The Bobruisk Diocese of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (Mogilev Region)
The Belarusian Orthodox Church has a longand full of dramatic history. Her centuries-old path of service to the Lord is marked by an unceasing struggle with religious opponents and periods of persecution. Having begun its formation in an atmosphere of persistent opposition to Catholicism, which tried to establish itself on the Belarusian land, in the twentieth century it found itself in the very heart of the Bolshevik anti-religious terror that destroyed most of its best representatives.
Attempts to plant Catholicism
In one of the earliest chronicles mentioning Bobruisk, who was in those years under the Lithuanian rule, there is evidence of attempts to actively influence the representatives of the Roman church on its inhabitants. This process is typical for most of the lands of the western part of Russia, but here it was designated most acutely.
The most dramatic events take place in thein the middle of the 17th century, when in the course of an irreconcilable religious war the city was virtually destroyed by Lithuanian forces, which tried to turn its inhabitants away from the faith of the fathers. The Orthodox Cossacks, together with the militia formed from the city's residents, tried to resist, but they could not resist regular troops for a long time.
The historical documents of that era showthat as a result of the massacre to which the city of Bobruisk was subjected by the Lithuanians who seized it, out of six thousand inhabitants only two hundred people remained alive, and most of the buildings were destroyed.
Under the Russian scepter
As the city was rebuilt from the ruinsrevived in him and Orthodoxy, for one and a half centuries, neighboring with the Catholicism planted in these parts. The real flourishing of the spiritual life of the city came at the end of the 18th century, when the city's historic annexation to the Russian Empire took place. During this period, the Bobruisk Diocese is formed, which included a significant number of parishes that existed by that time.
The leadership of the diocese paid great attention not toonly increase the number of their parishioners, but also their religious education. With this purpose in the city the first regional school for those times was opened, students were taught such disciplines as rhetoric, general and sacred history, as well as the foundations of the Orthodox faith - the catechism.
The heyday of the diocese in the XIX century
The creation of new churches is also actively carried out. It is known that in 1812, at the time of the completion of the construction of the Bobruisk fortress, only within its limits were seven churches, among which the most significant were St. Peter's Cathedral, built in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, and the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky.
A real masterpiece of church architecture has becomeappeared in the city cemetery in 1829, a temple in honor of the Holy Great Martyr Sophia. It was built on the initiative and on the donations of a resident of the city of the recent war with Napoleon, Colonel Rosenmark.
The religious life of Bobruisk in the early 20th century
Impressive statistics thatat the beginning of the 20th century, the Diocese of Bobruisk. According to her reports, at that time in this relatively small city there were ten Orthodox churches and five church-parochial schools. There is also an abundance of house churches in the diocese.
Evidence of that awe has been preserved, withwhich celebrated the citizens of the Orthodox holidays, a special place among which was the day of memory of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker of Myra. These, held twice a year, celebrations were accompanied by nationwide religious processions and conciliar prayer services.
Period of atheistic insanity
The church church that has developed over the last centuriesthe splendor was quickly destroyed by the Bolsheviks who committed a coup in 1917. According to the testimony of many researchers, it was the diocese of Bobruisk that suffered a special loss in those years. The new authorities ruthlessly destroyed what had long been erected for folk donations. By 1925 in the city, once famous for its church buildings, there were only three churches. It became extremely dangerous not only to serve, but also to openly confess the faith. However, nothing could extinguish the spiritual life of the city.
The special intensity of atheistic terror, whichthe whole Belarusian Orthodox Church underwent a fall, came in 1937, marked by a general upsurge of punitive measures carried out by the government. During this period, many representatives of the clergy and ordinary parishioners were arrested and later executed. The Bishop of Bobruisk Filaret (Ramensky) completed martyrdom.
The period of the war and subsequent years
Certain indulgences of the Bobruisk diocesereceived during the war, when it became clear to the government that a powerful consolidating and unifying force was needed to defeat the enemy. It could become only Orthodox faith, which for centuries has been the spiritual core of the people. During this period many of the surviving clerics returned from their places of detention. During the services they performed in dilapidated church buildings, they blessed the parishioners to fight against a common enemy.
The attitude of the authorities towards the church has changed dramatically inpost-war years, when, in their opinion, practical necessity has disappeared in it. This was especially evident during the period of the so-called Khrushchev persecutions. It was publicly announced that Belarus should become the first of the union republics to end the "religious dope". This marked the beginning of a new period of persecution of the church. In 1963, the last Orthodox church was closed in Bobruisk, later rebuilt into a sports and recreational complex.
The beginning of the church revival
As in the whole country, the revival of spiritual lifeIn Belarus, it is connected with democratic reforms that took place during perestroika. In this process, the Bobruisk Diocese was involved. St. Nicholas Cathedral, previously selected from believers and for many years used for purely mundane purposes, once again opened the doors to its parishioners. Since the late nineties an active process of transferring previously taken away church buildings and building new ones to believers has begun.
In 2009, it resumes its activitiessocial department of the Bobruisk diocese. He is responsible for establishing cooperation with public authorities, raising funds for the poor and a wide range of activities aimed at attracting public attention to the problems of socially unprotected strata of society.
By 2012 in Bobruisk there were sevenoperating temples, one of which opened a spiritual and educational center. According to the residents, the decision of the Holy Synod of October 25, 2004, in accordance with which the new Bobruisk and Bykhov diocese was formed, was of great importance in strengthening the religious life of the city. This made it possible to streamline the administrative management of the fifty-five parishes on its territory to a large extent.