The Church of Saint Joseph in Luninets
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
Everyone knows that the Pripyat River flows in the Republic of Belarus. Do you know that there is the town of Luninets near this river? It is a major transport hub on the railway branch Gomel-Brest that connects western and eastern parts of our country. But this place is known not only for the railway station.
The first reference to this place is found in the historical records of 1449 when Luninets was called the village of Malyy Lunin. The location got its modern name in 1540. Certainly, serfdom remained in force at those days and the village of Luninets belonged to the Polotsk war leader Stanislav Dovoyn. In 1622, after the change of the owners, the next proprietary (Constantine Dolmat), a well-known supporter of the Orthodox Church in those days, transferred the village with its inhabitants to the Dyatlovichi Transfiguration Monastery that he had founded. Unfortunately, that building has not survived to our days. Like many other towns and villages of Belarus, Luninets have suffered a similar fate to become a victim of the Russian-Polish War, and as a result of the second partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1793 it came to be in the possession of the Russian Empire. And since 1842, when all the property of the monastery and its peasants were given to the state, the town of Luninets began its intensive development.
During the First World War, in 1918, the German Empire occupied the village of Luninets that in line with other historical events resulted in that Luninets rejoined to the Polish territory. It was under the rule of the Second Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth when spiritual development of Luninets began, as the Temple of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Church of Saint Joseph had been built by 1939.
The Church of Saint Joseph was erected in 1931 as a Catholic Church. At those days, it was a rectangular building with a high pointed roof. There was a semicircular annex behind it. There was a belfry above the central passage and a round carved window above the entrance. It is known that there should be arched windows in the original project of the building. Unfortunately, in 1939, when Luninets came to be in the possession of the BSSR, that church, like many other religious buildings, was reformed into storage. That couldn’t but influenced the exterior of the church: the belfry was demolished; the shape of the windows was changed. In order to extend the space of the storage, one of the walls was ruined and additional quarters were built. After the fall of the Soviet Union resulting in the independence of the Republic of Belarus in 1991, the Church of Saint Joseph was transferred to the Pinsk Eparchy of the Catholic Church; and its historical and cultural significance was regained. There appeared a cross on the place of the former belfry at the same time, and there was erected a cross with the figure of the crucified Jesus Christ in front of the entrance to the church territory.
Today the Church of Saint Joseph is one of the attractions of Luninets that symbolizes the value of cultural and historical links of generations.