Photographer's Note

I have seen water pumps in many variations - even have one myself at my mountain cottage. But this variant outside the Orthodox monastery in the Podlaskie region of Poland beats them all. An own house and a kind of 'elevated' position, very stylish and impressive. To bad no information of background and use was given at the place..

The Orthodox Church in Poland
Polish government statistics report that those who profess the Orthodox faith in Poland number 550,000. The Orthodox Church itself puts the number of the faithful at over 800,000.

Historically, the Orthodox lived in the eastern provinces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and were ethnically primarily of Belarusian and Ukrainian. During the Period of Partitions (1795-1918) the Tsarist government of Russia favored the Orthodox Church in its program of Russification of the Polish lands under its control. A symbol of this was its erection of a large Orthodox cathedral in the very center of Warsaw, the capital of the previously independent nation and a city whose Christian population was predominately Roman Catholic. Soon after Poland regained its independence in 1918, the cathedral was demolished, an indication of the difficulties under which the Orthodox Church labored, particularly as its episcopate (bishops) came under the, by then Soviet-dominated, Moscow patriarchate. In this context both the leaders of the Church and the Polish government of the day, favored the Church becoming autocephalous, that is, independent. Steps to achieve this end were undertaken in 1921 and buy 1924-25 that the autocephalous Church became formally established. It retains that status to this day.

Following the 1944 shift in Poland's frontiers and the annexation of a large portion of what had been Eastern Poland by the Soviet Union, the number of the faithful shrunk from the 3.8 million noted by Poland's 1931 census to the current much smaller number.

by Peter K. Gessner

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Additional Photos by Jack R Johanson (jrj) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4529 W: 494 N: 7430] (34843)
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