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20 Sep 2019

Preparations for Belarus' Zhirovichi Monastery anniversary celebrations discussed in Minsk

Preparations for Belarus' Zhirovichi Monastery anniversary celebrations discussed in Minsk
Igor Petrishenko

MINSK, 20 September (BelTA) – Celebrations to mark the 550th anniversary of the Zhirovichi Icon of the Mother of God and the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Holy Dormition Stavropegic Zhirovichi Monastery should be held to a high standard, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko said at a meeting of the national organizing committee for the anniversaries, BelTA has learned.

“The Zhirovichi icon is known not only as a wonderworking icon but also as a unique piece of art, a historical and cultural phenomenon. It is respected both by Orthodox and Catholic believers. The icon is closely connected with the history of the Holy Dormition Monastery which is one of the largest architectural ensembles of the 17th - 18th centuries in Belarus,” Igor Petrishenko said.

The icon and the monastery are part of Belarus' cultural heritage and are sacred symbols of the Belarusian people. “Our goal is to organize the anniversary celebrations to a high standard,” Igor Petrishenko noted.

According to Igor Petrishenko, it is important to engage as many Belarusians as possible in the celebrations. The organizers should hold educational events for children and the youth, such as art contests, classes and conferences on related topics, ahead of the celebrations.

Igor Petrishenko spoke at length about the travel industry of the region. He said that the region, unfortunately, is not doing enough to promote its travel industry. “The Zhirovichi Monastery is well known abroad and we should use the anniversary celebrations as a means to attract tourists. In the run-up to the events, we should compile information about the history of the monastery and Slonim District and upload it to various information resources, including websites of foreign organizations,” he noted.

Moreover, the significance of the monastery for Belarus and Christianity in general will receive coverage in national and regional mass media, media of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, and religious media.

The celebrations will be held in May 2020. Participants of the meeting also discussed a concept of the celebrations and a program of the events submitted by Belarus' Commissioner for Religions and Nationalities Leonid Gulyako. The main venue of the events will be the Zhirovichi Monastery. The agro-town of Zhirovichi and other towns in Slonim District will also host various events.

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