Violation of 22 burial pits and removal of human remains from 10 graves of Old Believers – such charges were brought by the prosecutor’s office to four residents of the Sejny poviat, who were working on a private plot of land in Białogóra (Podlaskie Voivodeship) last summer. The District Court in Sejny decided to conditionally discontinue the proceedings for one year. The men are to pay 15,000 zlotys in interest for the Eastern Old Believers Church.
– It cannot be that our cemeteries are destroyed with impunity. There were no crosses on the plot in question, but the local residents knew perfectly well that they were “graves”. So the cemetery – Janusz Jewdokimow, president of the Supreme Council of Old Believers in Poland, said in an interview with tvn24.pl in June.
It is a private recreational plot in Białogóra, where in August last year work began, during which human remains were found. When Yevdokimov arrived, he immediately notified the police.
The last burial took place here in 1946
In the area in question, Old Believers buried the dead from at least 1863. The last burial took place in 1946. – Next to it, there is also the so-called old cemetery with visible crosses. The one who was violated is called the “new”. Its boundaries were marked, for example, on a map from the 1960s – emphasized in June our interlocutor.
The police seized the found remains. She also took pictures of the then state of the cemetery.
The owners of the property claimed that they had not seen the existence of the cemetery
The owners of the property explained in a special statement that they only intended to clean up the neglected plot. Therefore, they started cleaning works, consisting in cleaning the plot of scrubland, bushes and old wild grass. They argued that when they bought a plot in 2016, they did not know about the existence of the cemetery.
After the Eastern Old Believer Church reported that a crime had been committed, the prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation and charged that four inhabitants of the Sejny poviat have insulted the burial sites, who were supposed to breach 22 graves and remove the remains from ten graves during the construction works.
Conditional discontinuation of the proceedings for one year and a premium
On Wednesday, the District Court in Sejny conditionally discontinued the proceedings for one year. The defendants are to pay an interest in the amount of PLN 15,000 to the Eastern Old Believer Church.
The judgment is not final.
The history of Old Believers goes back to the mid-seventeenth century
Old Believers, also called Old Believers, live mainly in the Podlaskie Voivodeship, and more specifically in its northern part, i.e. in the vicinity of Suwałki or Augustów.
This confession arose as a result of a split in the Russian Orthodox Church. The Old Believers did not accept the reforms introduced in the mid-17th century by Patriarch Nikon, which made the rituals of the Russian Church similar to Greek models. Subject to repressions in their country, they began to settle in the territory of the Republic of Poland at the end of the 17th century.
The remains were found in the town of Białogóry
Main photo source: Janusz Jewdokimow