The Church of St. Elias in the urban village of Lyubcha

The small urban village of Lyubcha, where today live a little more than a thousand people, is located in Novogrudok district, Grodno region. Its name, by the way, the village received from the kind word “love”: it is believed that it was there, on the bank of the Neman, the great Mindovg met a wonderful girl and fallen in love at first sight. Tourists and connoisseurs of architecture will find here a lot of interesting objects: a synagogue and Jewish school of the 19th century, Lyubcha Castle and the park of the end of the 16th century. However, ancient secular buildings are not the all attractions of Lyubcha.

The Church of St. Elias stands in the very heart of Lyubcha

Walking through the streets of this urban village, it is hard to pass by a beautiful white tall building. This construction relates to the pseudo-Russian style, combining elements of folk art and Old Russian architecture.

The exact date of appearing of the temple is unknown. We only know that it was originally wooden and was destroyed by fire several times. The first time the church burned down in the late 18th century, it was restored, but the building continued to crumble and decay. On the eve of the World   War I, in 1910-1914, it was decided to build a new temple on the place of the old one. Thus a majestic cross-shaped church of white brick appeared in Lyubcha. It was consecrated in honor of one of the most venerated saints in many religions – the Prophet Elias.

The bright in all respects temple of St. Elias was built on a small hill and was enclosed with a low stone wall on the perimeter, also painted in white. Parishioners and guests of the church are met by a stone three-arched gate. The foundation is adorned with decorative stone from all sides. The facade of the building is white and is decorated only with high windows and figured stucco works.

It is believed that the Prophet Elias was taken alive to heaven

The prophet, in whose honor the church was built in Lyubcha, played a significant role in Orthodox history. Elias zealously fought for the purity of the faith in his lifetime, denounced idolaters and impious inhabitants of Israeli lands in the ninth century BC.

In those days, the state was ruled by king Akhava, whose overbearing wife had established there cults of various deities. The Prophet Elias appeared to protect Christian shrine. To convince the unfaithful king, the Saint performed many miracles. When the wickedness and unbelief spread across Israel and reached its climax, Elias came barefoot to the palace, wearing a coarse cloak of camel's hair and with a staff in his hands and told to Akhava that if he did not repent, the country would be plunged into famine for idolatry for 3 years. When the stubborn king did not obey the Prophet, a confrontation started between them, it was won by the Christian Saint.

Christians and Jews believe that Elias ascended alive to heaven in a fire chariot, appeared out of a sudden whirlwind, long before his death. There is another version in Orthodoxy: the Prophet has been ascended not to heaven, but in a secret place, where he is awaiting for the day of the Second Сhrist's Coming.

Do not pass by

If you are going to come to Grodno region, you should visit Lyubcha, it is only 26 kilometers from the district center to it. Here you will see the wonderful temple of the early 20th century and many other no less interesting architectural monuments. The doors of the Orthodox Church of St. Elias are open for local parishioners and guests of the village. Here you are always a welcome guest!