Listings for localites
in the Pruzany District
* Linowa (Linewa)
as Kartuz-Bereza, it is a town in the district of Pruzhany, formerly the
Brest district, on the river Jasiodla. On January 1, 1878, the town
counted 2,507 inhabitants, i.e. 1,121 male, and 1,386 female. Of these,
1,113 were Jews. Bereza features a train station on the Moscow-Brest rail
line, between Linieva and Kosov, located 92 verst (*) from Brest. At the
time this was one of the postal stations located on the main Moscow-Brest
route, between Svadbicze and Zapole.
monastery and a Kartuz church of the Holy Cross once stood here. At one
time this was the only congregation in all of Lithuania. It was funded by
Leon Sapieha, the Lithuanian deputy chancellor, who in 1648 had the first
stone laid by Jan de Torres, the papal nuncio in Poland. The Italian
builder was brought to the region, to oversee the construction of these
imposing walls. The church and monastery were surrounded by a hexagonal
rampart, funding for which was provided by the benefactor, who having
donated so generously to the parish, had himself taken vows of poverty and
within a radius of several miles of Bereza, including towns, villages,
rivers and forests, were transferred to the kartuzian people. The Congress
(Seym) approved the transfer of funds to the Kartuz people in 1653,
however it was only several years after the death of the benefactor, that
the construction of the church was completed. The inauguration took place
on June 6th
1666, the day of the funeral
of Kazimierz Leon, and was presided over by Alexander Sapieha, the bishop
of Vilnus. In the year 1706 a number of misfortunes befell the district,
which also left their lasting mark on Bereza.
First Peter the
Great jointly with August II, attempted an invasion of the monastery with
their army. Later, on April 28th,
Karol XII, the king of Sweden arrived at the head of two infantry
battalions. 1,500 Russian dragoons (**) defended the monastery and its
access across the dam. The king acknowledged the difficulty of making the
crossing, retreated by throwing himself into the water, followed by the
grenadiers. Having witnessed their quick retreat, the dragoons also
withdrew. The king returned to the village of Alba where he and his men
spent the day at the local monastery, taking with them three hostages, for
whose release a ransom of 300 zloty was paid.
In 1708 the
Kartusian population had another encounter with the Swedish army. The
Swedes having entered the monastery, took three priests hostage, demanding
payment for their release. To compensate for insufficient ransom, the
church silver was offered in lieu of payment. The remaining priests
fearing captivity, hid in the surrounding forest, leaving behind only four
guards. In later years the monastery encountered further misfortunes, and
falling into disrepair was finally demolished in 1831.
Visits to the
church at this time, reveal a complete disintegration amongst the clergy,
characterized by immoral and frivolous behaviour, resulting in enormous
losses to the church holdings. The grounds were found in a state of total
disrepair, the ponds overgrown, the library, once housing a notable
collection, left in complete disarray. A memorandum was found, issued to
bishop of Vilnius, Jan Nepomuc Kossakowsky, outlining the means which if
implemented, could have restored order to the monastery.
church in Bereza was until recently the parish church of the Pruzhany
* A verst is
an old Russian unit of distance, 1 verst =1066.78m or just over 1 km.
** A dragoon was traditionally a soldier
trained to fight on foot, but transport himself on horseback. In other
words, he moved as cavalry but fought as infantry. The name derives from
the dragoon's primary weapon, a carbine or short musket called the dragon.
Sometimes, dragon carbines are said to have been so-called because they
"breathed fire" — a reference to the smoke they emitted when fired.