The Church of the Cross Exaltation in Pervomayskaya village

There have been several occasions in the world history when the Catholic and Orthodox churches came into antagonism. Sometimes priority was given to the Orthodoxy, and at times the Catholic Church became a leader. Belarus was no exception in that sense. Over centuries, Catholics and Orthodox Christians fought for absolute domination in all towns of Belarus. However, a few places can boast the fact that the Catholic and Orthodox churches coexist peacefully in one territory. Pervomayskaya village of Schuchinsk district of Grodno region deserves a special attention in these terms, and its residents can be described as tolerant and devoutly faithful people. Here in the immediate vicinity there function an Orthodox and Catholic parishes – the Temple of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God and the Church of the Cross Exaltation.

The village has such an interesting history of renaming that it can be registered in the Book of Records. Over five centuries of its existence, it changed its name six times – ranging from Zabalatye that characterized the boggy terrain at the time, then to Sabakintsy (after the surname of the owner of the village) and to the modern name Pervomayskaya (by decree of the Soviet authorities). The construction of the Church of the Cross Exaltation was started immediately after the First World War, when the German invaders left the territory of Belarus. Two towers decorating the building of the church were added later – in 1934. However, the construction of the church had not been finished by the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

The church began to serve a cultural center for the countrymen after the end of hostilities, and later there was storage. And only in the 1990s the church was restored and newly consecrated. It was a very joyful event for the countrymen as it had been no Catholic parish in the village for a long time. There were several senior priests in the church in the early XX century.

Today the local residents that, by the way, almost all speak Belarusian do not pass by the building of the church. Elderly people often come here to seek for advice, calm and humility. Younger people come to pray and light a candle for the health or for the eternal rest of relatives or beloved people. Tourists and guests of the village also visit this site.

Some parts of the church are far from satisfactory: the plaster is crumbled and scratched; the walls of the building gradually go to wreck. However, it doesn’t diminish the majesty of the building, its uniqueness and monumentality. It can be said that it reflects the course of time and events that leave indelible traces on the exterior of the Church of the Cross Exaltation.