Posted: 06.06.2022 09:58:00

Celebrations honouring 1030th anniversary of Orthodoxy in Belarusian lands held in Polotsk

On June 5th, the main celebrations timed to the 1030th anniversary since the Orthodox Christianity took root in Belarusian lands and in memory of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk were held – gathering thousands of believers

The celebration began with a divine liturgy in the St. Sophia Cathedral of Polotsk, and then believers went to the St. Euphrosyne Convent. A solemn procession dedicated to the saint has been organised along a traditional route – associated with her earthly life – for many years, representing a human memory of St. Euphrosyne’s invisible spiritual feat, which people have remembered for more than seven centuries.

A service at the Elevation of the Holy Cross Cathedral of Savior was then held – led by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who arrived in Belarus to participate in the festivities. “This is not only a holiday of this land – which was among the first to adopt Christianity in Rus – but of all Russia. That is why I am here with you today. Indeed, the adoption of Christianity here, in this place, became a strong impetus to the spread of the faith of Christ in all the outlying lands," he stressed.

His Holiness recalled hard times of the Polotsk land: it was often attacked but always survived thanks to faith. “The Orthodox Church is now a spiritual support of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine – all our fraternal Slavic countries," the Patriarch said.

In his sermon, Patriarch Kirill emphasised that it is necessary to strengthen the Orthodox faith in hearts of young people who are now under a strong influence of modern information flows. “We need to develop our Sunday schools and build closer relationships with the education system – so that, in secondary schools, children can join the most important aspect on which genuine patriotism is also based: love for the Fatherland and their people,” he noted.

In turn, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus Veniamin recalled how Polotsk and the diocese had transformed since the advent of Orthodoxy. He thanked Patriarch Kirill for participating in the celebrations, “A new glorious page in the history of the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Belarusian Exarchate is opening, and we thank you with love for your primatial visit.”