Italy is famous for its many Christian shrines, especially believers love to visit the city of Bari, the capital of Puglia. Italy in the number of attractions and cultural monuments takes first place in Europe. For any religious person, this city is of great value. Here is the church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (Basilica di San Nicola) - the Russian church dedicated to the saint, revered by many believers, where his relics are stored.
The Barsky Castle Basilica is a unique monument of Russian architecture, which is decorated with a ceremonial facade, richly decorated with carvings and crowned with arches. A beautiful architectural complex among other structures of the new city stands out with impressive proportions and architectural forms.
Many architectural structures arose outside of Russia, but almost all of them were built in the Moscow or Yaroslavl style. The city of Bari is famous for its grandiose complex, which resembles an old Russian tower. The building was made in the Novgorod-Pskov style of architecture of the 15th century. The stone one-domed church is designed for 260 people.
The courtyard of Bar-grad consists of a beautiful temple, cozy buildings for the reception of pilgrims, a delightful large garden. This complex is a spiritual refuge for travelers from Russia who visit the city in the hope of seeing the relics of the Saint.
The church and the courtyard were built on money, which was collected throughout the Russian Empire. Since for a long time it was not possible to restore the church of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker in the Lycian World, in 1911 the committee of Bar-grad was founded, which was protected by the emperor. The organization’s task was to erect a barracks in Bari for travelers who flocked to the relics of the great miracle worker, as well as the construction of a church that adequately reflected Orthodox art.
The celebration of the memory of the Miracle Worker was established on December 19 and May 22, and then the Bargrad meeting was arranged. The committee was also given donations to the church from Princess Elizabeth Feodorovna in the amount of 3 thousand rubles, 10 thousand and an impressive amount of 246 thousand rubles were received from Emperor Nicholas II, which were previously collected at the church in Mir Lycian.
In the spring of 1912, a project was already prepared, compiled by the famous connoisseur of ancient temple architecture A.V. Shchusev, the architect’s personal archive has preserved many working drawings, sketches, various options for creating interior decoration designed to the smallest detail. However, due to the revolution that began, work was stopped, and the architectural monument is still without a rich interior.
Italy and Russia set their national flags on the construction site when a ceremony began to begin construction in 1913. In 1914, a shelter for pilgrims was already operating, and later it became temporary for refugees.
Russian emigrants became overseers of church property, seeking to preserve it for a revived Russia. But in the 30s of the 20th century, the temple passed into the ownership of the city municipality, against the will of the people who built it. The inn and the church in Bari were abandoned for a while, the pilgrimage to the holy relics ceased.
The basilica lost almost all the church property, valuable items such as a library, antique utensils, several dozen ancient icons disappeared without a trace. For the church, magnificent decoration and ancient icons had already been prepared, but because of the revolution it was impossible to deliver them from the Russian Empire. They planned to entrust the artist K. S. Petrov-Vodkin with painting the new church, but he could not leave.
Russian believers in Italy became much less after the revolution, and only thanks to the large Greek diaspora of the Orthodox faith, who especially venerated St. Spyridon of Trimythous (Salamis), the lower parish was consecrated in his honor in 1921.
Only in 2009, Italy transferred the Basilica to the Russian Department, and now the temple again became the property and pride of the Russian Church. Simultaneously with the creation of the temple complex in Bari, the construction of a new Bargrad temple in St. Petersburg was laid. The Italian and Russian Bargrad churches are even similar - single-domed, square, bell towers are located above the western walls, a gable roof, domes that look like a military helmet.
The iconostasis of the Compound
The iconostasis is a canonical composition: the image of the Savior and the Mother of God icon with the Baby - to the right of the Royal Gate, the image of St. Nicholas - to their left. From left to right in the iconostasis there are also the icons of St. Tsarina Alexandra, St. Healer and Great Martyr Panteleimon, St. Demetrius of Solunsky, Great Martyr and Victorious George, St. Sergius of Radonezh, Alexander Nevsky, St. Seraphim of Sarov, the Wonderworker Spiridon of Trimifunta. Further, the Basilica is decorated with icons of Saints Basil, Gregory and John, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir and Princess Olga.
In Puglia, the icon of the holy disinterested Cosmas and Damian is very revered; it was placed on the north side above the entrance to the temple. The Icon of the Virgin "Sign" was written by the artist A. A. Benois-Konsky together with his wife. Below the Virgin icon is the Savior on the Throne.
Among the shrines in the lower aisle is the icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, where his relics are stored. Since 1087, the holy relics of St. Nicholas have been carefully preserved in the chapel of the Basilica. On the right side of the entrance to the upper temple of the basilica is a great temple image.
Above the entrance to the basilica there is a mosaic icon depicting the Savior, Mother of God and St. Nicholas with the gospel in hand, written by Italian artist Niccolo Colonna in 1967.
An impressive chandelier was made in Serbia on the collected donations of Russian emigrants. Established in 1998, it stands out from the snow-white arch. In front of the architectural complex is a sculpture of St. Nicholas, masterfully executed by Russian sculptor V. M. Klykov.
Pilgrimage to the relics
Even after his repose, St. Nicholas does not cease to patronize his spiritual children, listening to their prayers and assisting the sick and suffering. Especially his prayers help children, the elderly, the wretched and sick, merchants, sailors and travelers. The saint is revered in all faiths - Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim and even pagans.
Thousands of Russian pilgrims come to Bari every year. Orthodox pilgrims have the right to perform services and prayers, to see the healing relics of the saint. Many travelers receive divine healing help from the great saint of God. The city of Bari can be proud of having such a shrine as the venerable icon of the saint and his power.
- Address: Bari, Basilica of St. Nicholas (Basilica di San Nicola)
- The church is open daily from 7:30 - 13:00 and from 16:00 - 19:30. the entrance is free.
- Every Thursday at 10:30 the church begins the service with the Eucharist (except Lent).
- Prayer service with akathist: Thursday - 16:00, on other days - 11:00.
- How to get there: in the city of Bari there is a ferry to the port, the temple is located next to the sea coast. You can walk from the port to the church in 10 minutes, and the train station is a 15-minute walk.
- Official site:bargrad.com