Photos of the Day for August 21, 2014

August 20, 2014 7:00 pm

In remembrance of Home Army (AK) soldiers killed at Surkonty August 21, 1944 by Soviet Interior Ministry (NKVD) troops.

Вечная памяць салдатам Арміі Краёвай забытых сіламі НКВС 21 жніўня 1944 г. у Суркантах.

Honor i pamięć Żołnierzom AK podległym w walce z NKWD w Surkontach 21 sierpnia 1944.

The Home Army (AK, Armia Krajowa in Polish), formed in 1942, was the principal anti-German resistance movement in occupied Poland, which included western Belarusian, western Ukrainian, and Lithuanian lands.  The AK, which fought valiantly against the Germans, was the military arm of the Polish government in exile in London, and thus a priori considered a hostile force by Stalin and the Soviet regime.  Today the AK is honored in Poland and other western countries.  Belarusian authorities have not prevented local groups from placing monuments to the AK in cemeteries and churches but, in a continuation of Soviet ideology, the official Belarusian stance remains negative.

In pushing the Germans out and re-occupying Belarusian and Lithuanian lands in 1944, the Soviets began in July to try to disarm, and then to imprison and kill, AK units.  Surviving AK units retreated westward, pursued by Soviet Interior Ministry (NKVD) troops.  On August 21, 1944 NKVD troops attacked a unit of retreating AK soldiers at Surkonty in what is today the Voranava District in northwestern Belarus.  Eighteen AK soldiers, including the unit’s commander Maciej Kalenkiewicz (“Kotwicz”), died in the course of the five-hour battle; 17 wounded were then bayoneted by the NKVD troops.  Surkonty was the first open battle between Soviets and the AK and proved to the AK leadership that the Soviets were as implacable enemies as the Germans.

Thanks to patient and persistent Polish efforts after 1989, the soldiers’ remains, which had lain in unmarked, untended graves for almost half a century, were exhumed in 1991 and reburied in a small cemetery, now sheltered by trees which have grown up since the re-interment.

AK Cemetery in Surkonty 2014.  Могілкі салдатаў АК у Суркантах 2014 г.  Cmentarz AK w Surkontach 2014.

 

Photo of the Day for August 20, 2014

August 19, 2014 7:00 pm

Mats’vjej with His Dog, Tsjerablichy 2014.  Мацьвей са сваім сабачкам, Цераблічы 2014 г.

Photos of the Day for August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014 7:00 pm

The August 19 Apple-Blessing festival (feast of the Transfiguration) in Azdamichy’s church of the Holy Trinity is one of the parish’s most important feasts in the cycle of the year.  There is an air of celebration and purpose as Father Aljaksandr makes three circuits of the churchyard to bless parishioners’ apples and pears at the end of the liturgy:  as soon as people kiss the cross on the third circuit they hurry to the cemetery to leave on family graves some of the fruit that has been blessed.

Photo of the Day for August 18, 2014

August 17, 2014 7:00 pm

The Apple-Blessing (feast of the Transfiguration) church service in Azdamichy’s church of the Holy Trinity is one of the parish’s most important feasts in the cycle of the year.  Families make a point of having their children and grandchildren take communion, and there is a special sense of joy and anticipation as parishioners await the blessing of apples at the end of the liturgy.

Awaiting children’s communion, feast of the Transfiguration/Apple-Blessing festival (Jablychny Spas), Azdamichy 2013.  У чаканьні дзіцячага прычасьця, Праабражэньне Гасподняе/Яблычны Спас, Аздамічы 2013 г.

Photo of the Day for August 17, 2014

August 16, 2014 7:00 pm

The Apple-Blessing (feast of the Transfiguration) church service in Azdamichy’s church of the Holy Trinity is one of the parish’s most important feasts in the cycle of the year.  Families make a point of including their children and grandchildren in the main rites of anointing (as here) and communion, and there is a special sense of joy and anticipation as parishioners await the blessing of apples at the end of the liturgy.

Anointing, feast of the Transfiguration/Apple-Blessing festival (Jablychny Spas), Azdamichy 2013.  Мірапамазаньне, Праабражэньне Гасподняе/Яблычны Спас, Аздамічы 2013 г.

Photo of the Day for August 16, 2014

August 15, 2014 7:00 pm

The Apple-Blessing festival, which contains strong pre-Christian elements, is commingled with the Orthodox celebration of the feast of the Transfiguration on August 19.  This is the second of three August harvest festivals in the Orthodox calendar.  In memory of children who have died young, people, especially women, avoid eating new apples or other newly-ripe fruit before the blessing.  It is a traditional Belarusan belief that deferring the eating of apples permits deceased children to receive apples from the Lord in heaven first.

The Apple-Blessing church service in Azdamichy’s parish of the Holy Trinity is one of the parish’s most important feasts in the cycle of the year.  Families make a point of having their children participate fully (as here, where a boy kisses the icon on entering the church), and there is a special sense of joy and anticipation as parishioners await the blessing of apples at the end of the liturgy.

Feast of the Transfiguration/Apple-Blessing festival (Jablychny Spas), Azdamichy 2013.  Праабражэньне Гасподняе/Яблычны Спас, Аздамічы 2013 г.

Photo of the Day for August 15, 2014

August 14, 2014 7:00 pm

Bishop Antoni Dzjam’janka blesses the first fruits of the season, feast of the Assumption, Pinsk 2013.

Біскуп Антоні Дзям’янка асьвячае садавіну й кветкі, сьвята Ўнебаўзяцьця, Пінск 2013 г.

Photo of the Day for August 14, 2014

August 13, 2014 7:00 pm

Honey-Blessing festival, Davyd-Haradok 2013.  Мядовы Спас, Давыд-Гарадок 2013 г.

The August 14 feast of the Maccabees/Honey-Blessing festival is the first of three major harvest-related rites in the Orthodox liturgical period of the Dormition fast.  Throughout Belarus parishioners take honey, water and sometimes small bouquets of flowers to be blessed at the end of the service.  Reflecting the generations-old tradition of horticulture in villages around Davyd-Haradok, the focus here is on the blessing of flowers rather than honey.

Photo of the Day for August 13, 2014

August 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Honey-Blessing festival, Davyd-Haradok 2013.  Мядовы Спас, Давыд-Гарадок 2013 г.

Reflecting the generations-old tradition of horticulture in villages around Davyd-Haradok, the focus here is on the blessing of flowers rather than honey.

Photo of the Day for August 12, 2014

August 11, 2014 7:00 pm

Feast of the Maccabees/Honey-Blessing Festival, Davyd-Haradok 2013.  Макаўе/Мядовы Спас, Давыд-Гарадок 2013 год.

The August 14 feast of the Maccabees/Honey-Blessing festival is the first of three major harvest-related rites in the Orthodox liturgical period of the Dormition fast.  Throughout Belarus parishioners take honey, water and sometimes small bouquets of flowers to be blessed at the end of the service.  Reflecting the generations-old tradition of horticulture in villages around Davyd-Haradok, the focus here is on the blessing of flowers.