Each kilometre of the road leading to Benica, a remote village in Belarus, was worth going in order to reach a stunning abandoned church which was shining in the ordinary rural area like a pearl in a colourless seashell. It was amazing and unbelievable at the same time to see the great temple in the neighbourhood of wooden village houses which remained charming despite being forgotten for years. An old gate in front of the building invited to enter it and have a closer look on the building.
The mentioned abandoned temple is the Saint Trinity church. Seeing the massive decaying walls of the building makes wonder about its past. The history of the place brings us back to the beginning of XVIII century. This Late Baroque-style church was built in 1701-1704 by Mikhail Kazimir Kotel as the temple of the Bernardines Monastery. It was closed in 1864 and since 1866 it had been used as an Orthodox church. The church was returned to Catholics in 1919 and had been in use since the World War II. Later this stunning temple was turned into a warehouse and that allowed the decay to take over the building.
The current condition of the church is the result of the destruction which has been lasting since decades. The emptiness inside, grey walls outside, broken glass in the windows – all that turned the temple into something different from its times of greatness. The times which will probably never be back.
Despite that the place still has some magic. Entering the church I heard a sound from the inside of the building which reminded the sound of a mass, consisting of a calm voice of priest and echoes of each move of believers, a bit impatiently sitting in the church pews. No matter it was just an illusion, the source of the sound were real visitors, just a bit unusual ones. The silence, so common for abandoned places was interrupted in this church again and again by birds, plenty of birds flying among the massive walls of the temple, having their nests in the deep niches in the walls, or just observing the temple from its great dome. They also brought some life to this place which, together with the white walls of the church, even brighter in the sunlight, turned the church rather similar to a lobby of the heaven than a gloomy abandoned building counting its last days. This impression was enhanced by elegant columns and sunlight filling the building. Seemed that there’s no place there for any dark shade and nothing can destroy this idyll.
No matter how strong the mentioned impression seemed to be, in fact it was a bit misleading. There was a dark hole in the ground looked like the gate to hell in this heavenly site and led to a completely different place – dark and cold cellar. As if the gloominess of the basement wasn’t enough, the place was full of bones of the Kotels family thrown around. Most likely we’ll never find out who decided to interrupt their eternal rest.
Leaving the place it’s difficult not to have a look one more time on this great and beautiful temple which, despite being already bitten by the time, still has some charm. No matter how powerful the decay is, seems that this time it will have to fight much harder to destroy the beauty of this place and its unforgettable atmosphere.