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`The Lithauanian princes who conquered Kam'yanetz, the Koriatovitchi, founded the original wooden church on this location in 1370. In 1375 Ludwig of Anjou, King of Poland, asked Pope Gregory XI for a bishop for Kam'yanets, thus turning the church into a cathedral. Parts of the original cathedral, dedicated in 1428 remain, but there are also parts dated as late as 1830. Bishop Jakov Buchatsky (1502-1517) built a stone cathedral. Bishop Leonard Slonchevski (1547-1563) added to the main building ,building several chapels to Mary (on the southwest side) and the Holy Sacrament (on the northern side). Then a fire in 1616 required extensive restoration including a new roof. Bishop Paul II Volutski (1622) added the bishop's stone palace. Bishop Paul Pesetsky (627-1640) built the chapel to the Immaculate Conception. This changed the general appearance of the church from Gothic to Renaissance style. In 1644 Bishop Michael Dzyalinsky moved the main chapel to the east and added from the eastern side the Presbitery and widened the central nave. The Turks held the city from 1672 to 1699 and converted the church into a mosque. They added the minaret seen here and a high pulpit inside. When the Poles recaptured the city and restored the church they decided to retain the minaret. The minaret is 36.5 meters high. It consists of a chapel the Turks blocked with stone as a base with the 20 meter high column above it. Inside the tower there is a circular staircase with 145 steps. The Polish bishop Ian Gninsky sanctified the Cathedral when it was retaken from the Turks. Bishop Nikolay Dembrovsky (1740-1757) repaired the cathedral with the help of architect Jan de Vitt (who built also many other structures). They added a new, Baroque main chapel and many wooden statues. The bishop's armorial crest and a memorial stone are at the front of the cathedral. In 1756 they added the gilded copper statue of the Blessed Mother on top. It is 3.5 meters tall. It was made in Gdansk. The Virgin stands on a globe and blesses the town. In 1820 the statue was hit by lightening and in 1823 was bent during a storm. The cathedral was again repaired between 1853 and 1860. Another fire destroyed the roof in 1862. In 1798 the diocese was canceled by Catherine II. It was restored by Paul in 1798 and again cancelled, by Alexander II, in 1866. Pope Benedict XV restored it in 1918, but of course the church was closed by the Communists and after World War II turned it into a museum of atheism. It has been functioning again since 1990. When I attended Mass on Sunday, the service was sung and spoken in Polish. (See 15 on the city plan.)


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