Brief history of the church
and the monastery
of the Dormition of the Mother of God

Russian Old Believers established the village of Wojnowo in the first half of XIX century. In 1654 they split off from the Russian Orthodox Church rejecting reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon. Those reforms concerned Church customs, hymn and liturgical books. Old Believers have been so called because they have practised their old customs.

Eventually, following different understanding of religious matters, they separated into two main groups: one of them having clergy and another rejecting them. The Old Believers without clergy had lived in Suwałki and Sejny region in the Kingdom of Poland moved and settled in the Land of East Prussia and later on another group coming from Central Russia joined them. Together they established a few villages, Wojnowo being one of them. Government of Prussia named it officially Eckersdorf, but the name Wojnowo was chosen by the village’s owner Sidor Borysov.

The settlers built a wooden chapel – a prayer house and a monastery, dedicated to the Saviour and the Holy Trinity. The monastery prospered during leadership of a young Old Believer Paul, known later as Paul of Prussia. He founded the first Slavonic typography in the town of Pisz.

After a long study of the Holy Scripture and writings of the Church Fathers, Paul of Prussia radically changed his mind. He got convinced that Old Believers were wrong and returned to the Orthodox Church. In spite of the fact that in 1867 Paul eventually left Prussia, some more Old Believers followed his example and returned to the Orthodox Church. They kept their old customs and liturgical books from the time before Patriarch Nikon’s reforms and became so called yedinovertsy (“of the same faith”).

At the end of XIX century the monastery in Wojnowo became a nunnery. Until the World War I Mazury became a definitely established region and in 1913 more than 200 yedinovertsy and about 700 Old Believers lived there.

In 1920 the yedinovertsy accepted as their priest father Alexander Avayev. In the past he had been a soldier in the Russian army and then became a monk in Optino monastery, famous for its spirituality. During the World War I he became a Prisoner of War. Having met bishop Eulogy he was ordained a priest and sent for pastoral work to East Prussia.

In Wojnowo he created a regular parish and built a beautiful wooden church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. Father Alexander lived ascetic life and spent all his days in church. He had instructed all children in the area in catechism and Russian language. In 1930 he succeeded in founding a nunnery located next to the church. In 1946 the parish was accepted into canonical jurisdiction of the Orthodox metropolitan of Warsaw. Father Alexander died in 1956 and he was buried at the cemetery next to the church. Remaining sisters of the monastic community in Wojnowo moved to St Mary and Martha convent in Grabarka. From then on their house became a rectory where parish priests and their families began to live. During the forthcoming ten years the parish strongly diminished due to rapid emigration of its members to Germany. Many of the ancient icons were stolen and the church impoverished. In 1994 father Basil Omieljanczyk came to Wojnowo. Thanks to his efforts the church was restored in 1995-96. By a decree dated April 15, 1995 a new convent was established by bishop Sawa of Białystok and Gdańsk.

A new period has begun in the life of the parish. An oil lamp is kept burning all the time in the church and prayers are recited continuously by sisters both during church services and individually in their cells as well as during work. The sisters pray for themselves, for their neighbours, for those who suffer or are in need and for the whole world. They look after the church, giving testimony of faith, hope and love.

The Orthodox Church in Poland has six dioceses, nine bishops and counts nearly 600 thousand faithful. There exist eight Orthodox monastic communities in Poland – seven male and five female. Orthodox Christianity remains faithful to the teaching of the ancient Church as presented at the seven Ecumenical Councils, rejecting new dogmas introduced later on by the Roman Catholic Church such as the word Filioque in the Creed, Immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary or primacy of the pope of Rome.

 

In the Orthodox Church:

  • Holy Communion is received under both species i.e. Bread and Wine;
  • infants receive Holy Communion and Chrismation directly after being baptised;
  • bishops are not married; priests are generally married;
  • the sign of the cross is made with three fingers folded together, symbolising One God in Trinity of Persons; ring finger and little finger are folded to the palm symbolising two natures, human and Divine, in Christ;
  • musical instruments are not used in church during services; only choirs sing;
  • in vast majority of Orthodox churches in Poland services are celebrated in Church Slavonic language

 

Address of the monastery
Wojnowo 24
PL 12-220 Ruciane-Nida
Poland
tel./fax: + 48 87 452 70 81

Bank account
KB S.A. 5 O./Białystok
20 1500 1344 1213 4007 9159 0000

Początek szczęścia, to być zadowolonym ze swego położenia.
św. Ambroży z Optiny

Najbliższa liturgia

19 listopada - niedziela godz: 8.00 Jutrznia, godz:10.00 Liturgia.

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