1st of November, on my first All Saints Day in Petersburg i drank tea with slovakian priest in the middle of industrial district. It all began with the idea to visit some Poles that are on “the other side” and sleep somewhere in SPB. And I found them. Even some of them are from my region – former Piotrkow Governorate (Gubernia Piotrkowska). But actually – I found noone.
To listen I reccomend something calm as Leszek, Zohar and Lars.
In the middle of industrial district means – just in the middle of concrete jungle. As it is commonly shown on maps as violet see this map:
Building on Mineralnaya 21Д (just in the centre of map) is a church.
Katolicy w Petersburgu mieli swój cmentarz dopiero od połowy XIX wieku (wcześniej “korzystali” z cmentarzy prawosławnych). Car się zgodził, dostali ziemię, zbudowali kaplicę i spory cmentarz – podobno pochowano tu w sumie około 100 000 osób.
In 1918 cementary was naconalized – since then government took care about dead. In may 1939 cementery was no longer needed and i was liquidated. Well – the institution of cementary as cmentary itself – according to maps – was still there. However factories, warehouses, concrete and asphalte slowly covered its area.
The building of church was given to Agricultural Institute or industrial plant (there are differences between sources). In 60’s, 70’s there were still many graves that could be found between buildings. When in 2003 church was given back to catholics, there were almost no trails of graveyard on its area.
Today parish of Visitation is surrounded by vast industral area, with a building of church staing as an inselberg, survivng difficult history of this place.
Everything is still “under construction” – I met Indian member of parish, who was busy cleaning up parish yard – with only one grave that survived.
Inside building is splited into smaller rooms – there is something like classroom and two chapels. Larger chapel is made across the main nave – with an altair under side window. Interior is very simple – white walls, windows without stained glass (which probably was here earlier), simple chairs – partly white, plastic, garden chairs. It is surely concsequence of the fact that parish is not wealthy and priests together with parish members are making repairments by their hands. But for me it resembles Romance churches or the placese where ancient christians meet. Without necessary decoration, more like home than like palace.
There, in the church and in every part of parish You can feel that those who come here really care about this place. Parish is conducted by Divine Word Missionaries. I got there just from the street and was really pleasantly hosted by Slovakian priest (we were speaking russion so I am not 100% sure he was really priest and really Slovakian 🙂