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Religious procession and mass honouring of church during festive celebrations

Orsha hosts 390th anniversary celebrations for Kuteinskaya Laura
By Alexey Kotov

The celebrations began with a Divine Liturgy at Ilyinskaya Church, involving the Archbishop of Vitebsk and Orsha, Dimitry. After the service, the sacred procession set off from the church walls, bearing the Orsha icon of the Mother of God, and including clergymen, residents, guests and pilgrims. They headed for Kuteinsky Monastery, which hosted a prayer service honouring the icon of the Orsha Mother of God and a bell consecrating ceremony.

The Kuteinskaya Laura hosted a concert and a dramatic performance, Spiridon Sobol, as well as an exhibition of children’s art works: Orthodox Orsha. The History of ABC Books display also delighted visitors. A conference entitled Kuteinskie Readings was held at the monastery, gathering historians and museum curators — including representatives of the National Academy of Sciences and the National History Museum. The festivities finished with an evening service at the Holy Mother of God Cathedral.

The Holy Trinity Monastery of the Theophany in Orsha appeared back in the 17th century, boasting the largest printing house in Belaya Rus at that time. In 1631, printer Spiridon Sobol released the first ABC Book in Belarusian from the monastery, which became a focal point for masters in book making: wood carvers, engravers, tile specialists, minters, icon painters and book printers. In the 19th century, Orsha was called the ‘Belarusian Suzdal’ and the Kuteinskaya Laura is thought to have laid the foundations for monastic brotherhoods throughout Belaya Rus.
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