Bialystok – St. Roch’s Church

This Roman Catholic church was constructed between 1927 and 1946, on the site of a former cemetery which was badly damaged by the Russians in 1863. It’s a different design to many Polish churches, with a decision having been made to build it in a modernist style. Work had progressed well, with a mass taking place in 1941, until the Germans interfered with the arrangements by invading Poland and then later turning this church into a barracks for its soldiers, but it was fortunately completed. This was despite the Soviets wanting for a while to turn the building into a circus after the end of the Second World War, something which I can only imagine what the local clergy thought of.

The church is in a dominant position in the city on elevated ground. There had been a chapel on the site which was constructed in 1741, although this is no longer standing, having met a similar fate to the cemetery.

There is a memorial in front of the church to those who died when flight TU-154 crashed on 10 April 2010, killing 96 people, including the President of Poland. Also killed was Ryszard Kaczorowski, a politician born in Bialystok, who was the last president of the Polish Republic in exile.