Not far from Minsk, among picturesque fields and open spaces, you will find a small place Stankovo. Everything here breathes old times: a beautiful count’s park, numbering more than 500 species of trees and shrubs. Snow-white arbor on the shore of a picturesque lake. A unique “tree of love”, growing roots up, enveloped in secrets and legends. Romantic pavilion “Skarbnitsa”, built in the form of a miniature medieval castle. All this manor-and-park ensemble belonged to Count Emerik-Nikolai von Gutten of Czapski. The dominant of the landscape and park ensemble was the church rising on the shore, built by a count in honor of Saint Nicholas the Miracle-Worker and mercilessly destroyed in the Soviet era
St. Nicholas Church was built according to the project of the famous architect of His Imperial Majesty Konstantin Ton, the author of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. This is the only temple in Belarus, built according to the project of the great architect. For several decades Stankovskoe deanery operated under the St. Nicholas Church. The first dean was Archpriest Nikolai Truskovsky, later an archimandrite, historian, writer, local historian, creator of works on the history of churches. At the turn of the XIX – XX centuries, he was headed by Protopriest Theodore Chernyavsky – the father of the newly glorified Saint Blessed Valentine of Minsk. Mother herself in infancy took Holy Baptism in the walls of St. Nicholas Church, carried in it a clerical obedience.
In the 30 years of the last century the temple was closed and looted. The icon of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker, venerated by the inhabitants, disappeared. According to the legend, this image was brought from distant Mirlikia by a pious elder in the XVIII century. Only the icon of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky, who was donated to the consecration of the church in 1858, is preserved. For more than 50 years, the Stankovski ruins were standing, reflected in the lake’s surface, like the echo of the very history of Orthodox martyrdom.
Despite the fact that only walls remained from the church, faith was never forgotten. Someone, while passing by, was baptized, and someone, during heavy tribulations and trials, came here and again, prayed, read the akathists.
With the blessing of the priest, the parishioners in the walls of the destroyed church began to raise their prayers in akathistic singing to their heavenly patron, the Saints Nicolas. More than 10 years, every Thursday, in any weather, in the ruins of the temple, in front of the old faded icon of St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker, the same requests were heard in prayer: “Holy Father Nicolai, pray to God for us! Help to recreate the Temple of God from the ruins!”. It was the time of finding and testing the faith, because the faithless said: “You never restore it, it’s easier to build anew.” The months and years passed, and the temple stood in humble solitude … And now, like a response to the prayerful sighing of the parishioners, in 2002 the little faded old icon of St. Nicholas suddenly began to renew, the garment of Nicholas the Wonderworker changed from bright to bright red, the faces of the Savior and the Blessed Virgin appeared. The patron saint seemed to try to show us that the Lord hears our prayers and blesses us, strengthening in faith and relentlessly trusting his petitive care for us. In the same year, over the aisle of the temple where the akathist served the storks nest. These pure messengers of good and hope, as if pointing to our duty to God and people, ancestors and descendants. This is the holy land. What is destroyed by our predecessors, we must recreate. To leave a legacy of ruins is a sin.
The blessing of Metropolitan Filaret began work on the re-creation of the shrine. And in autumn 2007 a significant event occurred, the first brick was laid in the walls of the church in honor of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Today, thousands of such bricks with the names of donors support its walls. All the names of the donors are commemorated by the coming in the home prayer and on every Divine Liturgy. And even very small parishioners who have barely learned to read, with reverence and at the same time the realization that they are also participating in common prayer, with their children’s voices sincerely ask God for happiness for all people.
The Lord said: “Where two people gather in my name, there I am in the midst of you”, and therefore, the parishioners of the St. Nicholas Church, pilgrims (who come here not only from Belarus, but also from Russia, Ukraine, Germany) in the cathedral prayer they ask for the help of God, the Most Holy Theotokos and our heavenly patrons: St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and Miracle-Worker and our Belarussian saint, the blessed Valentine of Minsk. Yes, the land Stankovskaya remembers, as the feet of the future holy seer and prayer-girl for the whole world walked along it. During my lifetime, Mother said: “Come to my grave as a living, I will help all kind people.” And since the blessed soul of mother Valentina has settled in the Abode of the Heaven, since that time the human path to her grave has not overgrown. The words of the Old Man became prophetic. People carry to Mother their troubles and sorrows, share their joy, talking to her in their hearts as with a close friend, trusting her with all the most important and intimate.
The help of the blessed mother Valentina is surprisingly clear. One of the most striking examples of this is the beginning of the restoration work of Stankovskiy St. Nicholas Church. About 10 years, all attempts to begin this charity work were unsuccessful. And only after the canonization of the blessed Mother Valentina and its attribution to the image of the saints in the land of the Byelorussian shining – miraculously went the work on the revival of the Holy Temple of God in Stankovskaya land.
As if Matushka guided all the restoration works by an invisible hand. It would be desirable to say more and once again, together with all the Orthodox people, simple words that are close to the heart: “Holy Saints of God – Holy Father Nicolae, Holy Blessed Mother Valentine, pray to God for us, as we are eagerly recourse to you, quick helpers and prayer books about our souls!”