Bangor Abbey was established by Saint Comgall in 558 and was famous for its learning and austere rule. Bangor Abbey is regarded as one of the most important of the early Northern Irish monastic sites, second only to Armagh. Within the extensive rampart which encircled its monastic buildings, students studied scripture, theology, logic, geometry, arithmetic, music, and the classics.
Bangor was a major center of learning and trained many missionaries. Columbanus and Gall went off to Continental Europe in 590 AD and founded the famous monasteries of Luxiell (France), St Gallen (Switzerland) and Bobbio (Italy).
Like many early Irish monasteries, Bangor was destroyed and rebuilt on a number of occasions. The Annals of Ulster record that Bangor was burned in 616 and again in 755. No doubt at this period the buildings were constructed of wood. Easily accessible from the sea, Bangor invited attack, and between 822 and 824 the Norsemen plundered it. The Annals of Ulster and the Four Masters both record that during this raid, “learned men and bishops” were smitten, while the shrine containing the relics of Comgall was taken. Another probable victim of the Vikings was “Tanaidhe MacUidhir, coarb of Bennchor, who was killed in 958. There is a consensus that the importance of Bangor declined around the latter part of the tenth century.
When St. Malachy, in 1121, became Abbot of Bangor he had to build everything anew. However, three years later he was promoted to the See of Down, and Bangor again decayed.
In 1469, the Franciscans had possession of it, and a century later the Augustinians, after which, at the dissolution of the monasteries in that part of Ireland, it was given by James I to Sir James Hamilton who repaired the church in 1617 and was buried in it when he died in 1644. It appears that stone from the abbey was used in the construction of the new church. All that remains of the Abbey ruins is St. Malachy's Wall.
The present Tower of the church dates back to the 14th century. A mural in the church is of Christ ascending to heaven with Saints Comgall, Gall and Columbanus at his feet.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.