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5 Mar 2020

Capsule with soil from Rzhev battlefield handed over to Minsk All Saints Church

Capsule with soil from Rzhev battlefield handed over to Minsk All Saints Church

MINSK, 5 March (BelTA) - Speaker of the Federation Council of Russia’s Federal Assembly Valentina Matviyenko handed over a capsule with the soil from the fields of sanguinary battles near Rzhev to the Memorial Church of All Saints in Minsk during her visit to Minsk, BelTA has learned.

The capsule contains the soil from two places: from the “height-200”, for which the battles lasted for several months, and from the mass grave near the village of Kokoshkino where thousands of unknown soldiers were buried. The capsule handover ceremony is timed to coincide with the international action of remembrance “To the Glory of the Common Victory!

The event was attended by MPs, representatives of the diplomatic corps and the Belarusian Orthodox Church. After the ceremony, Valentina Matviyenko talked to the Leningrad siege survivors who settled in Minsk. They said that they are satisfied with life in Belarus, actively participate in various events, often visit schools, meet with young people.

After the ceremony Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Pavel gave Valentina Matviyenko an icon depicting Saint Euphrosyne of Polotsk.

A capsule with soil from the battlefield near Rzhev was placed into the crypt of the All Saints Church in Minsk. It was the 78th capsule of this kind. The crypt has 504 niches grouped into sectors. The soil from the Rzhev battlefield was placed next to the soil taken from other major battlefields of the Great Patriotic War, including the Battle of Kursk, Partisan Operation Breakthrough in Vitebsk Oblast, Vyazma Operation. “Rzhev is an important milestone in the history of the Great Patriotic War. It is the place of one of the deadliest fights; the land near Rzhev is soaked with blood, this place is sacred for us. The fact that it will be kept in the crypt of the All Saints Church in Minsk is a great honor,” Director of the Belarusian Cultural Center of Spiritual Revival Aleksandr Gostev said.

According to him, a memorial museum will open in the All Saints Church within the framework of the campaign "To the Glory of the Common Victory!" ahead of 9 May. Its exposition will illustrate major battles in which the Belarusians took part in: from the battle on the Nemiga River to the Afghan war. The museum will make its visitors familiar with the history behind every capsule in the crypt with the help of photos, valuable historical artifacts, and findings handed over to the church by its parishioners.

“We do not keep count of the capsules, we keep count of the events behind these capsules, because each of them is a stage of the past. It is a new method of preserving the memory in order to be able to fully answer questions of future generations about our history, as veterans leave us one by one,” Archpriest Fyodor Povny said.

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Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus