St. Roch's Church, Białystok

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St. Roch Roman Catholic Church in Białystok, Poland was built between 1927–1946 in a modernistic style, designed by renowned Polish architect, professor Oskar Sosnowski.[1] Its official name is Church - Monument of Poland's Regained Independence (Kosciol-Pomnik Odzyskania Niepodleglosci) and it stands on the Saint Roch hill on Lipowa Street in Bialystok, in the spot where a Roman Catholic cemetery, founded in 1839, once stood. The cemetery was profaned by the Russians during the January Uprising.

St. Roch's Church in Białystok
Bazylika św. Rocha w Białymstoku
Sosnowski Christ King St Roch 2.jpg
53°08′04.5″N 23°08′40.5″E / 53.134583°N 23.144583°E / 53.134583; 23.144583Coordinates: 53°08′04.5″N 23°08′40.5″E / 53.134583°N 23.144583°E / 53.134583; 23.144583
Location1 Księdza Adama Abramowicza, Centrum District, Białystok

The church was built on initiative of local provost, reverend Adam Abramowicz, who in April 1926 announced competition for the design of a new complex. Seventy entries were sent, with the design of professor Sosnowski winning. The church is planned as an octahedron, with three masses set on one another. The first mass makes the main part of the complex, the additional two are located on the sides, making the attics. Originally, the church was commemorated to Mary, symbolized with a star, therefore Sosnowski used stars in his design, especially in elements of the vault. After his death (September 1939, during German siege of Warsaw), the construction was continued by another architect, Stanislaw Bukowski. During the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland during World War II (September 1939 - June 1941), Soviet authorities planned to open a circus in the unfinished building.

The church has an impressive, 83-meter tower, which is modeled after that of the Cathedral in Kamianets-Podilskyi. On the top, there is a 3-meter figure of Mary, which stands on a Piast-style crown. The vaults resemble traditional vaults found in houses of northeastern part of Poland. Near the church there is a rectory, also designed by Sosnowski. The whole complex is surrounded by walls, in reference to the tradition of fortified churches, common in eastern Poland.


  1. ^ A.Dolistowski, ‘Kościół św. Rocha w Białymstoku …’ in: Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki, Vol. 26 1981, part 3-4, pp 427-269.

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