The Church of John the Evangelist on Varyazhka is located on a small hill on the bank of the Dnieper. It is one of the three churches, which were built in pre-Mongolian period. Another church of 12 century - the Church of Peter and Paul - is just opposite it across the Dnieper.
The Church of John the Evangelist was built by Prince Roman Rostislavovich in 1173. Now the one-pier church looks rather modest, but originally it was richly decorated with gold and enamel, according to chronicles. Today within the building the frescoes remained only in some places. Initially, the children of Smolensk boyars and posad (trading quarter) elite were taught in the church.
In the period of the Polish intervention of 1611-1654 the church was turned into a Polish Roman Catholic church and in 18 century it was significantly rebuilt. In 1933 the Church of John the Evangelist was given to a library and in 1991 it was returned to the Church.