A Pilgrimage to Zaslauje

A Pilgrimage to Zaslauje

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A Pilgrimage to Zaslauje

The summer camp “Vacation with God” went on a pilgrimage to Zaslauje. Pilgrimage is a special event, unlike everything that happens every day. This is a real spiritual journey filled with prayer and self-knowledge. Our pilgrimage to Zaslauje began with a divine service in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Holy Mass was celebrated by Priest Antoni Klimantovič. The priest welcomed the young pilgrims and even allowed them to see the underground cellars of the church.

Why did the pilgrimage take place in Zaslauje? This is one of the oldest cities in Belarus, where very valuable historical and cultural monuments have been preserved. It is also a city with a long and rich Catholic tradition. In the XVII-XVIII centuries there were two Catholic shrines in the city.

Mikalaj Hliabovič, being the owner of Zaslauje, in the 20s of the XVII century, transformed the Calvinist gathering into the church of St. Michael the Archangel, and also began construction of a new wooden Catholic church. In the second half of the XVII century. Zaslauje passed to the Sapieha family. Kazimir Jan Sapieha and his wife invited Daminican monks to Zaslauje and built a monastery on the territory of the Zaslauje Castle. The monks of the Dominican Republic served the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. In 1753, Zaslauje passed into the possession of Antoni Tadevuš Pšazdiecki, who decided to build a new stone church on the site of the old wooden church. The architect was the Italian Carlo Sampani. The church is located on the central, formerly market square of the city of Zaslauje. Bricks were delivered, for the construction of the church from Minsk, from the brick factory erected by Pšazdiecki. The walls of the temple reach a thickness of more than two meters. On September 8, 1779, the newly built church was consecrated under the title of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the second half of the XIX century the church was closed, reconsecrated into an Orthodox church and significantly rebuilt. However, at the request of local residents, the ancient image of the Mother of God, which decorated the main altar, was preserved in it. In the XX century the temple has survived wars and closures. The temple was destroyed and abandoned almost until the end of the 1980s. Then its largescale reconstruction began, and the building was handed over to believers. Today, this temple with a rich history reopens its doors to believers.

Zaslauje is also a city of museums. We couldn’t help but visit the new Museum of the “Belarusian Maliavanka”, which is dedicated to the traditional painting of hand-drawn carpets. It houses an exposition of the paintings of Yazep Drozdovich and Elena Kish. The museum was created in a restored wing building, which is the only one that has survived from the former estate of the Pšazdiecki in Zaslauje. It should be noted that children with disabilities who visit our camp also felt comfortable in the museum space.

An important result of our trip was that the children felt that the pilgrimage is a community, one family. Therefore, they tried to notice the needs of those who are nearby: to wait for the one who is lagging behind, to help present a backpack and share food. Every pilgrimage is first of all a path to God: in prayer, reflection, overcoming obstacles. Summertime gives each of us the opportunity to walk this pilgrim’s path and get closer to the Kingdom of God.