The Church of the Transfiguration in the urban village of Yuratishki

Grodno region is the only place in Belarus in the territory of which in almost every even the smallest village, there are historical attractions, such as Catholic churches that have survived up to now. The Church of the Transfiguration in the urban village of Yuratishki of Ivye district of Grodno region is one of the most famous and popular among the residents of this area.

According to some historical records, a Catholic parish was formed in Yuratishki in the XV century. It is true that the first Catholic Church was constructed only in 1532 by using the funds of the famous chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Albrecht Gashtold. Half a century later, the church was given to the fold of the Uniate Church as a result of the Brest Union. It was as such up to 1839.

Since the early XIX century, the Uniate Church had suffered significant changes. In 1839, Nicolay I signed a decree according to which all Greek-Catholic churches had to become Orthodox. All Catholics had to change denomination. Of course, many flatly refused to obey that order. And it is worth saying that it was not in vain as the Church of the Transfiguration was returned to Catholics one century later, and the parish became a part of the urban village of Yuratishki. A new priest was appointed – Antony Tvarovsky that, unfortunately, could not be a senior priest of the church for long – he was brutally killed during the Great Patriotic War.

During the handover of the church to Catholics, the then owner of Yuratishki Veronika Radkevich donated money for the reconstruction and restoration of the wooden church. The latest renovation of the church was carried out in 2003 – and as such we can see it today.

The church was opened to parishioners after the Great Patriotic War. However, the Soviet government policy required the closure of a large number of religious institutions in the second hath of the XX century. The church of Yuratishki suffered the same fate. The building of the church was transformed into a cultural center in 1950. The church suffered even more tragic events five years later: it was agreed to dismantle it into construction materials in order to build a park on the basis of the cultural center. By the way, the life of the cultural institution was short – the building was demolished.

The Catholic parish still exists in the village. It was opened in 1949, and the priest Mariush Ilyashevich was at the head of it. Only fifty years later it was agreed to construct a new church. Its sizes were rather small – 32m long and 20m wide, and the capacity was 500 people. The building is decorated with a high tower that completes the whole architectural composition. The whole structure is made of light-rose brick and designed in the style of Neo-Gothic with some features of Greek-Roman architecture. The complex of the Church of the Transfiguration comprises also dwelling premises for the priest, monks and guests. There are also warehouses for products and other things. Within the church, there is an organ that the countrymen often come to listen to.