New Church of Saint Nicholas of Japan at Kamienna Górka in Minsk. The Close Tradition of the Far East

prof. Jerzy Uścinowicz
(Bialystok University of Technology, Białystok; Polish Institute of World Art Studies)

Saint Nicholas of Japan was a missionary and propagator of Eastern Orthodox religion in Japan. He was a monk and hieromonk of Hakodate, an archimandrite of Tokyo, and then a bishop and archbishop of Tokyo and the entire Japan. He is the author of translations of the Bible, liturgy and liturgical books into Japanese. He built the Nikorai-do cathedral in Tokyo. He was not as much a pilgrim of the Russian diaspora, as he was a spiritual teacher of the people that he came to. He was deeply rooted in the tradition of the Far East – a saint of the Eastern Orthodox borderland.

The project of the complex of church of Saint Nicholas of Japan at Kamienna Górka in Minsk is the author’s trace of searching for the heritage of the mission of its patron. The projects seeks to follow Saint Nicholas’s path to finding God in Japan. It tries to express the lost Paradise and the new Japanese Garden of Eden. The church and its surroundings were supposed to become a sacred, renewed space in the city, its heavenly “stony mountain”.

My work presents this journey. It discovers the sense of the essence and orders of architecture, coded in symbols and archetypes of the orthodox tradition. These symbols are strongly rooted in the culture of the West that is close to us, but oriented towards the Christian theosis of the Japanese Far East.