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The wooden church of Bialystok, a village in West Siberia (Russia), took fire on the night of the 19th to the 20th of April. According to preliminary investigations, the fire was due to a short circuit.

The church was one of the oldest catholic churches in Siberia, and one of only two wooden churches which had managed to survive. Its construction started in 1908 and it took three years to complete.  Dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, it ended up being used as a warehouse after its parish priest was arrested during the Bolshevik October Revolution.

Bialystok hosts a big Polish community, who chose to settle there at the end of the 19th century. In 1938 however, the majority of male adults (about 100 of them), were executed by the NKVD just because of their nationality. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the church was given back to Catholics. The present parish priest is Fr. Krzysztof Korolczuk SJ (PMA - Northern Polish Province), who has been working in the Russian region (Kirghizstan and Kazakhstan) since 1997.

The catholic community in Bialystok is part of the Jesuit parish of Tomsk. It was the first one Jesuits established in Siberia and was opened in 1814. Exactly 200 years later, Joseph Werth SJ, Bishop of Novosibirsk, asked the Society of Jesus to return to Tomsk. The Jesuits' mission today includes the runnning of the parish and that of a catholic school.

We ask you to keep the community of Bialystok in your prayers.

Anyone who is willing to contribute to the rebuilding of the church, is kindly asked to contact the Curia of  the PMA on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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