St Mary’s Basilica

Church in Chełm

The hill in the middle of Chełm is crowned with the white St Mary’s Basilica and a complex of religious buildings that were once a bishop’s palace and a monastery. The late-baroque basilica was rebuilt in the mid-18th century on the site of the 13th-century church that originally stood here. The sober interior lacks much decoration, except for the silver antependium (hanging) at the high altar depicting Polish knights paying homage to Our Lady of Chełm.

The icon of the Madonna overlooking the altar is a replica; the original was removed by the Russians during WWI and is now in Ukraine. The free-standing 40m-high belfry, originally built in the 19th century in the Orthodox style, was later given a partial neoclassical makeover.