How Belarusian Catholics celebrate Christmas

How Belarusian Catholics celebrate Christmas

The fire, which was brought to Belarus from Bethlehem, was lit at most of the temples of Belarus this week. Western Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25.

In Belarus, the Catholic denomination is the second largest - nearly half a million believers - 15% of the population. However, Belarusians who do not identify themselves as Catholics still feel this holiday. This day is a day off in Belarus, after all. Christmas on December 25 is celebrated by the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

Galina Buro, CTV Channel:
The holy night in Grodno has already begun. And I feel unusual warmth in my heart. Believers are preparing to meet one of the most important holidays in the Catholic calendar. And all roads lead them to the temple.

All day long the doors of Farny Church in Grodno do not close for a moment. Services began at dawn, at seven o'clock in the morning of December 24. In total there were six of them. And even now, the faithful still go to church for confession. After all, it is believed that you can celebrate Christmas only with bright ideas. Some bring lamps in their hands.

Alexander Gres, a resident of Grodno:
This fire is from Bethlehem. That is, it's being taken here. And the people who come to church light candles and bring them home and share it with fire with loved ones.

Today, all the services in the church are accompanied by organ music, according to Catholic traditions.

Leonid Lis, organist of Farny Church, Grodno:
I am playing songs. That is, I sing songs and accompanies myself. These are carols in Belarusian and Polish languages.

Another interesting point is the children's choir. The youngest parishioners are singing Christmas carols.

Carolina Kurian, a resident of Grodno:
I love Christmas. Because snow falls and you can ride on a sled and play in the snow.

Jan Kuchinsky, abbot of Farny Church, Grodno:
Today in the evening the whole family will gather at the table, it wil be a festive dinner. On the table, of course, there will be cooked meals, there must be 12 of them. At the table there should be no hatred, no bad thoughts... No unforgiveness.There should be joy and peace.

There is no free space on prayer benches inside the church. People most often come with their entire families. Let us hear how Grodno residents will celebrate Christmas.

Yana, a resident of Grodno:
We are cooking 12 meatless dishes. Our big family gets together and we share Going all the relatives and share wafer.

Yanina, a resident of Grodno:
Daughter and granddaughter, with her husband, all will come to us. We will sit at the table, share the wafer and then eatkutia.

Maria, a resident of Grodno:
We are waiting for Christmas, we want our lives to be okay. We want kids to be healthy. All the best!

Special attention is paid to the decoration of the church. One traditional celebration attribute is a nativity scene, which in Western Belarus is called shopka. The key ritual of the main Christmas Mass is associated with Batleika. The priest solemnly carries a small figure of Jesus through the whole temple and puts it in the crib. This will mark Christmas.

Galina Buro:
The time of silence is now at Grodno Farny Church. The service has ended. Believers are now going to their homes for the holiday table. They wish each other peace and goodness. And just two hours later, they will again come to the church to a festive Mass, it is called Pasterka, in order to collectively meet a happy Christmas.