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Saints and Blessed of Belarus

Saint Kazimir

All the biographers of St. Kazimir - from Zahary Ferera and Peter Skarga to the authors of the 19th century - wrote about extraordinary and supernatural piousness of Prince Kazimir. "From the very morning as soon as the door of the temple was opened Prince Kazimir kneed in front of the altar with his soul exalted, posture noble and humble at the same time, and remained in the church till it was closed. There he forgot about all the bodily needs: hunger, cold, fatigue. He was like under the saint charm, in instant but deathless division with his body… At night he would spring up from his bed, secretly leave his room, run to the castle temple alone and barefoot and usually having found it closed lay down in front of the door, sprinkle it with his tears and remain in the prayer exaltation till dawn…" Inspirational hymn to the honor of the Mother of God Omni Dei used in the Church since 1499 is ascribed to Kazimir. In 1483 Kazimir suffering from tuberculosis came to Vilnius and then visited Grodno. His health became worse and on March 1 he was transported to Vilnius. Kazimir died at dawn on March 4, 1484 at the age of 26. His body was buried in a chapel of the Vilnius cathedral founded by King Kazimir.

(Alexander Yarashevich. Saint Kazimir in history and art.)

Saint Raphael Kalinovsky
Joseph Kalinovsky was born in Vinius in 1835. He studied at Agronomic Institute near Orsha. Three years later he entered Mikalaev's Military Engineering Academy in Petersburg. When rebellion burst out in January 1863 Joseph became head of the military section of the executive department of Lithuania (main rebellion control organ). After the rebellion had been suppressed he was arrested and condemned to death. In prison he was considered to be a saint. Thanks to the endeavours of his relatives and friends the death sentence was replaced with penal servitude for ten years in Siberia. Kalinovsky had been in different places during his deportation, passing through numerous trials, before he came back home in 1873. He was educator of Vladislav Chartorysky's son - August. In 1877 Kalinovsky entered the Carmelite Order and took the name of Raphael. Having finished his philosophical and theologian studies he was ordained priest. Several years later he became prior of the convent in Cherna near Krakyw, then - in Vadovitsy. He was charismatic confessor and was called "confessional sacrifice". He died on November 15, 1907. His reliquiae are treasured in the Carmelite church in Cherna. Raphael Kalinovsky was beatified in 1983 by John Paul II, canonized in 1991. St. Raphael Kalinovsky is considered to be the patron of officers and soldiers as well as the intercessor in difficult and hopeless matters.
Blessed Jury Matulevich
"Lord, let me burn away like candle on your altar". The great wish of Blessed Jury Matulevich has accomplished. During all his priestly life he was burning like candle brightly and hardily. His service lightened the most distant, forgotten and dreadful corners of that historical epoch when policy, hatred and chauvinism crucified lives of Christian peoples. That flame never slaked but remained bright and fervent all the time it was vivified by the heart beats of the great and saint man.
Saint Andrew Bobola
Andrew was reproached in many faults. His choleric temperament was marked by impulsivity stubbornness. But after he had entered the Society of Jesus step by step he approached the aim that was to serve Christ in the Church under the banner of the Cross and the Holy Father's guidance. Jesuits have always been faithful to this main charisma. Bobola's apostolic activity and predicatory fervency originated in his wish to serve the Creator and neighbours, in the search of God's glory in everything through the work over salvation of souls redeemed by Christ's Blood. Andrew Bobola was given the byname of "soulgrabber".
Saint Bp. Josaphat Kuntsevich

Martyr of the Polatsk land, patron saint of the present diocese of Vitebsk

Josaphat Kuntsevich's formation in the Basilian Order and almost the whole youth took place in Vilnius - cultural and educational capital of our historical Motherland. Vilnius linked the saint with our land that was sanctified by his blood.

At the age of 37 Josaphat was ordained bishop. Bishop's Cathedral stood at St. Sofia in Polatsk. Polatsk, Vitebsk, Mstislau - the north-east region of our country became the Bishop's sphere of activity.

The Church Union development in Belarus at the beginning of the 17th century was associated with the name of Josaphat Kuntsevich. Polatsk Bishop's opposition from the side of the enemies of Church unity became more and more of strategic character. It led to great public commotion in the country.

The everlasting question of any country remains the same - how many sacrifices need to be made for the sake of peace? Saint Josaphat had the same persuasion that was repeated by the Second Vatican Council some centuries later: peace is not the state of a country without war, peace means justice.

12th November 1621 the Bishop was in Vitebsk. After the morning Holy Mass furious crowd of people rushed into the Bishop's residence. The dead Bishop's body was dreadfully tormented and then thrown into the river of Dzvina.

The horrible murder of Josaphat Kuntsevich was the beginning of the cruel struggle that had been demolishing the Union for ages. Greek Catholics had been forcibly and massively converted into the Orthodox Church. In 1839 Czar Nikolay I abolished the Union.

Bishop Kuntsevich sacrificed his life for the Confession of Faith, to be exact for its single sentence. He died for the Confession of Faith could be true and therefore Apostolic and Saint.

Servant of God Zigmund Lazinsky

"I have loved you so much and have been longing to sacrifice my life for you. And I was constantly pleading with God to grant me sufferings for you…"
(from the last letter of Bp. Zigmund Lazinsky)

Bishop Zigmund Lazinsky was born on June 5, 1870 in the village of Baratina near Navagrudak. In 1880 he began his studies in Warsaw gymnasium, but finished it in Petersburg in 1889. Then he studied in Major Seminary in Petersburg, then in local Theological Academy. On June 23, 1895 he was ordained priest. Pope Benedict XV appointed Zigmund Lazinsky bishop of the renewed diocese of Minsk. In 1920 Bp. Lazinsky was arrested by soviet authorities and had spent eleven months in Moscow prison. On being released he arrived in Poland. Pope Pius XI nominated him bishop of the newly created diocese of Pinsk. Having born heroically great sufferings caused by grave illness and two operations, Zigmund Lazinsky died as a saint on Easter-eve March 26, 1932 in Pinsk.

The blessed martyrs of Belarusian land who died during the World War II were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999:

Blessed Mechislav Bagatkevich

Mechislav Bagatkevich was born in 1904. During occupation he worked as dean in Drysa and became famous for his ardent homilies and great mercy for the poor. He was arrested by Gestapo for his priestly service and in two months on March 4, 1942 was shot up in Berazvecha (Vitebsk region) together with other two priests: Vladislav Matskoviak and Stanislav Pyrtak. Before death he wrote in the letter to his relatives: "Don't cry, but rejoice that your son has passed the exam. I ask you but for a prayer. I heartily forgive all my enemies and would like to win heaven for them all".

Blessed Vladislav Matskoviak

Vladislav Matskoviak was born in 1913, worked as dean in the parish of Ikazn. For his faithful priestly service he was condemned to death by Gestapo. He was warned about the threat but decided to stay in the parish to serve the believers. Vladislav Matskoviak was arrested on December 3, 1941 and shot up on March 4, 1942 in Berazvecha (Vitebsk region). Before death he wrote to his bishop on the cover of the Office: "I am going to make sacrifice of my life. In three hours I will stand before the Lord. (…) I'm glad that God has chosen me, and most of all that He grants His grace and strength".

Blessed Stanislav Pyrtak

Stanislav Pyrtak was born in 1913, worked as priest vicar in the parish of Ikazn, where Vladislav Matskoviak was dean. He was also in danger of his life for priestly work. He was arrested when he came to the police to defend his dean. They both were shot up in Berazvecha (Vitebsk region) on March 4, 1942. Before death he wrote to his relatives: "Several hours are left till my death. The duty of a priest is to make this sacrifice for Christ. I die for my priestly service. Don't cry and don't be sad for my death. I impart you my priestly blessing. After three months of prison I rejoice that I am worth suffering and dying". The three priests condemned to death cried out together before being shot up: "Christ the King forever!".

Blessed Henrich Glabovich

Henrich Glabovich was born in 1904, professor of Theology of Stefan Batory's University in Vilnius. In 1936 he became dean of the parish in Troky. He was able to draw souls to God in all the circumstances and in every kind of work. Father Henrich was extraordinarily self-giving priest, charismatic spiritual director, apostle of Christian unity, friend of all those who searched the truth. By his service he influenced much on students of Vilnius and of the archdiocese. On May 3, 1941 he made an act of sacrificing his life to God for salvation of faith of the youth. For his priestly service Henrich Glabovich was shot up by Gestapo on November 9, 1941 in Barysau.

Blessed Joseph Achilles Puhala

Father Joseph Achilles Puhala was born in 1911.He worked as priest vicar in the church of the Mother of God of Angels in Grodno, then became dean in Piarshai. After the revolt in the neighbouring Ivianets Gestapo arrested many parishioners. When head of the German gendarmerie wanted to give the dean and his vicar (Father Carol German Stempen) the possibility to escape the courage Franciscans answered: "Pastors can't abandon their believers". They joined the arrested and were burnt down in a shed in the village of Baravikaushchyzna.

Blessed Carol German Stempen

Father Carol German Stempen was born in 1910, finished Papal Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventura in Rome and theological faculty of Jan Kazimir's University in Lwow (Ukraine). He was tormented together with his dean Father Joseph Achilles Puhala. Having the possibility to save his life, he couldn't leave his parishioners who were condemned to death.

Blessed Jury Kashyra

Jury Kashyra was born in 1904, apostle of the unity between Catholics and Orthodox. He was baptized in an Orthodox church, but at the age of 18 he became Catholic. Despite the danger he remained till the very end with his parishioners in Rositsa preparing them for death. He was burnt down on February 18, 1943 in Rositsa together with other people.

Blessed Anthony Lashchevich

Anthony Lashchevich was born in 1890. At the age of 47 he entered the Marian Order. Before that for almost 25 years he had performed his priestly duties in the Far East and had never come to his native country. He knew about German wreakful expedition to Rositsa but denied to escape. When being taken by Germans he calmed his sisters: "Be strong and pray". Together with other people he was burnt down in a shed in Rositsa on February 17, 1943 on the eve of Father Jury Kashyra's martyrdom.

Blessed s. Mary Marta of Jesus,
Kazimira Valovskaya

Kazimira Valovskaya was born in 1879 in Lublin. She entered the Congregation of sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Yazloutsy in 1900. After taking her monastic vows she wrote: "The only my longing before Jesus is to serve the Congregation till the very death". In August 1939 s. Marta became prioress in the convent in Slonim. During World War II she helped the Jews, the hungry, families of prisoners. At night on December 19, 1942 Hitlerites arrested Father Adam Stark (Jesuit, dean of the convent), s. Marta Valovskaya and s. Eva Naishevskaya (doctor). In the morning of December 19, after questioning and great torments they were led to the place of mass execution together with 600 more prisoners. One of Slonim's policemen suggested escaping to the sisters, but they refused. Witnesses said that the last Marta's words were: "Lord, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing".

Blessed s. Eva of Providence,
Bogumila Naishevskaya

Bogumila Naishevskaya was born in 1885 in Asanishki. Servant f God Bp. Zigmund Lazinsky was her spiritual director. He taught that sanctity should be searched for at any place, at any time and in any social position. S. Eva tried to realize the principle all her life. After graduation from Medical Institute in Petersburg in 1919 she entered the Congregation of sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Later she worked as teacher and educator in the gymnasium in Yazloutsy and Slonim. She was also doctor at school and in the Congregation. S. Eva was able to see needs of any man and selflessly helped everybody. She died as a martyr on December 19, 1942 when she was taken by the Germans to the place of execution together with Father Stark and s. Marta Valovskaya. Hitlerites ordered them to undress themselves standing over a dug trench, then shot them up. Thus s. Eva's request addressed to God, written before her vows - about God's help in salvation of people through consecrated life and death as a martyr - has been heard.

Blessed Mariana Bernadskaya

Mariana Bernadskaya was born in 1888. God, His Law and love towards the family became for Mariana the values much more important than her own life. She sacrificed herself instead of her pregnant daughter-in-law. Kneeing before a German soldier she pleaded: "How can she go? I will go instead of her". The woman came back home and Mariana was shot up on July 13, 1943 in Navumavichi near Grodno. Waiting for death she had the only request - that she would be given the Rosary.

Blessed sisters

At the end of July in 1943 Hitlerites arrested many people in Navagrudak, then the sisters pronounced the following words: "Lord, if life sacrifice is needed, let us be shot up instead of those who have families".

The sacrifice was accepted. On August 1, 1943 in a forest near Navagrudak the 11 sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth were killed. After the war on April 19 1945 their bodies were replaced and buried near the church of Transfiguration of Christ. On September 27, 1991 their reliquiae were put into the tomb in the chapel of the Mother of God in the same church.

On March 5, 2000 in Rome took place the beatification of the 11 sisters of the holy Family of Nazareth who sacrificed their lives for inhabitants of Navagrudak.


II International Meeting of «Caritas Belarus» partners in Minsk

II International Meeting of «Caritas Belarus» partners in Minsk

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Pre-abortion counseling in Mogilev

Charity foundation “Open hearts” organizes the regular training seminar for volunteers who would like to provide free pre-abortion counseling. Seminar takes place on 4-5, February, 2012, in Mogilev.