Symbol of faith and spiritual unity

Five metre bronze monument to Patriarch of Moscow and all-Russia Alexy II installed in Vitebsk, near Holy Dormition Cathedral
By Sergey Gomanov

On the Feast of the Annunciation, the monument was solemnly unveiled and consecrated. Alongside numerous believers, church clerks and heads of the region and the city attended the ceremony. There were many guests from Russia, including patron Anastasia Ositis, who financed the monument. The sculpture stands beside Holy Dormition Cathedral, which stands high on the bank of the Zapadnaya Dvina River. It is considered to be one of Belarus’ most beautiful churches, designed by Iosif Fontan in the late 18th century. Thought to be inspired by Anorio Longi’s church, in Rome, it was sadly reduced to rubble in 1936, during the years of ‘militant atheism’. However, restoration works began sixty years later. In 1998, Patriarch Alexey II visited Vitebsk and laid a capsule (containing a letter) in the church’s foundations, as well as consecrating the first stone of its restoration. He visited again in 2000, giving his blessing for its speedy completion and, in September 2011, the new Holy Dormition Cathedral was consecrated.
The monument was jointly created by famous Belarusian sculptor Vladimir Slobodchikov, by Prof. Igor Morozov and by Igor Voyush. Addressing the parishioners and expressing gratitude to those who took part in creating the monument, the Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk Filaret, the Patriarchal Exarch of Belarus, noted,” The unveiling of the monument testifies to the faith of our people while also showing the spiritual unity of all Orthodox nations, who love each other and the whole world.”
The Chairman of the Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee, Alexander Kosinets, underlined that Belarus is keen to encourage the spiritual and moral education of the nation. Close collaboration between civil and spiritual powers brings only benefits. Such interaction, as promoted by Alexy II, has already reaped tangible results.
Church members are promoting spiritual ties between ordinary believers, business people and patrons of art, such as Anastasia Ositis, who financed the monument to Alexy II in Vitebsk. Her next plans include the foundation of a monastery in the Gorodok District.
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