Minsk Fraternal military cemetery
Sculpture, monuments, memorials
Pride and grief - these are the feelings with which a person pays tribute to the heroes’ graves. A Military Brotherhood consists of those who are doomed to be heroes in a minute of hard wartime, because a true feat is to risk your life in defense of the Fatherland.
The cemetery’s history
Once, the war of 1914-1918 was considered the Second Patriotic War. Thus the cemetery of the ones who died for their homeland was created on the initiative of Lieutenant-General P.A. Smorodsky. He appealed to the highest authority, in other words to the Tsar, convincing that the heroes who had perished on the battlefield should be buried in the same place. It could be considered by the descendants as a monument, as the burial of the heroes of the Great European War (this is another name that contemporaries have given to the war, which we got used to call the First Imperialistic).
The warlord had been heard, and the territory between Vilna and Dolginovsky routes was allocated for the cemetery by the highest order. The first burials were carried out in 1915, the same year when a wooden church was built.
This land keeps the remains of almost 5 thousand soldiers, mostly low ranked infantrymen. The names of several heroes (including Ensign Ilya Vasilevich Chelokaev (Cholokashvili), Captain Eustace Danilovich Ursulenko, and many others) are known for certain. Some are known only by their names, there are a lot of anonymous people.
Here rest the people of different nationalities and religions, although some historians tend to consider the Fraternal Cemetery being only Orthodox.
A great part of the archival materials, related to the Fraternal military cemetery, is lost or destroyed: historical storms swept them over this region. Therefore, scientists and local historians, while restoring the history of the cemetery, often have to rely on guesses, suppositions, appreciating every evidence of those times as valuable as gold, even an indirect one.
For a long period of time the cemetery was abandoned, the temple happened to be demolished. The area, which seemed to be "ownerless", was given to the market. During the Great Patriotic War, as if in tragic continuation, the fascist occupiers placed a concentration camp there. Then, in the peaceful post-war time new buildings of growing, expanding its borders capital began to advance there.
The beginning and the successful completion of the fraternal cemetery improvement
In the XXI century the ideas of cemetery’s remains preservation and a monument installation were considered. Though the revival was going slowly, but the efforts were successful. Nowadays, a memorial complex, decorated with jewels, decor elements, entourage, and close in spirit to that time when the perished were alive has been built. Impressive ways to perpetuate the memory of the early XX century people, without leaving contemporaries indifferent, have been successfully found.
The sculptures of angels unfolding Protection of the Virgin above the graves encounter the visitors right at the entrance to the cemetery. The fence is adorned with forged details with decorative elements in the form of the Russian Empire orders. The spiritual centre of the memorial is a chapel, consecrated in honour of the Mother of God "an Omen". The icon itself is mosaiced and opened for three sides review, protected against vandalism with a beautiful forged fence.
On both sides of the chapel the dead lists, engraved on the stone, and interspersed with funeral wreaths are located.
The chapel, the fences, the forging – they are performed in St. Petersburg style - the style of the nation's capital at that time.
By historians, archivists, painters, sculptors, members of the public efforts a wonderful monument has been created in the centre of Minsk. Mourning and beauty, pride and fraternal unity, the feeling of honour paid to the perished soldiers - that is what predominates in the feelings of each of the fraternal military cemetery visitor in Minsk.