Days of Neighborliness

Days of Neighborliness is an attempt to establish a dialogue between two nations that share a common past. It is a good will to create a bridge even for one day and a special moment for the residents of Korczmin and Stajivka, two villages located on both sides of the Polish-Ukrainian border. The day when Poles and Ukrainians forget about the wounds and pain inflicted in the past and celebrate peace and forgiveness.

The central point here is a wooden Orthodox Church erected in 1658 with the icon of the Mother of God that has been found recently. On this festive day Ukrainians and Poles visit this church that is on the Polish side and attend a mass. Then a joint procession starts to the Ukrainian village of Stajivka to the miracle spring. At the Polish-Ukrainian border passports get checked and the ceremony continues on the other side.

I am especially connected to the place where the church stands. My parents were Poles who settled in the village of Korczmin after the Second World War. We lived in a historic house literally a few meters from the church. As a child I often played with my brother in an abandoned church which day by day tilted towards the river. I was scared that one day it would just collapse. I often had a dream that I opened the doors to the church, the doors that in reality did not exist, went inside and kneeled on a wooden floor, the floor that really did not exist, either. After many, many years, my dream came true. The Orthodox church was rebuilt. Days of Neighborliness have been organized for a few years.

Some time ago I learned about the rebuilt church and this annual event. I really desired to go there especially that I currently live in the USA. In summer 2018, after 17 years of absence in Poland I managed to visit this special place and get to know the neighbors living on the other side of the border.