A disastrous fire in the 18th century Lyadiny ensemble has resulted in the destruction of one of the two churches and the belltower. Wooden churches are very vulnerable, but all too often the situation is compounded by neglect and indifference, says Matilda Moreton
During Soviet rule, the single-minded persecution of the Church, its buildings and clergy meant that every destructive method was employed. Churches were dynamited, burned to the ground, chopped down with axes. Priests and their families were exiled, imprisoned, executed. Icons were heaped on to bonfires, chopped up for firewood, made into sledges, window shutters, cattle troughs, and sometimes even faced firing squads.