Skaistkalne Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven
Brukna – Skaistkalne
Skaistkalne Church is one of the largest and most beautiful rural churches in Latvia. The large white-painted three-aisled basilica, the western end of which was erected by two impressive towers during World War II, was one of the first early Baroque two-tower cathedral-type churches in Latvia. It became a kind of model for a number of Latgale Catholic churches built later.
The construction of the grandiose stone cathedral in Skaistkalne began in the 17th century. In the 1980s, and in 1692. this building, unusually large and luxurious for the sacred buildings of Kurzeme, has been completed. The year of completion of the church can be read above the central door of the church in a plastered cartouche next to the motto of the Jesuit Order “AD MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM” (for the greater glory of God).
The interior of the church is a unique example of Italian Baroque in Latvia, in which lush architectural forms (vaults, massive pillars, richly profiled cornices, etc.) are richly complemented by relief stucco decoration and decorative painting.
The huge, about 12 m high, carved altar was built at the same time as the church. The currently visible altarpiece is a copy of P. Rubens’ painting “Christ on the Cross” made in the 19th century. In the altar, according to the Jesuit tradition, we can also see the carved figures of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, and Francis Xavier.