More than 500 thousand Orthodox live in Poland. They mainly live in the eastern part of the country, and the Bialystok Voivodeship is considered the main center of Orthodoxy. It is here that there are many Orthodox churches, monasteries and necropolises. We talk about ten Orthodox cemeteries in Poland that everyone should see.
Orthodox cemetery in Hajnówka
Hajnówka due to its geographical location is called the gate of the Bialowieza Forest, but coming here is not only why. Here you can visit the miniature park or the annual festival of church music, as well as look at the unique Holy Trinity Cathedral with a ceramic iconostasis. Seven out of ten residents of the city are Orthodox. You can see many churches in Hajnowka and the surrounding villages. For example, a small wooden church of All Saints, located near the old Orthodox cemetery, where no one has been buried for several decades. Time has stopped here. If you get to this place, be sure to go to the temple, where the iconostasis of the outstanding Polish icon painter Jerzy Novosielsky is located.
Warsaw cemetery in the Volia district
The cemetery in the Volia district is the only Orthodox necropolis in Warsaw. Several thousand people are buried here, and the place itself resembles a museum. Hundreds of monuments of the Orthodox necropolis of Will are real works of art. There are also two temples in the cemetery. You can read more about the Warsaw Orthodox cemetery in an article by Polina Yustova.
Orthodox cemetery in Radom
Orthodox cemetery in Radom
Another old Orthodox cemetery in the Masovian Voivodeship is located in Radom, a city 100 kilometers south of the capital. It was founded in 1839. The cemetery is conditionally divided into two parts: the old one, on which parishioners were buried, and the new one, the so-called military necropolis, where the remains of soldiers and officers who died during the First and Second World Wars are buried. In the old part of the cemetery there are many tombstones in the form of monuments – pedestals with rich ornaments and obelisks with sculptures. They can be seen inscriptions in Russian. Here are mainly buried the governor officials, police, gendarmes, military, as well as their families. Among them is the grave of Simon von Plotto, the head of the gendarmerie, who died in a terrorist attack in 1906.
Cemetery in Tarnogrud
In the city of Tarnogrod, located in eastern Poland, only 3,300 people live. Its history dates back to the XVI century. Tarnogrod has traditionally been considered a city of three faiths: Roman Catholic, Jewish and Orthodox, which today is evidenced not only by churches, but also by necropolises. There are several of them in the city. Both Catholics and Orthodox are buried in the Old Cemetery. Some tombstones are more than a hundred years old.
Orthodox cemetery on Ogrodova street in Lodz
This burial place is named after Alexander Nevsky. It is part of the large Lodz necropolis, Old Cemetery (Stary Cmentarz), founded in 1855. Initially, only the tsarist officials, military and police officers were buried in the Orthodox part of the complex, but later the civilian population was also buried. Of particular interest here is the crypt of the Goyzhevsky family, reminiscent of a Byzantine temple. It is located on the border of the Orthodox and Catholic parts of the necropolis. Interestingly, the head of the family, police commissioner Constantine Goyzhevsky, was buried in the Orthodox part of the cemetery, and his wife, Alexandra, who was Catholic, in Roman Catholic.
Cemetery on the holy mountain Grabarka
The Holy Mountain Grabarka is the most important pilgrimage place for the Orthodox inhabitants of Poland. It is also called the Hill of Crosses, as many pilgrims bring crosses of different sizes here. The first mention of Grabark dates back to the 17th century. According to legend, an epidemic raged in these places, and people were healed by drinking water from the grabar spring. It was then that the tradition came to come to Grabarka with a cross – a symbol of suffering, difficulties – and leave it on the mountain. It seems to many that this place is a large necropolis, but this is not so: crosses are more likely symbolic. In the center of Grabarka is the Church of the Transfiguration, and next to it is an old Orthodox cemetery.
Cemetery on Lipova street in Lublin
Old necropolises are often called open-air art galleries. This can be said about the cemetery on Lipova Street in Lublin. The history of its creation goes back to the end of the 18th century. It was then that all burial sites in the city were closed for sanitary reasons and transferred to the outskirts. The decision to relocate the cemetery in Lublin was made in 1794. Local residents opposed the idea of burying their loved ones away from the parish church, contrary to centuries of tradition. The first who dared to do so were freethinkers. This is evidenced by the Masonic tombstones, standing in the very center of the old part of the cemetery, dating from 1811. The cemetery on Lipova Street consists of Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox and military-municipal plots. In the Orthodox church is the Church of the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women and about 500 graves, most of which are burial places of soldiers of the UPR army, allies of Poland during the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1920. In 1985, the necropolis was included in the register of cultural monuments of the Lublin Voivodeship.
Cemetery on Lvovskaya in Chelm
Cemetery on Lvovskaya in Chelm
The parish cemetery on Lvovskaya Street in Chelm is a special testament to the rich history of this city. It was built in 1802 on the territory of a Uniate hospital located on the outskirts of Helm. Initially, it was divided into Catholic and Uniate. After the liquidation in the city of the Greek Catholic Church, the place of the Uniates was given to the Orthodox. At the Helm parish cemetery, the Belsky family chapel, erected at the beginning of the 19th century, is one of the first cemetery buildings. Its founder was the owner of the estate “Uher” Ignacy Belsky. Now this classic building serves as the mausoleum of soldiers and victims of World War II. Another architectural monument is the Zaydler Chapel (1908), built in the Neo-Gothic style by order of the notary public Vladislav Zaydler, famous at that time. The ashes of his son, the burgomaster and the chairman of the city council Helm, rest in the chapel. Tombstones have also been preserved at the parish cemetery, the oldest of which dates back to the first half of the 19th century, the graves of landowners from all over Helm, priests, industrialists, soldiers and local intelligentsia.
Orthodox cemetery in Terespol
The Orthodox necropolis, which is located in the city of Terespol (on the border with Belarus), has become not only a burial place, but also a place of execution. In 1939, the Wehrmacht field gendarmerie shot 60 Polish officers and soldiers here. All of them were buried in a common grave. Several dozen tombstones of the 19th century have been preserved on the territory of the cemetery. Orthodox priests who served in Terespol were buried in this place. In the center of the necropolis you will see the blue wooden chapel of the Resurrection of the Lord.
Orthodox cemetery in Bialystok
Compared to other necropolises, which we talk about in this article, the Orthodox cemetery in Bialystok is quite young. Until the middle of the 19th century, residents of the city of Orthodox religion were buried near the churches of St. Nicholas and St. Mary Magdalene. After the closure of the necropolises in the center of Bialystok in 1887, the cemetery was moved to the outskirts of the city. Two years later, it laid the first stone in the construction of a new church of All Saints. Today, both the church and the cemetery are listed in the register of monuments in Poland. During World War I, dead soldiers were buried here. The Orthodox cemetery in Bialystok also has a monument commemorating the Armenian Genocide. On the monument in Polish and Armenian it is written: “In memory of 1,500,000 Armenians killed by the Turks on 24 IV 1915.” Old Believers are buried in one of the sections of the cemetery.