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« 2021. # 6 (162)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2021. № 6 (162), 1397—1412

UDK 94(438)”1918/1939″+ 725.9

DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2021.06.1397

«DESTROY OR SAVE». DISCUSSION ON THE FATE OF ALEXANDER NEVSKY CATHEDRAL IN WARSAW IN 1918—1923

STARODUB Andriy

  • ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3464-3533
  • Candidate of historical sciences, senior researcher,
  • М.S. Hrushevsky Institute of Ukrainian Archeography
  • and Source Studies of the National
  • Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,
  • 4, Triohsviatytelska str., 01001, Kyiv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail: andriystarodub@gmail.com

Abstract. The article considers the peculiarities of the socio-political discussion that arose in the first years of the Second Polish Rebublic and concerned the future of the largest Orthodox religious building in the region — St. Oleksandr Nevsky Cathedral in Warsaw. The urgency of the topic lies in the need to study the peculiarities of the perception of newcomers after the World War I, states «imperial» architectural heritage and the prospects for the use/destruction of certain landmarks in the new political realities. The subject of the study is the position of certain political, social, scientific and cultural circles in the case of the «church on Saxon Square».

The source base of the study are documents deposited in the archives of some Polish ministries and departments (mainly the Ministry of Religious and Public Education), transcripts of parliamentary sessions, as well as a number of publications that appeared in the Polish press during 1918—1923 years.

The methodological basis of the article is the principles of historicism, systematics and comparability with the use of cultural-historical and comparative-typological approaches.

The author made the following conclusions:

— Despite the fact that the cathedral was clearly at odds with the architectural environment and was a reminder of the era of Russian rule, its «fate» was not decided in advance. Parliamentarians, government officials, and representatives of art circles discussed various solutions to the problem. The chances of preserving the building remained until the spring of 1923;

— The main «dividing lines» between proponents of different solutions were not strictly determined by belonging to political, religious or professional backgrounds. Representatives of national minorities and the Orthodox Metropolitanate in Poland did not actually take part in the discussions;

— One of the motivating factors for a quick and radical government decision in 1923 was the realization of the possible negative consequences of this problem for domestic political stability. The cathedral was dismantled not only as a «symbol of Russian rule» but also as a «pretext for unnecessary conflicts» in the independent Poland.

Keywords: Oleksandr Nevsky Cathedral in Warsaw, Second Polish Republic, Legislative Sejm (1919—1922), de-russification.

Received 27.08.2021

REFERENCES

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