The easternmost peaks of the Alps have been the natural border between the Latin, German and Slav worlds since time immemorial. Today, in a time of peace, they still speak the languages of these peoples and their valleys are places of friendship and cooperation.
Attracting pilgrims from three lands, the shrine of Monte Lussari, in the northeastern corner of Italy, is truly European and a symbol of this peaceful coexistence. According to ancient folklore, the sanctuary has its origins in 1360 following a series of miraculous events: a shepherd found sheep from his flock kneeling around a bush. With amazement, he realised that a statuette of the Virgin and Child was at the centre of the bush. The shepherd gave it to the priest of Camporosso, but the following morning, the statue was found on Lussari with the kneeling sheep surrounding it again. The event repeated itself a third time. Having been informed, the Patriarch of Aquileia ordered that a chapel be built on the spot.
There is no trace left of the original chapel; the current building is the result of the restoration and extension of a 16th Century building. The sanctuary is accessible by foot via the picturesque Sentiero del Pellegrino (Pilgrim’s Path) that winds through the forest of Tarvisio, or with the cable car from Camporosso.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.