Костел святої Марії Магдалини (Львів)Posted on 2014.01.11 at 18:14
Current Location: Vulytsya Stepana Bandery 10, Lviv, Ukraine
Lviv architecture is very much European - old streets easily match parts of Krakow, Prague or even Vienna. Churches of all possible denominations stand in various parts of Lviv. An interesting and very lucky discovery was The Church of St. Mary Magdalen. Built by Dominican Order in 17th century it was originally designated to be an seminary, but converted to monastery. During Austrian rule, monastery was converted to female prison. It was probably during this time St. Mary Magdalen was chosen as patron saint of this church.
After the revolution, entire monastery was given to Lviv Polytechnical institute and church was converted again… in to gym and few years later to dance hall. Locals used to say "going for dances at Magdalenas". Just before the World War 2, it was converted to concert hall and magnificent organ, built by Czech Brothers Rieger workshop, was installed in place of original church entrance. Main hall was accessible through two side entrances. In 1969 church was given to Lviv Philharmony.
Most amazing is that during all these conversions, the main altar of the church survived, even when it was hidden behind false wooden wall, during the time as gym and dance hall. Czech organ was also re-built and renovated several times, each renovation adding new cluster of pipes, until it became the largest organ in Ukraine and one of the top 10 organs in Europe (according to it's keeper of course).
In 1991 the church was re-opened for religious services. Since the stage and the organ are at the opposite ends of the hall and public sits facing one way or another, church benches have movable backs, which could be flipped one way or another with light movement.