Østofte Church was built in the 14th century. The Romanesque apse, chancel and nave formed the original building while the tower and porch were added in the Late-Gothic period and the north wing was completed in 1656.
The church was dedicated to St Peter, probably in 1345. King Christopher of Bavaria transferred ownership to Maribo Abbey as first documented in 1451. That ownership remained after the Reformation when Maribo became a convent for women. After a period of ownership by Christian IV's Sorø Academy until its closure in 1665, the church came under the Crown until 1687. It was then transferred to Eggert Christopher von Knuth (1643-1697). As a result, it came under the County of Knuthenborg on its formation in 1714 where it remained until it became independent in 1911. In 1881, Bandholm Parish was separated from Østofte after a new church was built in Bandholm.
The apse, chancel and nave of this red-brick church were built in the Romanesque period, while the tower with its pyramidal spire and the porch were added at the beginning of the 15th century in the Gothic style. The north wing was completed in 1656. The Romanesque sections are decorated with corner lesenes and are topped with saw-tooth friezes. The round-arched windows have either been enlarged or bricked in. Thin vertical blank windows decorate the top of the tower.
Fresco of Seth at Adam's deathbedIn the 14th century, star-shaped vaults were completed in the chancel and nave while the apse retained its half dome. The altarpiece, dated 1674, is rather unsophisticated baroque although the scenes in the central panel of the Last Supper and the Resurrection are somewhat earlier. The pulpit in the auricular style (c. 1650) presents cartouches of Faith, Hope and Charity. Investigations in 1908 revealed frescos in the chancel and apsis from two periods, c. 1300 and c. 1400. The latter are mostly well preserved with scenes from the Creation including images of Adam and Eve, the Judgment of Christ as well as several dragons.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.