Letter of the Friends-2 (c) 2003 Reader Methodios Stadnik
Icon of the Protection of the Mother of God (Pokrov)
To all the friends of the Belarusan Greek-Catholic Church we send our best wishes and heartfelt thanks for every form of solidarity. This is a tremendous help to us in our work of evangelization.
In the following, we would like to share with you some of the special moments that occurred in the life of our Greek-Catholic Church in Belarus during 1998.
THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PONTIFICATE OF JOHN PAUL II
On October 16, 1998 the Holy Father John Paul II marked the 20th anniversary of his election as Pontiff. To help celebrate this solemn occasion, a large Catholic pilgrimage traveled to Rome from Belarus (about 1000 pilgrims). Among the largely Latin Rite Catholic pilgrimage was also present a group of Belarusan Greek Catholics.
October 17, the Belarusan pilgrims were received in a special audience by the Pope. The best wishes of the Belarusan Greek-Catholic Church were conveyed to the Holy Father by Reverend Archimandrite Sergius Gajek, Visitator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" for the Greek-Catholics in Belarus.
Saturday, June 27, 1998, the Greek-Catholic community solemnly celebrated at Minsk the 50th Birthday of the Most Reverend Protopresbyter Jan Matusevich--Dean of the Greek-Catholic Church Deanery in Belarus. The Divine Liturgy was presided over by the Most Reverend Archimandrite Sergius Gajek, Apostolic Visitator for the Greek-Catholics in Belarus.
The greatly esteemed Father Jan Matusevich died on September 2 at Minsk and was buried in the historic "Calvary" cemetery in Minsk. We recommend the soul of the late Father Jan Matusevich to the prayers of our friends.
The construction of the small Church at Polatsk, dedicated to St. Paraskeva of Polatsk, is drawing to a close. The Church already serves as a place of worship but certain final tasks yet rcmain to be completed. To all who contributed to this construction with their offerings and with their own hands — a heartfelt thank-you!
photo of the church at Polatsk to left
Our thanks in advance to all those who want to help us in the future.
The small Church of Polatsk has already become a place of pilgrimage. The faithful, even families, spontaneously arrive here from all over the country to experience a few days of spiritual renewal by entering into the rhythm of monastic life and prayer led by the Studite monks and nuns
Moreover, during the summer, the first pilgrimages were received from abroad.
The Summer of 1998, in keeping with recent tradition, was devoted to formation courses for various groups, especially for families and the pastoral leaders of our parishes.
photo to right: some members of St Paraskeva parish in Polatsk
In 1996, starting with the initiative of the Greek-Catholic parish of Grodno, a cross was erected and blessed at Albertyn (near the city of Slonim) in commemoration of the labor and sacrifices ot the Jesuit Fathers of the Oriental Rite who worked in Albertyn in the years 1923–1942. The cross is visited by the faithful of various parishes--as shown in photo above.
To commemorate the victims of ithe persecutions of the Belarusans by the Stalinist regime, at Belchytsa (not far from Polatsk), at the site of the executions by firing squad, a memorial cross was erected (photo to left). Father Pachomius, a Studite monk from Polatsk, blessed the cross on June 7, 1998.
For any inquiries please use the following address:
Friends of Carkva
via Corsica, 1
1 ― 00198 Roma, Italy
To Page Three: The Catholic Church in Poland--1990, Polish Statistical Yearbook 1995