Supraśl Lavra - important site of Orthodox culture in Poland
The Monastery of the Annunciation in Supraśl (aka the Supraśl Lavra) is one of six Eastern Orthodox monasteries for males in Poland. The Monastery was founded in the 16th century. With the passing of the years, the Supraśl Lavra became an important site of Orthodox culture in the Kingdom of Poland. In 1609 the Basilian Order took over the administration of Monastery. The Basilians oversaw the rebuilding of the Monastery complex and expansion of its publishing activity. Over a period of slightly more than one hundred years, published 350 titles in Ruthenian, Polish, and Latin. In 1796, Prussian authorities confiscated the holdings of the monastery after the third Partition of Poland.
In 1807 Supraśl fell under Russian rule and the Russians gave the monastery complex to the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1875, the St. Panteleimon church was built, in 1889, St. John the Theologian, and finally in 1901, St. George the Victor. In 1910, there was a restoration of the 16th-century frescoes, which had been covered up by the Basilians. In the aftermath of the havoc of World War I, the monks fled from the monastery for the interior of Russia, taking with them the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Supraśl.
In the period between the two world wars, the monastery was used by the Latin Rite Salesian Order. During the second world war in 1944, the retreating German army destroyed the Church of the Annunciation, along with all of its precious frescoes. After the war, the Communist government turned the monastery into an agricultural academy. After the collapse of the Communism in Poland, the monastery was turned over to the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which immediately began the still ongoing conservation work and renovation of the monastery.
Supraśl Lavra is an important site of Slavic culture and history in the Eastern lands of Poland. The Codex of Supraśl, the oldest Slavic literary work in Poland and one of the oldest of its kind in the world, is named after this monastery (source: Wikipedia).
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