Lukashenko lights candle in Khatyn church in memory of war victims

14:20, 22 March

Photo: BelTA

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the church, which was restored in the place of the pevious one that was destroyed during the Great Patriotic War as part of the commemorative events to mark the 80th anniversary of the Khatyn tragedy, BelTA has learned.

A ceremony to consecrate the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was held a few days ago. The Divine Liturgy was conducted by Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.

"At first, we had certain difficulties with restoring a church that was destroyed during the Great Patriotic War here, in the Khatyn memorial complex. The church is modeled on the one that stood here before. Certain work has been carried out with archives and photographs. We tried to recreate not only the external look of the church but also its interior. The main thing is that the church bring comfort to people and that this sorrowful place is sanctified by prayer," Metropolitan Veniamin said.

According to Metropolitan Veniamin, the spiritual component should enhance the experiences of everyone who visits this historical place. "Khatyn is a living feat of courage of the Belarusian people. We, the descendants, know how to keep the memory and will pray and do everything so that peace rein in our land," Metropolitan Veniamin concluded.

Metropolitan Veniamin stressed that the need to build a church in the memorial complex was a long time coming. “Thanks to the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee and the Borisov diocese this significant event has taken place in Khatyn today,” he added.

According to Director of the Khatyn Memorial Complex Artur Zelsky, the recreated church is an exact replica of the one that once was in Khatyn. “We know almost everything about it: how it looked both inside and outside, how many windows it had and what color the curtains were. We know practically everything about it. When the decision was taken to recreate the temple and the work began, it was clear that it would be a place of worship. People would be able to come and light a candle, think about eternal things, remember their loved ones and relatives who either died in that terrible war or just passed away. It is a sacred place,” Artur Zelsky told the media.

The wooden church in Khatyn was built in the late 18th century. It was consecrated in November 1794. The church had a bell tower with three bells and an old cemetery. The bell tower and the church were carefully reconstructed according to the historical descriptions. The temple was reconstructed thanks to the inventory lists from the early 19th century and the description of Khatyn church from the late 18th century, kept in the National Historical Archives of Belarus.

A priest with a lot of experience in church renovation took part in the reconstruction project.

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