In 2001 an Orthodox parish of the Dormition of Theotokos in Starosielce celebrates its 100 anniversary. A hundred years ago, on July 15th 1901 in the settlement of Starosielce, near the railway station, an orhodox church under the invocation of of St. St. Cyril and Methody was consecrated. The idea to build the church came from the teacher of religion – priest Michał Pieszkowski in 1895. The inhabitants of Starosielce as well as the principal of the school Piotr Kradikow approved of the idea and, and having collected the required amount of money, an annexe was added to the front of the school, where up to 1901 evening services were celebrated. Thanks to its equipment the church was regarded as one of the most beautiful ones in Grodno Diocese.
Life of the settlement got completely desorganized after the World War II broke out. Because its strategic location and the importance of rail industry, the railwaymen and a fairly big group of other inhabitants were exiled to Russia. The equipment of railway industries was exported ; the rest was bombarded.
The church and the school wre saved and used by Germans as military warehouses and stables.
When Orthodox people returned from exile, the church was not given back to them. In 1919 it was changed into a Roman Catholic church. Orthodox parish was supressed. Only a chapel at the cemetery which was soon extended, was left to the Orthodox. Building works didn’t last long – the cornerstone was laid on the day of Dormition of Theotokos on August 28, 1928 and the consecration took place on December the 4th, 1928.
At the beginning, the faithful were under the pastoral care of Choroszcz’s parson, later of St. Nicholas’ church clergy.
During military actions of World War II the church was seriously affected. Its remembrance of that events are fragments in the icon and a pierced bell. The church required major repair. The then parson, priest Aleksander Kudin- Kirykowicz had asked the authorities for permission to reconstruct the church, but in vain.
The situation in the country was not favourable to faithful. It had taken many years for father Michał Chomczyk to get a permission to build a new, ths time brick church. It was in 1972.
In spite of many difficulties, the faithful once again showed a great attachment to their ancesters’ religion.
On August 27th, 1974 Nikanor – the bishop of Białystok and Gdańsk laid a cornerstone of a new church. The building works lasted for 7 years and the church was consecrated by archbishop Nikanor on May th, 1979.
In 1982 father Michał Chomczyk was allowed to extend the presbytery. On August 28th 1985 the head of Białystok and Gdańsk diocese consecrated the extended part together with a room for teaching religion.
On September 3rd , 1985 a new parson of the parish became priest Andrzej Berezowiec who had done his duties for 4 years. Father Jan Troc has been the parson since 1989.
The favourable changes in Poland had also good a goo d influence on the parish life which began to flourish. From that time on young people were being taught religion at their schools, not at parisches, as it used to be.
A parisch choir was created whose conductor was Joanna Chilimoniuk. Young people approached the church. In 2000 the Parish Brotherhood of Youth started issuing a periodical “Theotokos”.
The celebrations of 100 anniversary took place on August 27th and 28th and the occassional service was celebrated by Jakub – the archbishop of Białystok and Gdańsk accompanied by numerous clergy and the presence of multitude of faithful.
Let us hope that Mother of God, the Patroness of the church will never leave it without Her protection and intercession, as the words of the troparion of the Dormition say: “In Your Chilbirth You saved Your virginity, in Dormition didn’t leave Your world…”