Supraśl, Poland, June 28, 2021
Hierarchs from three Local Churches and thousands of Orthodox faithful gathered at Poland’s Supraśl Monastery on Sunday, the feast of All Saints, to celebrate a great event in the life of the holy habitation and the entire Polish Orthodox Church.
After nearly 40 years of reconstruction, the monastery’s main church, dedicated to the feast of the Annunciation of the Mother of God, was consecrated.
The church was originally built in 1503-1511 in a combination of Gothic and Byzantine styles. In 1944, the retreating Nazi army drove out the monks and blew up the original church. Reconstruction began in 1984.
The rite was led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, together with seven other hierarchs of the Polish Church, including His Grace Bishop Andrzej of Supraśl, as well as His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Vladimir-Volynsky of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Melchizedek of Margveti and Ubisi of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and clergy from all over Poland, reports the monastery website.
The event was also attended by national and local authorities, and public and academic figures.
Pilgrims began arriving from all over Poland from the morning hours and gathered in the church and in the monastic courtyard, where a large screen was set up.
At 9 o’clock, Met. Sawa and the other hierarchs arrived, being welcomed by children and young people, and the fathers and brothers of the monastery. His Eminence Archbishop Jakub of Białystok and Gdańsk welcomed all the guests, after which the Metropolitan addressed all with an archpastoral word.
“We have been waiting for this historic moment for a long time,” the Polish primate emphasized, recalling that he has been working for the reconstruction of the church since the first days of his episcopal ministry in the Diocese of Białystok and Gdańsk. The church will serve as both “a monument to the future and as a testimony to the past of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.”
Supraśl Monastery has contributed greatly to both the Orthodox Church and Polish national culture throughout its history, Met. Sawa said, housing valuable manuscripts and monuments of Slavic culture and art, and serving as the place of residence and work of many outstanding iconographers, architects, and writers.
After the speeches of other hierarchs, the rite of consecration was celebrated, with relics being placed into the holy altar. Then the Divine Liturgy was celebrated on the consecrated altar for the first time.
Following the Liturgy, a letter from President Andrzej Duda of Poland was read out, in which he recalled the dramatic episode when the church was blown up. “Today, however, the triumph of life over death and good over evil, inscribed in our Christian faith, becomes a source of joy and gratitude,” the head of state reflected. A lampada was also donated to the monastery on the President’s behalf.
The hierarchs from abroad also spoke, emphasizing their great joy at being able to participate in such an important event for the Polish Orthodox Church.
Lastly, Bp. Andrzej, the abbot of Supraśl spoke, telling the gathered faithful that the reconstruction of the church is a miracle that testifies to God’s glorification of the piety of the faithful who abide in the holy Orthodox faith.
The celebrations ended with a meal prepared by the monastery brethren.