Lazarica Church, or The Church of the Holy Prince Lazar to give its proper title, is a true Birmingham gem, part quirky, beautiful, a little known slice of Byzantine in Bournville.
The church, which is of the Serbian Orthodox denomination, was constructed after the Second World War for Yugoslavian political refugees. Situated on Cob Lane, a stone's throw from Cadbury World, tucked behind a row of trees.
It is an incredible piece of spiritual architecture that’s humble and unassuming, typically Brummie.
Designed in collaboration between architect Dr Dragomir Tadic and Bournville Village Trust, the building’s restrained beauty is a fantastic modern example of the Serbo-Byzantine style. The historical ties between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the community of Bournville stretch back to the first quarter of the 20th century when Elizabeth Cadbury sponsored thirteen Serbian refugee children of World War I.
The interior is a stark contrast to the churches British people are familiar with, there are no ornate pews (as traditional Orthodox churches do not have seating), there’s no grand stained glass windows showing scenes from the Bible, the design is intimate.
However, the frescoes which adorn the walls are rich and exotic, with imagery depicted in a palette of predominantly gold, green and blue.
In the centre is the grand candelabrum, which dispels the darkness of the windowless worship space.
As a place of worship the Lazarica is more of an unknown space than a hidden one, but we’re always keen to raise awareness of buildings that are under appreciated compared to some of the city centre architecture.
Birmingham isn’t as famous for its religious buildings as it is its civic masterpieces, yet works like the Lazarica Church do well to remind us of the amazing spiritual architecture found within the city.
By Jack Tasker and Steve Townsend