St. Joseph Parish was founded in 1990 by the Greek-Catholic community of Minsk and became a successor of Greek-Catholic parishes of Minsk, which were dismanteled in the 19th century. We would like to tell you about Father Jan Matusevich (the first Parish Abbot).

Father Jan Matusevich is a very spirited, good-natured and happy man. He was born in 1948 in v. Komenka of Minsk region. As a child, he was baptized according to the Orthodox ceremony. Father Jan studied movie-making in the Belarusian state theatrically-artistic institute; after graduation he worked in recreational centers of Minsk. However, he dreamed of becoming a priest, which was almost impossible to do at that time. Following the advice of the Roman-catholic priest Jan Takarski, Father Jan decided to enter the Orthodox spiritual seminary in Smolensk.

After graduation from the seminary, Father Jan served in Parishes of Smolensk and Minsk for the next 5 years. Thirst of unity and the desire to serve the Single Universal Church brought Father Jan to Poland, where he professes Catholic faith and takes an external exam in Catholic studies. Since 1979, Father Jan is an Abbot of a Roman-Catholic Parish in v. Baruny of the Oshmyani district. This is a milestone in the life of Father Jan, because Baruny was one of the historical Greek-Catholic centers of Belarus.

Prior to becoming a Greek-Catholic church, the enormous building of the church used to be a monastery of Basilian monks. A miraculous icon of God Mother Borunskaya is located in this church. Father Jan prays daily in front of the icon. He also had a permanent connection with Basilian monks from Ukraine, which were in the underground and secretly visited Father Jan. In 1988, Father Jan took a journey together with Father Vladislaw Chernyavski to London to the Belarusian mission, where Divine Liturgy was served in Marienhouse in the east church of Peter and Paul.

Since 1988, Father Jan began prayer services in Belarussian, and v. Baruny became the place of pilgrimage for educated people in Belarus. Young people, who were not christened in their childhood, wished to take christening done by Father Jan Matusevich from in Baruny in Orthodox ceremony. On November 12, 1989 the Uniats were present at the celebration of the holiday of Saint Yazafat Kuncevich in Baruny.

Although Father Jan served the Latin liturgy, it is possible to consider this event to be the first action of the Uniats of Minsk. Mikhail Todarovich Dubeneckiy was another inspirer of the younger generation.

At the end of 1989 beginning of 1990 the group of young people began to work on putting together the first post-war Greek-Catholic magazine Uniya. The founding group was made up of Serzhuk Ablameyka, Irene Dubeneckaya, Karalina Mackevich and others. An association Uniya was also created. Later, in July of 1990, this association would be registered as a primary organization of Society of the Belarussian language.

Irene Dubeneckaya became the leader of the association. The purpose of association Uniya is popularization of idea of Uniya among Belarussians. Father Alexander Nadson visited Belarus from March 10 to 16. He brought humanitarian aid to the kids from Gomel region. He also met the group of young people from Uniya. This meeting, which took a place in the apartment of Serzhuk Ablameyka, became another milestone in the history of Uniya, because young people realized that they were not alone. They saw Father Alexander to be the successor of such great priests as Bishop Cheslav Sipovich, Archimandrite Leo Garoshka, Father Yazep Herman and many others.

On Sunday March 11, Father Alexander served the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom in Krestovozdvizhenski church on Kal'varii str. This liturgy became the first official Greek-Catholic liturgy in post-war Belarus. In August, the presentation of the first issue of the magazineUniya took place in the House of Literator. The founder of the magazine Serzhuk Ablameyka, the editor-in-chief Irene Dubeneckaya and Carolina Mackevich wrote the most articles for the first issue of the magazine.

Among the honored guests were Apostolic Vizitator for Belarussians of Foreignness Mitrofornyy protoierey Father Alexander Nadson and Father Jan Matusevich. Metropolitan Lvov and Galichina Volodimer Sternyuk sent a telegram with the words of greeting and his benediction. Young people showed a theatrical play; bard Ales' Kamockiy played his songs.

It is necessary to mention another significant meeting of the young people of Minsk, which happened in the apartment of Serzhuk Ablameyka. They met with Father Sergey Gaek. Father Sergey is a Marian, just like the ruler Cheslav, Father Tamash Padyava and others; like them, he serves the liturgy according to the Orthodox ceremony. He also is a teacher of the Lyublin Catholic University. During their meeting, the Father told them about the situation of the Catholic Church in the world and answered numerous questions. In the beginning of September the convention Ukrainian young people to Christ took place in Lvov. The young people of our parish also participated in this convention.

On September 21, 1990 a meeting of twenty took place in the office of the Society of the Belarussian language. Among other participants were such known public figures as Professor George Khadyka and publicist Anatol' Sidarevich. Serzhuk Ablameyka was elected the chairman of the Parish Church committee.

The registration of the religious community is ongoing. According to law, Minsk city executive committee demanded the confirmation from the religious center. The nearest center was Lvov, the capital of Galichina Mitropole. On October 19, Mitropolit Volodimer published a deed that Minsk Greek-Catholic community is a part of Galichina Metropole. This date is considered to be the date of canonic re-birth of our Parish.

Father Andrey Ablameyka (on September, 30, 2005)

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