Faculty, students, and staff of the European Humanities University (EHU) join those who knew Father Alexander Nadson and admired his work in mourning his passing this week.
The recipient of an EHU Honorary Doctorate in 2008, Fr. Nadson was Director of the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum in London for more than forty years. The Library and Museum is the largest publicly-available collection of Belarusian books outside of Belarus. Its holdings include books published by Skaryna himself, a copy of the Third Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and a collection of historical Belarusian artefacts.
During his visit to EHU to receive his honorary degree, EHU’s academic community honored Fr. Nadson’s research accomplishments in the fields of Belarusian history and the history of Christianity, as well as his contributions to promoting Belarusian culture and raising awareness about Belarus worldwide.
“The value of Fr. Nadson’s contributions to the preservation of Belarusian historical heritage is immeasurable. The remarkable Skaryna Library and Museum collection is the result of decades of his dedication. It is of vital importance that this legacy be preserved and available to scholars in the future, as well,” notes EHU Rector David Pollick.
In addition to his work at the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum, Fr. Nadson was Apostolic Visitor for all Belarusian Greek-Catholic faithful abroad since the late 1980s. He was one of the founders of the Association of Belarusians in Great Britain and its chairman from 1951-1953. He edited Belarusian periodicals and took part in the activities of the Ruń Belarusian Christian Academic Society and the Belarusian People's Independent Christian Movement.
Fr. Nadson was born in the village of Haradzieja near Niasvizh. He emigrated to Great Britain in 1946 after being wounded as a soldier in the Polish II Corps in northern Italy. Fr. Nadson studied at the University of London and at the Pontifical Greek College in Rome and was ordained a priest in 1958. Returning to London in 1959, he resumed his activities in Belarusian diaspora organizations in the United Kingdom.
Fr. Nadson directed the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum from 1971 until his death and from 1981 also served as head of the Belarusian Catholic Mission in the United Kingdom.
Photo Credit: Czalex, Wikipedia