A Catholic Church in a Russian Country heard in the Polish Language my Easter Mass.
Today was a very interesting day we went to the catholic church, Church of Saints Simon and Helena also known as the Red Church. A copy of the shroud of Turin (there are only seven of them in the world) is kept there. Before it was delivered to Minsk, the copy of the shroud was consecrated in Turin. The Red Church is a symbol of Minsk, its heart that never stopped beating despite various historical twists. It combines neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic architectural styles. The church was erected at the expense of a nobleman Edward Woynillowicz and received the name of Saints Simon and Helena in memory of pre-mature death of his two children. A legend has it that when Helena was ill, she had a dream of the Virgin Mary standing near a beautiful temple. The girl depicted everything she had seen in the dream and asked her father to build that temple. The main construction work was completed in autumn 1908, the tower bells were raised in 1909, and on September 20, 1910 Archbishop Klyuchinsky consecrated the church. It was built of red brick and became known as the Red Church among the common people. The author of the project was a Polish architect Tomasz Pajzderski, who was forced to remain anonymous because he was a foreign citizen and had no right to design and build churches on the territory of the Russian Empire (Minsk was part of it at that time).
Easter Mass was quite interesting and very unusual for a Westerner, the pews are made of 2 x 4 not clothed for any type of comfort.
Obviously as I stated the mass was said in Polish but what was very different from the Catholic Churches that I have attended in the West they had a confessional open during the who mass for people to go get themselves relieved of all their sins to atone during the Easter Mass which I found to be quite nice and invigorating. Lots of individuals took advantage of this opportunity to get lots of sacraments in one fell swoop.
Then Communion came and another astonishing thing occurred, as people were getting up for communion I noticed they were not forming lines as what I have become accustomed to but they were getting out in the isles and kneeling down on the marble floors leaving an isle for the priests to walk among them distributing communion. The people who did not want to receive the body of Christ just stayed in the pews. I of course got up knelt down on the marble floor and waited for the priest to bless me and distribute communion as I was saying my prayers after I realized no one was moving yet my knees could no longer take the punishment of the marble floor I waited and waited and waited finally some bells were rung up on the altar and everyone rose and returned to their seats. Then people pulled out all sorts of eggs, silverware, plates, dishes of all sorts and held them up as the priest once again left the altar this time blessing I am assuming the Easter Feast that would be consumed later in the day…….quite an interesting mass not being familiar with the happenings of a Catholic Church in a Russian country in a Polish Language….Thank you God for teaching me again about different celebrations of your Resurrection.