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27 Mar 2014

St Euphrosyne of Polotsk Cross on one-day display in Minsk

St Euphrosyne of Polotsk Cross on display in MinskMINSK, 27 March (BelTA) – A revered Orthodox relic of Belarus, the Cross of St Euphrosyne of Polotsk, will be displayed in Minsk for 10 hours only. The relic has been brought especially for the exhibition project, Ten Centuries of Art in Belarus, which opened at the National Art Museum on 27 March, BelTA learnt from the museum.

The Cross was brought to the Belarusian capital by nuns of the Convent of the Savior and St Euphrosyne on 26 March. The relic will be on display from 11.00 till 21.00 on 27 March.

The Cross of St Euphrosyne was in Minsk during the celebrations of the 75th birthday of Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus in 2010.

The communion cross was created by a local master Lazar Bogsha at St Euphrosyne’s behest in 1161. The cross contained a number of sacred relics such as a part of the Wood of the Cross of the Lord with a drop of blood of the Savior, parts of the stones from the Tomb of the Lord and the Tomb of the Mother of God, relics of first martyr Archdeacon Stephen, great martyr Panteleimon and great martyr St Demetrius of Solun.

The basis of the Cross was made of cypress and decorated with gem-studded gold and silver slabs. The Cross contained the icons of Jesus Christ, Holy Mother, John the Baptist, Michael the Archangel and Gabriel the Archangel, four gospellers, the patron saints and parents of Euphrosyne. There was an author’s postscript in the lower part of the cross and a set-in inscription from St Euphrosyne on the sides of the cross.

St Euphrosyne of Polotsk Cross on display in MinskThe famous six-armed cross was kept at the Cathedral of St Sophia in Polotsk from 1579 and was worshipped by the Orthodox and Uniates. In 1921 the Soviet authorities confiscated all church values. The relic was taken to the museum of Mogilev in 1929. The further fate of the Cross is unknown. It mysteriously disappeared on the first days of the Great Patriotic War.

In 1992 during the celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of the Polotsk Eparchy a decision was taken to recreate the relic. The Cross was remade by Brest master Nikolai Kuzmich who worked on the relic for five years. The master used the same materials, technique and decorations as Lazar Bogsha. Metropolitan Filaret brought the parts of the same Christian relics from Jerusalem. In August 1997 the recreated Cross was blessed by Metropolitan Filaret in the Church of Saint Simeon in Brest and brought to the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Convent of the Savior and St Euphrosyne on the eve of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

The exhibition, Ten Centuries of Art in Belarus, is organized by Belgazprombank in cooperation with Gazprom Transgaz Belarus, the Culture Ministry, the National Art Museum. The exhibition will stay open until 10 July.

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