Posted: 16.09.2021 09:24:00

Place of power

According to tradition, pilgrims gathered at a miraculous pear tree near the Church of the Apparition of the Mother of God on the eve of the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the Third Saviour

People come here to worship the healing tree and ask the Mother of God for health and well-being – leaving a variety of tributes in gratitude. In Belarus, the only place where this tradition is still alive is Grushki. People named the tree – by which the Virgin appeared – Svyataya Grushka [Holy Pear]. The mountain where the tree grows is located in the far west of the country, 500m from the village of Bushmichi in the Kamenets District.

Nadezhda Karpuk, a local pear keeper, says people are visiting the tree for as long as she can remember. The old lady also came to the tree when she was a small girl of five. Nadezhda’s mother told her a legend that, in the late 19th century, an orphan shepherdess – Paraskeva from the Pavlyuchikov family – got frightened by a strong thunderstorm and sheltered herself under a wild pear tree. The girl had poor eyesight, and she was worried that she would lose her lord’s cattle. However, at that moment, the Mother of God appeared in front of her – praying for Paraskeva’s health and ordering her to go to the village to tell the locals of the Virgin’s coming. According to legend, the girl's eyesight returned and then a rumour was spread that the place was healing. People began to come to the site and a chapel was built near the tree.

During the communist times, the pear tree was cut down and the chapel was destroyed. The crosses and towels – which people used to bring to the tree – were taken away to the forest. However, by our modern days, a new tree has grown out of the stub and people still tear off its leaves and fruits: since old times, there is a belief that they can heal virtually any disease. Moreover, hundreds of various crosses can now be found near it, while a new church was built in 2010.