Getting to Belarus

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The good news is that I got ethics approval from King’s College for my PhD research. Visa, health insurance obtained and tickets purchased. “Now it is time to start my pilot study in Belarus!”, I thought enthusiastically.

The travel itinerary of my trip was simple: Bialystok – Chopin airport in Warsaw by bus and then Warsaw-Minsk by plane.

Unfortunately, a few hours later it turned out that I missed the flight due to visa issues – and that has utterly complicated my further trip to Minsk. Had to change it diametrically the same day.

Instead of getting to Minsk with an hour flight, it took me nearly 30 hours. That included a drive from Warsaw to Brest, overnight stay in Brest (where we received a discount on a hotel’s room just for speaking Belarusian) and after that continuing my journey the next day. Still with a few impediments though, but actually learned something new about Protestants in Belarus.

Looking on the bright side – since I had to modify my trip, decided to spend a few hours in Baranavichy where visited some relatives. Also discovered a small Protestant church there. As it was just in a passing, did not have a chance to take a closer look at it. Will have a chance to find it out soon, I believe.

Later, on Baranovichy-Minsk train, I learned a bit of the history of a small town where we had a stop in Dziaržynsk, in the past Kajdanava. The town is dating back to 11th century, and at some point in the history predominantly Jewish people inhabited it.

Kojdanava

The building of the Calvinist church in Kojdanava. The picture from the beginning of the 20th century. Source: “Evanhelskaja Carkva Bielarusi: historyja i sučasnasć”, Minsk: Pazityu Centr, 2014.

A person sitting next to me on the train told me the place was known in the past for the beautiful castle, but also the substantial Calvinist community. Unfortunately, “nothing was left”, the man told me. The church was already destroyed in the 1920s, then after the WW2 completely demolished.

As I have already learned in the past there was a number of Protestant churches throughout the territory of Belarus. Some were destroyed, others given to Orthodox  or Catholic churches. For example, the Calvinist zbor in Zaslau today belongs to the Orthodox Church.

 

 

 

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