The Monument of the Four Denominations in Ivje

It is wonderful when different religions peacefully coexist in the same town, without shading or suppressing each other. In the small town Ivje has developed such a situation has been. Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Islam and Judaism coexist here for many years. There was installed a majestic monument in honor of this, dedicating to friendship and unity of the four denominations. Sometimes this cozy town is called «the Belarusian Jerusalem».

Ivje is a centuries-old town that is situated a hundred and thirty six kilometers fr om Minsk in the Grodno region. The first mention of the city dates back to the XV century. According to one version, the name of the city comes from the Tatar word "nest". The Belarusian Tatars have been living there for many decades; they built a mosque there in 1884. The construction was funded by the Countess Elvira Zamoyskaya. Ivje is considered to be the unofficial Tatar capital of the Republic of Belarus, and the Ivje Tatar community is one of the largest in the country. The local mosque was the only one in Belarus functioning throughout the Soviet period. It was not damaged during the wars.

In 1995 the Orthodox Temple of Saint Martyr Infant Gabriel of Bialystok was opened in Ivje. The Church building was initially dwelling; after the Great Patriotic War it hosted a maternity hospital and later a nursery school. Only in 1993 the building was given to the Orthodox community. The temple was visited by His Holiness Alexey II Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

The Catholic church is the most prominent attraction of the city. Near the church stands a statue of Christ, similar to a larger one installed in Rio de Janeiro. Due to this similarity Ivje is often called «the Belarusian Rio». The monument was installed in 2002 and it is seen at a great distance as it is situated on the hill.

The Church of St Peter and Paul was designed in Baroque style in 1787. It was constructed on the ruins of a Gothic church built in the XV century. The church has the greatest number of parishioners.

The buildings of three well-preserved synagogues in the town are now misused. The thing is that more than half of the town population was Jewish, but during the Holocaust the Jewish community was almost completely destroyed. Therefore buildings of the former synagogues have been transformed into a shop, a garage and a children's sports school. Interesting two-storey buildings erected by Jews have survived in the town.

The Monument to the Four Denominations is in the town center. It presents four high steles with arcs dedicated to different religions. The monument stands on a pedestal with stairs. Each of the four steles indicates direction to a sanctuary of the appropriate religion. Tourists can easily find an Orthodox temple, a Catholic church, a Jewish synagogue or a Muslim mosque. During the opening of the monument Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Orthodox Christians consecrated their stele. Over the existence of the town people of different nationalities and religions lived there together amicably understanding each other. Generally, eighteen religious communities belonging to four denominations are registered in Ivje.

Ivje is an example of coexistence of citizens of different nationalities and religions. This is the town wh ere people different from each other in many ways coexist peacefully there. Ivje is a small model of an ideal friendly world. This place is steeped in different cultures. It is very interesting to visit.