Hope in Siberia: Catholics celebrate the restoration of a burned down church

The restoration of a Church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua inspires hope of new life for the entire local community.

Russia – Moscow (June 21, 2021 17:46, Gaudium Press)) The inhabitants of the small Siberian village of Belostok celebrated last Saturday, June 19, the completion of the restoration works of the church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. The ceremony was attended by the Consul General of Poland, Krzysztof Sviderek, who presented the temple with a reproduction of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, patroness of Poland and Belostok.

Religious persecution

The city was founded in 1898 by a group of Poles. The church was consecrated in 1908. Gradually, other Poles founded neighbouring towns close to Belostok, and a parish was formed. Priests came from Tomsk to administer the parish, which already had about a thousand believers.

In 1931, the Soviet authorities arrested the last priest, Fr. Julian Gronskij, and condemned him to 10 years in prison. In 1938, the temple was destroyed for the first time by Communist Party activists. It was restored and consecrated again in 1998.

Fire and reconstruction

In the year 2018, a short circuit caused a fire that reduced the small church to ashes. It seemed that the church would be gone forever. Nevertheless, the faithful along with its pastor, Fr. Krzysztof, launched a social media campaign: #SibirskijBelostokVoskresenie (“Resurrection of Belostok in Siberia”).

The drive received offers from Poland, Russia, England, Germany and other countries, reaching -in less than two years-, the sum needed for the restoration: nearly 100,000 euros. In addition, inhabitants of the village have offered to work for free in the reconstruction.

More by Gaudium Press  Saint Remigius of Rouen: Bishop, Son of Charles Martel and Uncle of Charlemagne

Hope for a new life

During the years of Stalinist repression, 90% of the men of Belostok were exterminated. Today the town has only two hundred inhabitants. The Catholic Faith has been preserved in the hearts of a few elderly people. The restoration of the church instills hope for a new life for the entire local community. (EPC)


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