The Church of St. Vincent is the seat of the Greek Catholic cathedral of Wrocław. The church was founded by Duke Henry II the Pious together with a monastery for the Franciscans brought from Prague around 1240, perhaps even as early as 1232 or 1234. Initially it was named for St. James and built in the Romanesque style. Very soon into its construction the crypt became the burial place of its founder, who was killed in 1241 fighting the Mongols at the Battle of Legnica. In this church, mentioned as being completed by 1254, on December 16, 1261 was announced a new foundation charter for the city under Magdeburg Law, allowing further development of Wrocław.
In the 14th and 15th centuries the church underwent a major reconstruction and expansion, which lasted for a long time. During these reconstructions the church still maintained a predominantly Gothic style. A quadrangle monastery adjacent to the north was constructed, unusual for the area. At the beginning of the 16th century the Franciscans were forced to either convert to Protestantism or leave Breslau. Those who remained were in 1529 moved to St. Dorothea's. The abandoned church was taken over by the Premonstratensians after the decision was made by the city council to demolish their monastery in Ołbin. On June 3, 1530, the church was rededicated to the patron saint of the demolished monastery, St. Vincent of Saragossa.
Between 1662-1674 the interior of the church was transformed with rich Baroque furnishings, including a new altar built in 1667 by Franz Zeller and Georg Czermak. In 1673 abbot Andreas Gebel initiated a reconstruction of the monastery in the Baroque style as well. The late Baroque Hochberg Chapel, officially the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows. was built on the southern façade from 1723-1727 by Christoph Hackner on the site of an older Gothic chapel. It was built on the orders of Count Ferndinant von Hochberg, head of the Norbertine order, as his mausoleum, though he was never buried there. It was decorated with frescoes depicting the Seven Sorrows of Mary and sculptures by Johann Georg Urbanski and Johann Adam Karinger. The astounding grille and gate to the chapel were the work of the locksmith Jacob Meyer.
After Prussia's secularization order of 1810, St. Vincent's was made into a parish church and the monastery buildings were converted into court offices. In the last days of World War II, during the Siege of Breslau, the church sustained severe damage. The tower collapsed, along with part of the side wall and vaults, and most of the interior furnishings were either destroyed or looted. The famous Hochberg Chapel was burned in a raid on Easter Sunday of 1945. After the war, the choir stalls, which had survived in good condition, were transferred to the Cathedral. The rebuilt church (whose lantern and cupola were only rebuilt in the 1980s), for a time temporarily served as the Garrison Church after a fire gutted St. Elizabeth's in the 1970s. In 1997 Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz donated the church as the seat of the Greek Catholic Eparchate of Wrocław-Gdańsk. In 1999 basic reconstruction work on the church was finally finished. The ruined Hochberg Chapel was restored from 2012-2013.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.