Vul. Kryvonosa, 01 – St. Clement Sheptytskyi Church

ID: 200

The complex of the Reformats monastery with the St. Casimir (St. Clement Sheptytsky) church and the hospital of the sisters of charity with the St. Vincent chapel (the academic building of the Lviv State University of Internal Affairs) belong to early examples of Baroque style in Lviv. According to the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR number 442 dated 6 September 1979, the church was entered into the National register of monuments under protection number 1327; according to the resolution of the Regional Executive Committee of the Lviv Region number 130 dated 26 February 1980, the hospital complex was entered into the Register of local monuments under protection number 139-M.


1630 – Reformat fathers are brought to Lviv.
1630s – a wooden church dedicated to St. Roch and St. Sebastian is constructed.
1648 – the wooden church and monastery are burnt during the 1648 siege of Lviv.
1656 – the construction of a new masonry church is finished.
1664 – the church is consecrated in the name of St. Casimir.
1714 – a hospital of the sisters of charity is founded.
1783 – the monastery is abolished; the plot and buildings are transferred to the sisters of charity for keeping an orphanage.
1879 – a reconstruction of the hospital premises under a project drawn up by Alfred Kamienobrodzki.
1950s - early 1970s –a corrective labour colony is located in the church, monastery and hospital premises.
1980s – the former St. Vincent’s hospital is occupied by a police school.
1990s – the Lviv State University of Internal Affairs is formed on the basis of the police school.
2007 – the renovated church is consecrated in the name of St. Clement Sheptytsky.

The Reformats monastery complex consists of the St. Casimir church, a monastery, where an orphanage led by the sisters of charity was organized later, and the St. Vincent’s hospital of the sisters of charity.

The monastic order of Reformats arose in Europe in the 16th century as a branch of the Franciscan order. Reformats came to Lviv from Przemysl in 1630 favoured by Stanisław Mniszek, a Lviv starosta (royal official), and Jan Andrzej Pruchnicki, a Roman Catholic archbishop. “Archbishop Jan Pruchnicki, desiring to serve his flock as well as possible… in November of the same year [1630] brought a new community of pious fathers belonging to the stricter order of St. Francis to Lviv and settled them in a wooden convent at the foot of the Zamkova mountain,” wrote Bartołomeusz Zimorowicz. For this purpose a plot was granted by Zofia Daniłowicz, the Ruthenian voivode’s pious wife. The construction of a wooden monastery and of a wooden church dedicated to St. Roch and St. Sebastian, two holy martyrs, was started at her expense in the same year.

These buildings had to be located on the slopes of the high Zamkova mountain, the foot of which stretched down to the town fortifications, in particular, to the line of earth trenches. It was difficult to construct buildings on these steep slopes.  Father Bonaventura, the future prior, tried attracting workers via his sermons. He promised that the barrows, filled with earth that people will be able to wheel downhill would count as their service to God and the community. Thus, in a short time the mountain was prepared for the construction of the new buildings. These wooden church and monastery were burnt during the 1648 siege of Lviv by Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s army.

In 1656 the construction of a new masonry church was finished at the cost of Mikołaj Biganowski, a castellan of Kamyanets; in 1664 it was consecrated in the name of St. Casimir. Monastery buildings were attached to the church’s north-western wall; closing on perimeter, they formed a courtyard. The architectural solution of the buildings is very modest; the smooth façades are enlivened only by a rhythm of windows.

The Reformat fathers’ monastery was abolished by the Austrian authorities in 1783; to keep an orphanage, their ground and buildings were transferred to the sisters of charity whose hospital was located on a neighbouring plot. The Reformats were moved to the St. Michael church of the Discalced Carmelites’ monastery.

In the course of its history, the convent complex of the sisters of charity was repaired and expanded more than once. Well-known Lviv architects, in particular, Wincenty Rawski and Alfred Kamienobrodzki, took part in its construction, as well as constructors Edmund Köhler, Kajetan Semenczak, and Marcin Krzywoszyński.

The hospital of the sisters of charity dedicated to St. Vincent was founded in 1714 to help the poor sick. The hospital complex consisted of several buildings: two of them containing hospital premises, a chapel connecting them, three utility buildings, and a shelter for the poor. These were built in the course of the 18th-20th centuries by architects Wincenty Rawski and Josef Fromm. In 1879 a substantial reconstruction of the hospital’s main building was carried out under a project designed by Alfred Kamienobrodzki. In 1911 a one-floor building for the poor was constructed on the hospital plot under a project drawn by Ignacy Kędzerski and Adam Opolski.

The orphanage named in honour of St. Casimir and the St. Vincent’s hospital, which were run by the sisters of charity, functioned till 1939.

The sisters of charity got from the Reformat fathers a vast plot at the foot of the Vysokyi Zamok mountain. A part of this ground was planted with an orchard which stretched along Klasztorna (now Zamkova) street and was fenced with a wall for a long time.

In the 1950s-1970s a corrective labour colony for underage girls was located in the orphanage premises while the St. Vincent’s hospital was occupied by a police school. From the 1980s the whole complex of the sisters of charity was used by the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs and later by analogous ministry of independent Ukraine. In 2007 the church was handed over to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and consecrated in the name of St. Clement Sheptytsky. Today the Reformats’ monastery and the charity hospital buildings are occupied by the academic building of the Lviv State University of Internal Affairs.

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St. Casimir church is a one-nave building with a rectangular apse. It is built of brick and hewn stone, its façades are plastered. Its character is rather modest: the church's side façades have no architectural decor, only the principal one has Baroque style features. It is terminated by a pediment with stone vases with statues of saints in its tympanum. Over the chancel the roof's crest is crowned with a Baroque-styled flèche. As old photos show, a babynets (narthex, a room for women) topped with a pediment of the same style, was once attached to the main entrance.

Generally, the church's layout is typical for the Reformats' order churches. In particular, this can be seen quite clearly from the interior. The nave is three bays long. By the entrance, a choir gallery is situated. Each bay is articulated by recessions in the exterior walls, which are formed by wide pillars supporting semicircular arches. These pillars also support the cross vaults and are decorated with pilasters.

A similar architecture can be seen in the Reformat fathers’ St. Michael church in Rava-Ruska, Lviv region.

Generally, st. Casimir church in Lviv is a valuable monument of the early Baroque architecture in Ukraine.


Adam Opolski – an architect.
Alfred Kamienobrodzki – a Lviv architect.
Bartołomeusz Zimorowicz – a Lviv chronicler who wrote a book entitled Leopolis triplex.
Bohdan Zynoviy Khmelnytsky – a hetman of Zaporozhian cossacks who led the Liberation War of the Ukrainian people (1648-1654).
Bonaventura – a monk, one of the first priors of the Lviv Reformats monastery
Wincenty Rawski (1810-1876) – a Lviv architect.
Jan Daniłowicz (Ivan Danylovych, 1570-1628) – a Ruthenian voivode.
Ignacy Kędzierski – an architect and urbanist.
Josef Fromm – a Lviv architect.
Kajetan Semenczak – a Lviv constructor.
Edmund Köhler – a Lviv constructor.
Clement Casimir Sheptytsky – a Studite monks’ archimandrite beatified by the Catholic Church.
Martin Krzywoszyński – a Lviv constructor.
Mikołaj Biganowski – a castellan of Kamyanets, the founder of the masonry St. Casimir church.
Zofia Daniłowicz (Żółkiewska) –the wife of Jan Daniłowicz, a Ruthenian voivode.
Stanisław Mniszek – a starosta (royal official) of Lviv.
Jan Andrzej Pruchnicki – a Roman Catholic archbishop of Lviv in 1614-1633.


1. State Archive of Lviv Oblast (DALO). Item 2/1/6393
2. DALO. Item 2/1/5659
3. Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Lviv (CDIAL). Item 146/84/2146
4. CDIAL. Item 146/84/49
5. CDIAL. Item 146/84/50
6. Chodynicki, Historya stołecznego królestw Galicyi і Lodomeryi miasta Lwowa od założenia jego aż do czasów teraznieyszych (Lwów, 1829).
7. Zygmunt Gloger, Encyklopedja staropolska, T. III (Warszawa, 1974).
8. Бартоломей Зиморович, Потрійний Львів (Львів, 2002), 169.
9. Володимир Вуйцик, Костел Св. Казимира у Львові, Вісник інституту Укрзахідпроектреставрація, 2004, Ч. 14, 95-96.
10. Денис Зубрицький, Хроніка міста Львова (Львів, 2002).

Material compiled by Oksana Boyko and Vasyl Slobodyan

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