Photo of the Day for September 20, 2014

September 19, 2014 7:00 pm

River Haryn’ on an August evening.  Davyd-Haradok 2014.  Жнівеньскі вечар на рацэ Гарынь.  Давыд-Гарадок 2014 г.

Photo of the Day for September 19, 2014

September 18, 2014 7:00 pm

A question of preserving patrimony, Al’shany 2014.  Пытаньне аховы спадчыны, Альшаны 2014 г.

In contrast to the humorous, inventive sculptures in Ramjel’ (see photo of the day for September 18), mutant forms have invaded Al’shany, three kilometers away.  In Al’shany the Orthodox church of Paraskjeva Pjatnitsa is preparing to replace its graceful cupolas, built in accord with profound Polesian traditions of church architecture and in the spirit of Christian modesty embodied in the patron saint after whom the church is named, with garish structures.  One can only wonder how anyone could look at these alien onion domes — or at any of the other, all-too-numerous replacements of traditional Belarusian dome forms with pseudo-Russian gold onion domes — and not worry about the fate of our faith.

У адрозьненьні ад дасціпных і вынаходлівых скульптураў у в. Рамель (гл. фота дня з 18 верасьня), мутанты ўварваліся ў суседнія Альшаны.  У Альшаны царква Параскевы Пятніцы падрыхтуецца да замены хупавых бунькаў, пабудаваных паводле глыбокай палескай традыцыі царкоўнага дойлідства й у духу хрысьціянскай сьціпласьці самай Параскевы Пятніцы, аляпаватымі цыбулінамі.  Як гэта магчыма глядзець на гэтыя формы — ды на любую замену традыцыйнай беларускай бунькі блыскучай псэўда-расейскай цыбулінай — й не запітацца, з якім лёсам сутыкнецца наша хрысьціянская вера?

Photo of the Day for September 18, 2014

September 17, 2014 7:00 pm

Sculptural whimsy, Ramjel’ 2014.  Скулптурная фантазія, Рамель 2014 г.

It is exceptionally rare to see private initiatives, let alone humorous and whimsical sculptures, in public places in Belarus.  It is rarer still to find such expressions of public creativity in villages, where people are (naturally) preoccupied with practical and insistent matters of farming.  Thus it was refreshing to come upon this set of imaginative monuments to Soviet cars and motorcycles.

Надзелены ўяўленьнем помнік савецкім транспартным сродкам.

Photo of the Day for September 17, 2014

September 16, 2014 7:00 pm

The year 2014 marks seventy-five years since the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union which gave both the room to carve up the nations in between.  The pact allowed Hitler to start World War II by invading Poland from the west on September 1, 1939 and, in concert, the Soviet Union to invade from the east, on September 17; Nazi and Soviet forces held a joint victory parade in the Belarusian city of Bjares’tsje (Brest) on September 22 as both conquering powers began brutally to repress the lands and nations they had occupied and annexed.

According to the official Soviet version of events, a version which continues to be propagated by Belarusian authorities, September 17, 1939 marked the Soviet liberation of western Belarusian lands from a repressive Polish administration.  This Soviet assertion of liberation is a version of history long-ago rejected by reputable historians throughout the world, although Western governments accepted the Soviet annexation of these lands as a fait accompli.

Fighting valorously, though unaided, against both aggressors, the Polish army and civilians, including many Belarusian citizens of Poland, faced their Thermopylaes with the same courage displayed by the 300 at the original Thermopylae — a stand which anchored Western civilization.  In this seventy-fifth year after Molotov-Ribbentrop, on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland, and in the face of the unmanly reaction of the U.S., EU and Western European leadership to Russia’s Anschluss of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine and the West’s miserly aid to the Ukrainians fighting for their freedom and ours, let us remember the valor of the citizens of Poland who fought, died on the battlefield, or were murdered by — or with the complicity of — the Soviet occupiers.

Grave of an unknown citizen of Poland, one of scores of soldiers and civilians murdered after September 17, 1939 by marauders under Soviet authority in the village of  Padzjamjen’nje (Падзяменьне, Podziemienie) in today’s Kobryn District of southwestern Belarus.  The grave forms part of a memorial to citizens of Poland who fell in battle or were murdered by Soviet authorities in September-October 1939, and who, in a joint Belarusian-Polish operation in 2008, were exhumed and reburied with honor in the churchyard of the Roman Catholic church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kobryn.  Kobryn 2013.

Магіла невядомага грамядзяніна міжваеннай РП, забытага пасьля 17 верасьня 1939 г. у в. Падзяменьне марадзёрскай бандай пад эгідай савечкіх улалаў, могілкі й помнік грамядзянінам РП, палеглым у супраціве савецкаму ўварваньню ці забытым савецкамі ўладамі на Кобрыншчыне, ля касьцёла Ўнебаўзяцьця Найсьвяцейшай Панны Марыі, Кобрын.  Кобрын 2013 г.

Photo of the Day for September 16, 2014

September 15, 2014 7:00 pm

Evening prayer during June, the month in the Roman Catholic calendar dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Rymdzjuny 2014.

Вячэрныя малітвы ў чэрвень – месяц, прысьвечаны набажэнству да Найсьвяцейшага Сэрца Ісуса, Рымдзюны 2014 г.

After attending the celebratory Mass for Holy Trinity in Hjervjaty, I passed through the nearby village of Rymdzjuny, where I came across these 12 ladies as they prayed quietly in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Rymdzjuny, a Baltic place name, has a large Lithuanian population, reflected in the ladies’ language of prayer.

Photos of the Day for September 15, 2014

September 14, 2014 7:00 pm

End of the procession, feast of Holy Trinity, church of the Holy Trinity, Hjervjaty 2014.  На прыканцы працэсіі, сьвята Сьвятой Тройцы, касьцёл Сьвятой Тройцы, Гервяты 2014  г.


Photos of the Day for September 14, 2014

September 13, 2014 7:00 pm

Awaiting Communion, feast of Holy Trinity, church of the Holy Trinity, Hjervjaty 2014.  У чаканьні Сьвятой Камуніі, сьвята Сьвятой Тройцы, касьцёл Сьвятой Тройцы, Гервяты 2014 г.

Photos of the Day for September 13, 2014

September 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, feast of Holy Trinity, church of the Holy Trinity, Hjervjaty 2014.  Эўхарыстыя, сьвята Сьвятой Тройцы, касьцёл Сьвятой Тройцы, Гервяты 2014 г.

Photos of the Day for September 12, 2014

September 11, 2014 7:00 pm

Feast of Holy Trinity, church of the Holy Trinity, Hjervjaty 2014.  Сьвятой Тройцы, касьцёл Сьвятой Тройцы, Гервяты 2014 г.

The feast of Holy Trinity in Hjervjaty attracts a standing-room-only crowd of worshipers not only from surrounding districts of Belarus but indeed from parishes across the border in Lithuania.

There is an especially strong sense of solemnity at Mass in Hjervjaty.  In this regard it is worthy to recall that neither the ravages of Soviet occupation of Belarusian and Lithuanian lands nor the Soviet authorities’ remorseless propagation of atheism could shake the Christian faith, or stop the open practice of that faith, in Lithuania or prevent Belarusians from having their children baptized in churches in Lithuania.

Photos of the Day for September 11, 2014

September 10, 2014 7:00 pm

Children’s Mass on the eve of the feast of Holy Trinity, church of the Holy Trinity, Hjervjaty 2014.  Дзіцячая Сьв. Імша напярэдадні сьвята Сьвятой Тройцы, касьцёл Сьв. Тройцы, Гервяты 2014 г.

Hjervjaty lies in a belt of northwestern Belarusian towns and villages whose toponyms betray a heavy Baltic influence.  Like other towns in its immediate area, Hjervjaty has a significant Lithuanian-speaking population; the Lithuanian presence may help explain the atmosphere of pronounced solemnity in the church.  In Hjervjaty Holy Mass is celebrated in both Belarusian and Lithuanian, and the annual feast day of Holy Trinity attracts heavy Lithuanian attendance from across the border.

The feast of Holy Trinity is so strongly attended that the parish holds a special Mass for children — equally heavily attended — on the Saturday evening before Trinity Sunday.