Church sites built from the heart

Buildings from the early 20th century, located on the hill on which the Holy Spirit Cathedral is sited, are to be restored

Buildings from the early 20th century, located on the hill on which the Holy Spirit Cathedral is sited, are to be restored: educational buildings, a hostel, a rector’s office, refectories, a library, a conference hall and the academic church of the Spiritual-Educational Centre. A similar project was planned in the 18th century and is now informing modern architects.

The Church of the Spiritual-Educational Centre and its gates were decorated by mosaic triptychs, on which the best icon-painters of our country worked. To make the panel slightly original, the masters used unique smalt, from which Byzantine mosaics were made.

The Commissioner for Religions and Nationalities, Leonid Gulyako, has reported that Minsk’s Ecclesiastical Academy is soon to move to the Spiritual-Educational Centre, training personnel at graduate and postgraduate level. The Academy is currently situated at the Holy Assumption Zhirovichi Monastery, 200km from Minsk. The move is being completely financed by the state.

The state has also helped to restore some historical and cultural sites — including the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Borisov, the Assumption Monastery in the Mstislavl District, and the monastery in Yurovichi settlement of the Kalinkovichi District. Speaking about constructing new churches, Mr. Gulyako notes that 69 requests were received last year for land plots on which to site religious buildings, with half being granted. He notes that Belarus allocates more land free of charge for this purpose than other European countries. Refusal is usually made regarding the large number of unfinished churches, the violation of submission procedures and lack of adequate funding.

The programme to develop the confessional sphere, national relations and co-operation with compatriots abroad continues, although recent sad acts of terrorism in Paris have inspired greater control over activities. The principle of tolerance remains of course, with the Advisory Interfaith Council uniting the heads of all 25 religious confessions in Belarus, on equal terms; there, all problems can be discussed.

By Irina Sudakova
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