Exhibition “Colours of Orthodoxy – Poland” in the European Parliament

September 2012
Maria Nalewajko

The opening of the exhibition “Colours of Orthodoxy – Poland” took place in European Parliament in Brussels. This is the first place abroad when the exhibition is shown.

By presenting this exhibition – said the coordinator of the project, Mr. Aleksander Wasyluk – we want to show that religion is necessary, even though we often hear in the European Parliament that it is useless. Even though the European Union is often away from Christianity we will try to remind all people that Christianity is a corner stone of the European Civilization. We want to show the power of the Orthodox believers. We want to show that Orthodox people are present in Poland and religious minority can engage in spiritual and educational activities.

Aleksander Wasyluk also said that the exhibition is so popular that he could not say what is the number of this opening. Indeed, since October 2011 OrtPhoto prepared its duplicate. Since then two exhibitions devoted to Orthodoxy in Poland went round the small and large cities in Poland.

For the purposes of presentation in the European Parliament a new version was prepared. Previously presented photos are grouped by topic. We find here information about the nature of Orthodoxy – its sacraments, the faithful, the role of children, as well as issues related to the Orthodox Church in Poland- local monasteries, original Orthodox architecture. The information was prepared in English. On each of the tables is one image leading, and two or three complementary to the subject. Total is more than a hundred photographs. OrthPhoto service resources are much richer, because the other photos in the exhibition were presented in a slide show. At the end of the opening ceremony took place on the preview of photocast prepared jointly with the Foundation Oikonomos with images, video clips and church singing samples gathered for this exhibition.

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek also attended the opening. He pointed out that the solution of contemporary problems of the European economy is in reference to the values promoted by the Christian churches.
The initiative of showing the exhibition in Brussels came from a member of the European Parliament Michal Kaminski, who is very much interested in Orthodox faith. Archbishop of Lublin and Chelm Abel, as a representative of PAOC Council of Bishops, during the opening awarded MEP Michael Kaminski with St Mary Magdalene Order 2nd Degree.
The exhibition is under honorary patronage of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. In a letter from the president, read by his adviser to Orthodox community Alexander Sosna, two issues were raised. A large promotional role of the exhibition – showing Poland as a country of tolerance, and civic dimension of Orthphoto.net service whose volunteers donate their time and skills to show the beauty of Orthodoxy.

The opening of the exhibition took place on 18.09.202. Among the visitors were apart from Archbishop Abel and Polish President’s advisor Aleksander Sosna, employees of parliament, ambassadors of Orthodox countries, as well as representatives of local Orthodox Churches – Greece, the Metropolitan Atanasios of Achaia and Russia, Georgia and Romania, which parishes are located in Brussels.

During the opening guests could listen to church chants performed by cathedral choir from the Cathedral of Transfiguration in Lublin. Repertoire chosen for the opening came paralel with the topic and it created a devout atmosphere. The performace received a warm welcome around guests.

The exhibition, held at the Yehudi Menuhin, which is one of the stately in the Parliament building, will be on display until 21st September.