Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feast of St Gregory (Peradze) in Warsaw

St Gregory (Peradze)

St Gregory (Peradze)


Polish Orthodox Church

The service of all night vigil started the celebration of the feast of St Gregory (Peradze) in Warsaw chapel of his name. It was also the day of St Nicolas.

During the service there guests from Georgia were also present, who came to Warsaw to participate in the feast and to take part in the Kartvelological Conference in the name of St Gregory (Peradze), which will start on December 7, on the University of Warsaw. There was also archbishop Andria of Samtavisi and Gori from Georgia present on the feast.

The service was celebrated in Polish language, which is quite unusual, as most parishes in Poland use Slavonic as their liturgical language.

After the vigil all the guests were invited for dinner, prepared by the parishioners of the chapel.

On the feast day Divine Liturgy was celebrated. There were more than 60 people present, which made it almost impossible to get inside the small chapel.

At 16.45, an hour of the death of St. Gregory (Peradze), a wreath was placed at the board, remembering professors of Warsaw University, who died during II world war. This board is placed on the area of the university and there is a name of St Gregory Peradze – who was the professor on this university before the war. During this celebration sang the choir of the chapel of St. Gregory. Archbishop Andria also participated.

St. Gregory (Peradze) was born in 1899 in Tbilisi (Georgia). He finished a spiritual seminary in Tbilisi. Then he started studies in Berlin (Germany). In 1927 he received PhD in philosophy.

After two years he organized a Georgian, Orthodox parish in Paris. In 1931 he became a monk and was a first parish priest in this parish. In 1933 he came to Poland to be a lecturer on the faculty in Orthodox Theology Section of Warsaw University. He worked there till the break of the war.

On May 5, 1942 St. Gregory was arrested by the Germans, who then occupied Poland. The reasons are not well known, but possibly he helped Jews and cooperated with the Polish resistance movement. After half a year he was moved the the concentration camp in Auchwitz (Oswiecim). He died there on December 6, 1942. The reasons for murdering him are not well known. A witness said, that he had volunteered for the death instead of other man there. He stood barefoot on the snow, he was bitten by fierce dogs, and then he was poured with fuel and fired. Till today it is not known, what happened with saint’s body.

St Gregory was canonised by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 1995. He is also well known and worshipped in Poland, as he spent many years, made a lot of his work and died there.

The chapel of St. Gregory (Peradze) was established by the metropolitan Sawa (the head of the Polish Orthodox Church) in 2006. Then regular services in Polish language started to be celebrated regularly. Now all the major feasts services are celebrated there also in Polsih. From September 2009 Sunday school started to operate for 10 children. About 60 people regularly attend Sunday services, and it is maximum which are able to get to the small chapel.

The chapel belongs to the Polish-Catholic church and is used by permission by Orthodox community.

Saint Gregory became a patron of the community because he is very close to young people, who are the members of this community. He lived not long ago in Warsaw and was active in similar spheres as people from the community (like science, conferences, university lectures etc.). This saint also attracts many Georgian people, who live in Warsaw or come there on different goals – they are often present on the services.


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