The Church of St. Elijah in Gomel

Gomel

Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

The church is an example of wooden architecture, a monument protected by the state – is located in an old part of the city, over the Sozh River in a picturesque and rich with greenery place. The monument is traditionally dated to the XVIII century. It is the oldest temple of Old Believers in Belarus. And this area has long been chosen for the settlement by Old Believers. It was called Staraya Sloboda earlier.

Chronology

1737 – an Old Believer Church of the Savior which stood up on the site at that time was demolished, and a church was built instead of it, where a dome wasn’t  provided for.

1773-1774 – the Old Believers built their temple once more.

1793 – it was dismantled again.

1794 – a new church was consecrated after St. Elijah.

1850 – the temple and the Old Believers’ monasteries were banned, the shrines were passed to another church.

1852 – the church services were resumed.

1853 – the parish became coreligious.

The church was passed to Old Believers once again. It is worth mentioning that in order to regain the church, the Old Believers appealed to the government. This case can be considered unprecedented if taking into consideration the complexity of the relationship between them and the state. After a brief reflection, the state authorities returned the temple to the community of Old Believers.

Dramatic events are behind the apparent confusion of shifts of confessions, repressions, restrictions, and return to Old Believers mercy by the state again. Politics, religion, wars, rebellions, ideology, riots – there are many facets in the history crystal. And among other things, the fate of a small wooden church of Gomel is reflected in each of them. As for the riots, Emelyan Pugachev himself came right there twice to pray, arriving for negotiation into the Old Believers’ community.

The events of contemporary history were tense too. Militant atheists’ harassment has not passed the church. The church prior was killed; there was an active anti-religious propaganda. But the church withstood: as well as its congregation’s faith, it turned up strong.

The church nowadays

The church functions now, it is well-groomed, with a checked area. It has the same look as before:

  • there are three frameworks in single axis;
  • an octagon is above the central frame, elevating the interior space; the height to the dome is equal to nave and altar length put together – this is an old Russian church architecture method;
  • multy-sloped arched roof, tent-roofed domes – all of them are harmoniously connected in the same building;
  • the walls outside are trimmed horizontally;
  • the interior décor is strict, concise, simple;
  • there is an open bell tower;
  • the entrance is through a glazed terrace, which was open once too.

The church is still consecrated after St. Elijah. Prophet Elijah is mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments; this Saint is especially revered among the Slavs. He was a stern guardian of faith.

There was strict Saint, strong faith, strong old church. Despite the fact that the church was wooden, it withstood for several centuries without changing religious canons. It is small in size, but multi-layered, multi-faceted. It is old but modern, functioning actively in our technological, too full of temptations, leading away from religion, time.

The conclusion comes to mind: St. Elijah Church is deserved historical, cultural and religious site, which is worth seeing and visiting.

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