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PASIENE (POSSIN)

             Visitors to Ludza prepared to brave a 40 km long, relatively dull stretch of road to the southeast are guaranteed a true aesthetic treat at the end in the form of the Pasiene Catholic Church. This majestic structure right on the border with Russia on the banks of the ancient course of the Zilupe River is one of the greatest treasures of Latgale’s sacral architecture and art. Initially it was a Dominican cloister church.
              The Dominican monks began their missionary work in this region at the end of the 17th century. After the fire of 1753 in which the wooden structures they had built were destroyed, the Dominicans began building the masonry Pasiene cloister and church buildings. The new structures were consecrated in 1777.
           The two-story cloister building burned down in 1837 and was not fully restored. Only a small fragment of it has survived to today. However, the outstanding two-towered church, whose slim, white body dominates the featureless terrain for kilometres around, has survived virtually unchanged from the time of its construction.
           Upon entering the church, the visitor feels as if he/she has entered a different, unreal world. This effect is created by the bright glow of the overhead lighting, the seemingly flying angels and the gracious, theatrical poses of the figures of the saints. Their aristocratic refinement and sentimental expressions demonstrate direct links with Western European Rococo. The complex, original church interior was created in stucco and plaster most likely both foreign and local masters.

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