The temple of Saint Alexey of Moscow in Krajsk

Kraisk

Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

Krajsk is a small village in Logoisk district, now agro. It has been known since the XVI century. The people attribute the origin of the village's name "K-rajsk" to the word "Rajsk" (with the route of “Paradise” in Russian) as extremely good people used to live here earlier. It might be true because the temples in Krajsk were very rich, glorified, the parish was the largest one in the entire Vilno-Lithuanian diocese.

But then, the story of the village was dramatically tense: it had been burned down several times, the churches kept on burning from the dome to the floor, rebuilt and destroyed again by the action of time and tyranny.

The whole history, filled with dates of sad events, has been reflected in the life of the Church of St Alexei of Moscow. So much had the temple suffered that it is impossible to resist the temptation to talk about it as a living being.

The history of the Church

The appearance of the temple, which rather reminds of the cemetery chapel, is associated with pater Alexey Biryukovich. In 1877 he came to Krajsk to bear his service and he gave all his life to the welfare of the parish. There were more than 20 priests in his family; one of them was even considered a local saint. Being faithful to his vocation and family tradition, Alexiy Mikhailovich was a good and wise shepherd, he strengthened and edified his flock in matters of faith and life, and he was loved by the people. There are evidences of contemporaries that prove these facts.

Pater Alexey built the temple in the cemetery in 1897 at his own expense, he took care of the interior of the Church, and he managed to receive sanctification after the name of St. Alexis of Moscow, whom the priest considered to be his patron.

It is necessary to say a few words about this Saint. Being a great righteous, he was the tutor of the Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy. He was revered as a miracle worker even by enemies of Russia, he had also revealed diplomatic skills in defending his faith and Russia as a God-bearing state, sometimes  literally risking his life for that purpose.

That was the person who became an example for pater Alexey Biryukovich. He died in 1909, the temple, which he had fostered on his own was chosen as his final resting place, he was placed by his father, Michael. The service in the temple had been taken by a second cousin of pater Alexey – Michael Biryukovich.

The temple of St. Alexius has been burned at least twice during its long history. But each time it was rebuilt, rising from the ashes. The First World War swept through the village like a whirlwind, not sparing any civilian dwellings or temples – the village directly held the front line.

The years before the 1990s were marked with the black darkness: the arbitrariness of atheists. Services in the temple were forbidden, it was taken away the status of the Church building. The Church housed a granary; they kept stockpiled pesticides in the building. In the late 1980s, the intervention of local residents contributed to the removal of poisons from the suffering chapel.

The local residents tell with the pain about the unprecedented abuse of the imperishable Holy relics of the priests buried there. The act of vandalism was committed by unbridled young people with the connivance of their elders. All that happened in reality; the modest humble Church experienced all that, demonstrating true Christian patience, and martyrdom.

In 1995, a new local rector Sergey Podolsky was able to carry out major repairs of the church, and Metropolitan Filaret consecrated it as St. Alexis Church in the autumn of the same year.

The story of a small village Church is full of pain, trials and tribulations, but it is still alive, and the same is the spirituality it represents as well as religious and civil asceticism, which is the character of the Belarusians. This is the main attraction of the Belarusian region.

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