November 12, 2011

0035 BELARUS (Minsk City) - A red church in a country still red

This red church is called quite so, Red Church, and is located in the center of Minsk, capital of Belarus. From the photos I’ve seen, the color of the building contrasts sharply with the gray of the other buildings in Independence Square, a gray that I know very well from Romania, because it’s typical for the buildings erected during the communist era in the Eastern Europe.

Patrons saints of the church are Saints Simon and Helena, an unusual combination at first sight, probably unique in the world, but the story of the building fully explains the  choice. The church was built between 1905 and 1910 by Edward Woyniłłowicz (a prominent Polish and Belarusian civic activist and politician, member of a noble family with roots in the XIVth century) and was consecrated in the memory of his departed children Szymon (Simon) and Helena (Helen).

Of course, premature death of the two children (Simon at age 12 and Helena at 19), the only offspring of the family, was a tragedy. "The tree of my kin lost its leaves one after the other, and I have remained alone like the only branch, like a tree burned with lightning that can never be revived by no Spring" – wrote Edward Wojnilowicz in his memoir. The legend says that Helen, seriously ill, dreamed that an angel showed her an incredibly wonderful temple, and the girl asked her parents to build such a church after her death.

In 1996 a bronze statue of the archangel Michael killing the Dragon (4,5 meters high) was erected in front of Red Church and in 2000 a memorial composition of Nagasaki bell (Angel from Urakami Cathedral), given by diocese of the Roman Catholic Church of the city of Nagasaki, was installed nearby. 

About the stamps

The 5 stamps used by Olga are 4 values from a series of 8 issued on June 10th, 2008 (complete series actually has 12 denomination) by the Ministry of Communications and Informatization of the Republic of Belarus. The set, prepared by the Publishing Centre Marka of the EUR Belpochta, is calles Garden flowers and contains the following stamps:
• peony (Paeonia lactiflora) (20 BYR) - it’s on the postcard
• petunia (Petunia hybrida) (30 BYR)
• narcissus (Narcissus hybridus) (50 BYR) - it’s on the postcard
• tulip (Tulipa gesneriana) (100 BYR) - it’s on the postcard
• lily (Lilium hybrida) (500 BYR) - it’s on the postcard
• rose (Rosa hybrida) (A) - it’s on the other postcard
• dahlia (Dahlia cultorum) (B) - it’s on the other postcard
• zinnia (Zinnia Elegans) (H)

Church of Saints Simon and Helena - Wikipedia
Simeon and Alyona catholic church in Minsk - Welcome to Belarus

sender: Olga Senchenko / Ole_ts (postcrossing)
sent from Minsk (City of Minsk / Belarus), on 24.09.2011
photo: M. Trenkova

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