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Chapel of the Boim family
Since 1900 year – to the year 2004th. Lithograph of a break of centuries. And Blacky in Igor Fomy's objective
Каплица Боимов в 1900г.

Black pearl

Translated by Dictum Factum (Kyiv)


Unbelievable construction. It seems that traditional chapel had been turned out, and the iconostasis appeared outside: the entire facade is covered with a splendid carving, there are lions with gags of rings in muzzles at the foot, and on top there is a sad Christ sitting on the bench.


The interior continues the style begun by the western facade: these cassoons on a dome, these bombastic epitaphs, these winged angelic heads, the roods, armies of figures and statuettes - can it really be true? How at the beginning of XVII century could the man use a cutter so skillfully and subjugate a stone?

The chapel was being built near to the Lviv Cathedral in 1609-1615, probably, by an architect Andrzej Bemer. A sculptural décor, possibly, was designed by J.Pfister, G.Shtolts, J.Belyj and S.Cheshek.


Pay one grivna as an entrance fee and admire an internal decoration of a chapel. All has remained almost without changes except only murals (Stucco), once they were polychromatic.


The first half of XVII century is the transition period from the Renaissance to the Baroque. It shows! It is the transition from the severe simplicity of forms of the Renaissance to the spiral chaos of the Baroque. The bottom deck which was created by an unknown master is simpler. The middle of eastern wall, built by G.Shtolts, is already much more expressive, and the dome was performed with the cutter of the known master of that time of J.Pfister: it is the absolute carved bacchanalia.


Two family portraits on the western wall are the remains of family gallery (of)the Boims. On a southern wall two carved epitaphs, (those are the arts)that is an art of J.Pfister, have remained.

In February, 2004, "The Lviv newspaper" wrote, that before the entrance door to the chapel a hole had appeared: one of slabs by which the yard before the monument was paved had come down. I will quote a little:

"In course of the examination in crypt of chapel archeologists saw the deep niche which was blocked up with construction waste. This finding disturbed researchers, as a breach on a facade over it was spackled during restoration of 1927. The breach, according to researchers, points to an unsatisfactory load-carrying capability of the arch of crypt.

(...) During researches the experts were surprised by that fact that on one of slabs there was not snow at all. It generally occurs over heating mains. Apparently, the heat from crypt reaches surface - for this reason this slab came down, having opened the interstice formed by meltwater and rain water. It testifies that around a chapel there are emptiness caused by (the) absence of the drainage system. (The)Department of protection of the historical milieu of Lviv decided to backfilled the hole with sand, thus mothballing it".

Who are these Boims?

The illustration from the book about the Galicia published in 1936 in Berlin. Photo Dr. Wilhelm Nölting
Dr. Wilhelm Nölting

Hungarian George (Dziordzi, Dziurdzi) in Polish - Jerzy Boim (year of his birth is unknown - 1617) arrived to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) with the letter of  Stephen Báthory where acted as the royal secretary, then settled in Lviv, married with Jadwiga Niżniowska and fitted in with wealthy petty bourgeois of Lviv. And he settled there in such a way that was in session at the Town hall as a councillor.

The next three generations on spear side of the Boim family all will have the second name Jerzy in honour of the primogenitor of the family.


Already the native citizen of Lviv Paul Jerzy Boim (1581 – December of 1641), the Jerzy’s son, was pretty known around the city. Though the Boim Jr. obtained medical qualification in the University of Padua, and in 1600 as the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Medicine was even a syndic of artists of Padua. In 1613 he has returned back home to redeem a debts of his father-in-law Zigmound Blezler. At the same time he fulfilled duties of the housekeeper (superintendent) of the hospital of St. Spirit at the church of the same name. In 1620-1641 he was, as well as the father once, a rajets (an official position in the office of municipal authority), and since 1627 reached the mayor of Lviv. Together with other officials of Lviv he founded an altar of St. Rochus in Cathedral in 1623, when the city famished and suffered from wholesale deaths. Even so he did not forget his profession, practised medicine though he did not shun also the profitable trade: competed with gdansk merchant Jan Tomson, supplying potash to Gdansk from manors of prince Yarema Wiszniowecki, and also wheat.

He possesed a big house of “Dziurdziowska” near to a Jesuit church (10, Tribunalna st.). He married Dorota Barczówna (died in 1644). He had a daughter Kate and six sons. By the way, Pawel Boim cut off Jerzy, his first-born, with a shilling for obscene business dealing: because he instead of multiplying the well-being thoughtlessly lost all. He also has the other sons: Pawel (as well as the father, the medico), Michal (became one of the Jesuits. Probably, examples abound - neighbours), Mikolai and Jan (they are merchants). The youngest son, Benedikt Paul, also became one of the Jesuits. The career is not a bad chap too.


The external walls of "a black pearl" of Lviv are decorated with portraits and the arms of Jerzy, Jadwiga, and carved figures of Jerzy Boim, Paul, other members of a family, and magnificent epitaphs in a baroque style have remained in interiors.

Till now the University of Padua keeps among other relics of time Pawel Boim's arms, and arms of one more student - Michal Boim (1679).

It is surprising, that having so many children  the Boim family has quickly enough become extinct. All children of the grandson Jerzy, also named Jerzy Boim, died the childless. Only Michal Boim (died in 1690) left three sons: Michal, Rafal and Alexander. It is unknown what happened to them.


Translated by Dictum Factum (Kyiv)

Some more illustrations:

1868. Magazine "Strzecha". A similar view of a chapel, but of 1998. Two photos of beginning ХХ century of the known Belarus master of photo Yan Bulgak. Jury Himch’s picture. A photo of interiors hence: www.wspolnota-polska.org.pl/index.php
Kaplica Boimow w 1868r
Lwow, kaplica Boimow, 1998
Jan Bulhak. Lwow
Jan Bulhak. Kaplica Boimow
Juri Himicz

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