destroyed the collegiate. In the years 1765-1785 the church was rebuilt in classicist style. In 1818 Tsar Aleksander I Romanov ordered the dissolution of the Łęczyca Chapter and the collegiate church lost its rank. From that point until 1915, it remained a parish church. During the Battle of Bzura in 1939 it was partially destroyed and burned. In 1947 the postwar reconstruction of the church was started with the restoration of romanesque appearance.
The church was built using the opus emplectum technique. It has the form of an aisled basilica with galleries, a twin-tower west facade, and two apses (west and east). Round turrets at the east were added during reconstruction after World War II. The church resembles the Wawel Cathedral founded by Władysław I Herman. The main (north) portal is sculpted and dates back to the first half of 12th century. The crucifix inside the church was designed in 1943 by Józef Gosławski.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.