St. NICHOLAS CHURCH AS THE ELEMENT OF PRESERVING THE IDENTITY OF THE ORTHODOX PEOPLE IN ZIELONA GÓRA
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The foundation of the orthodox parish in Zielona Góra was connected with the resettlement of Ukrainian and Lemko people in the framework of so-called 'Vistula operation' in 1947. The origins of the parish go back to mid-1948, when the people started to look for a building for the church. Mikolaj Proninski was the founder and the first priest of the parish in Zielona Góra from 1848 to1972. He renovated the church and equipped it with liturgical utensils. In the first years of the existence of the parish there were about 200 parishioners. For a short period of time (1972-1974), Mikolaj Poleszczuk was responsible for the parish. Then the parish was served by the nearby orthodox priests from Kozuchów, Lipiny and Poznan. It was a difficult period for the small orthodox community in Zielona Góra. They were deprived of constant and regular priest service. After a short period (February-May 1975), when the priest was Ihumen Alipiusz from Poznan, Piotr Marczak (1975-1986) took over the duties. During this period the church was renovated inside and painted. Antoni Habura was the priest of the parish in the years 1989-2006. In 1992, the newly built parish house was consecrated. It was used for choir rehearsals and meetings of the orthodox youth. Antoni Habura was responsible for the 'Bractwo Mlodziezy Prawoslawnej' movement in the Wroclaw and Szczecin Diocese. In 1997 the priest started to serve in prisons and hospitals in the parish area. Dariusz Ciolka was nominated the next priest on 20th March 2006, and then on 1st June 2006 Andrzej Dudra started his duty as his follower. The orthodox believers, as well as members of other churches existing in Zielona Góra, are part of a long tradition of Polish tolerance. Multicultural tradition, shaped among others by different religions, is an important fragment of life of the local community. St. Nicholas church became an essential element of the cultural and national identity of orthodox community in Zielona Góra. It consists of Byelorussians, Lemko people, Serbs and Ukrainians. There are about 50 families and part of them live in the villages and towns nearby.
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