Bialystok has been called the City of Mercy for many years now. This name is associated primarily with the person of Bl. Fr. Michael Sopoćko. It was here that he spent nearly thirty last years of his life and created the foundations of theological and liturgical worship of Mercy. From Białystok the message of Divine Mercy has spread all over the world, still remaining very lively in the city today.
It was here that the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy was erected, where the mortal remains of the Blessed. Fr.. Michał are put to rest and the relics of St. Faustina and St. Pope John Paul II are kept. The Sanctuary is Fr. Sopoćko’s dream come true. He had been trying to build a church like this when he was still in Vilnius, however the war prevented execution of his plans.
The beatification of Fr. Michał in September 2008 gathered at the temple nearly a hundred thousand pilgrims from Poland and abroad thereby rendering the City of Mercy famous.
In Bialystok there are also other temples and places marked with Father Sopoćko’s activities. The most special is the Bialystok Cathedral, along with the chapel and the image of the Virgin of Mercy. It was there that painting of the Merciful Jesus was first placed for public worship.
The name of the City of Mercy is confirmed by numerous works of charity and mercy carried out in Bialystok by various organizations and associations, and especially the Archdiocesan Caritas. In many institutions, employees and volunteers provide assistance to children and families, the poor, the homeless, the disabled, addicts, migrants and refugees.
Blessed Father Michał is the most famous inhabitant of Białystok in the world. His relics can be found in over six hundred churches and chapels on all continents, tens of thousands of pilgrims come to Bialystok and to the Sanctuary. Thousands of letters and requests for prayers are sent to the Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus , who pray for his intercession every day at 15.00 at the Chapel in Poleska Street.
In the recent history of Bialystok there was also a significant event on 9th March 1989. Salvation of the citizens from the effects of the lethal contamination of chlorine after a train accident was assigned to the care and intercession of Fr. Michał, because the accident took place was very close to his place of residence in Złota Street and the Chapel where he performed his pastoral ministry in Poleska Street. The Memorial Cross commemorating that miraculous salvation was raised at the railway tracks. The inscription on the cross „Jesus, I trust You” proves the inhabitants of Bialystok have faith in God’s Mercy and intercession of Bl. Fr. Sopoćko. This is the place where every year people pray for his intercession for help and give thanks for saving the city.