Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Search For Reconciliation in Church Building -- Minsk, Belarus and Nagasaki, Japan

"According to a legend, Helen Wojnilowicz, [of Minsk, Belarus and eighteen years old],being seriously ill and feeling death, had a dream. She dreamed about an angel who showed her an incredibly wonderful temple. Next morning Helen drew the temple and asked her parents to build such a church after her death.

After Helen – the last hope of the family [her young brother having died before her]–left the earth [on the day before her nineteenth birthday], Edward and Olympia Wojnilowicz made the decision to donate their wealth for constructing a Roman Catholic Church provided the church would be built according to their own project and nobody would interfere in the process of the construction.

For a long time Edward Wojnilowicz looked for an architect capable of making the dream a reality. At that time Art Nouveau and Neogothic styles dominated in Roman Catholic architecture. Expression and decorations of medieval Catholic Gothic style were opposed to the strict canons of Russian [and Belarussian] Orthodox Classicism. However, Edward Wojnilowicz searched for reconciliation, not confrontation [between the Catholic and Orthodox faiths in Belarus]. He chose a Roman style which flourished when the Eastern church was not separated from Rome.

Edward and Olimpia Wojnilowicz donated large funds to build a church in memory of their children. Construction work began in 1905. In November 1910, the St. Simon and St. Helena Church was solemnly consecrated [in Central Minsk, Belarus].

In September 1996, a statue of the Archangel Michael killing the Dragon was erected in front of Red Church [the St. Simon and St. Helena Church]. The bronze statue 4.5 meters high, represents the archangel Michael as a symbol of the victory and glory of Heaven.

In the Fall of 2000, a memorial composition of the Japanese Nagasaki bell was installed close to the Red Church. The bell represents a copy of the original bell named Angel from Urakami Cathedral that was destroyed during the nuclear bombing of August 9, 1945. The composition was given as a gift to Red Church and the Belarusian people by the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church of the city of Nagasaki (Japan)."

Source: www/

In Nagasaki, Japan, the Urakami Cathedral — a Romanesque-style building of brick and stone —was completed in 1925 after some 30 years of work. It was the largest Christian Church in the Orient. It was destroyed during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The rebuilt Cathedral was reopened in 1959


Post a Comment

<< Home