Łaźnie, Poland, July 10, 2019
St. Luke of Crimea, known as the “Blessed Surgeon,” is loved and venerated throughout the Orthodox world, and churches dedicated in his honor have been built in a number of Orthodox countries. On June 22, the Polish Orthodox Church joined them, consecrating its first church to the great 20th-century saint in the village of Łaźnie in northeastern Poland.
The new church, picturesquely situated in the Knyszyn Forest, in the Diocese of Białystok and Gdańsk, is also dedicated to the memory of the 55 people who were killed by Nazis in Łaźnie in 1943, reports the Basilica News Agency with reference to the site of the Polish Orthodox Church.
The consecration service was presided over by two hierarchs: His Eminence Archbishop Jakub of Białystok and Gdańsk and His Grace Bishop Andrzej of Supraśl.
God’s blessing upon the new church was already evident the night before, when a long-awaited rain poured forth at the end of the All-Night Vigil. “The joy of the faithful and the clergy increased at the appearance in the sky of a rainbow—a symbol of the covenant between God and man,” the Polish Church reports.
The church was consecrated the next morning, with the walls being sprinkled with holy water and anointed with Chrism. The altar was also washed with rose water, wine, and holy Chrism. A particle of St. Luke’s relics were also placed in the altar, according to tradition, and the first Divine Liturgy was then served on the newly-consecrated altar.
The hierarchs were joined by clergy and pilgrims from the surrounding areas, as well as the fathers of Supraśl Monastery.
Following the service, Bp. Andrzej thanked all the donors who made the construction and furnishing of the church possible, many of whom were present, noting that the church is the first in Poland to be dedicated to the Blessed Surgeon.
The church was built on land watered with the blood of those who were martyred by the Nazis in 1943, and its patron, St. Luke of Crimea, also suffered at the hands of both communists and Nazis.
“The church is a place of prayer for local residents and pilgrims seeking tranquility, God’s help, and the intercession of the holy doctor,” the Polish Church’s report concludes.
In April, OrthoChristian reported that a church dedicated to St. Luke is being built in Dobrich, Bulgaria.
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