Continuity

August 14th

My mom reminded me yesterday that it was the 48th anniversary of my baptism. And again she told the story that everyone already heard many times — that I was actually baptized twice. Once in the hospital after I was born, there was a health scare and the possibility that I might not make it right after I was born, so a nurse after being asked by my mom performed a baptism — so if I were to die, I would go to heaven as a member of the Catholic Church. Then there was an official baptism when I was four months old that took place in the old parish church. And I was baptized in this nicely ornamented baptismal font as in the photo above.

Finally, after the incident last week, I was able to visit that old church where I was baptized. I was riding my bike this morning and, for no reason, I took a detour through a city center. Ok, there was reason — I wanted to get ice cream from a special place there, hidden away from the multitudes of passersby and tourists but having in my opinion the best ice cream in the city. And I got that ice cream and as I was walking back to my bike, to my surprise I noticed that the old parish church was open:

And it was empty, I had at least 20 minutes there for myself to explore it. I haven't been there for I think close to 40 years. And even though I become a member of the church there, I no longer consider myself a Roman Catholic, although technically I still am one. I never went through the whole apostasy business to leave the church. Yet. But I tremendously enjoy visiting old churches, and this one was no exception. This church has an extremely important place in the history and heritage of my city. From the XVI to the XIX century, it was the only church in Bialystok. Many local noblemen and women from centuries past are buried in crypts underneath the church — entry to crypts is locked under this hatch on the floor at the back of the church:

This church survived many wars, occupations, political and social, and natural disasters and upheavals intact and unchanged since it was first built. And for about four centuries, all baptisms and weddings, and funerals in the city of Bialystok took place within its walls. That includes those parts of my family that were residents there since 1748 (that’s from when we have the first records of our ancestors living here), and me baptized there as a child in 1974. And as I was walking away, I noticed a group of people to the side outside, clearly getting ready for a christening in this church. I liked that. I liked the continuity of tradition in a particular place that is still going on. And my negative opinions about the church as an institution have no influence on my liking of the permanency of custom and heritage.

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footsteps of the Furies

footsteps of the Furies

“for they knew what sort of noise it was; they recognize, by now, the footsteps of the Furies”. Enjoying life on the road to recovery. Observing and writing.