TUROV, 2 May (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the Cathedral of Sts. Cyril and Lavrentiy of Turov in the town of Turov in Zhitkovichi District on 2 May, BelTA has learned.
Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarch Exarch of All Belarus, Bishop Leonid of Turov and Mozyr, and Archpriest Vasily Pytel, the key priest of the cathedral, met the head of state at the central gate of the cathedral. At the entrance to the church, Aleksandr Lukashenko was welcomed by children of the local parishioners who presented him with a bouquet of flowers and an Easter basket. The head of state also presented the children with gifts.
In the cathedral Aleksandr Lukashenko lit an Easter candle at the icon of the Resurrection and had a talk with the worshipers. Aleksandr Lukashenko donated a recreated Holy Cross of Turov, which was lost after an earthquake that destroyed the cathedral in the 13th century. The head of state was given the Icon of Sts Cyril and Lavrentiy of Turov.
“Christ is Risen! Today I say these traditional Easter words in the Cathedral of Turov with a special feeling. Here, as Polotsk, is the cradle of Christianity in our land. This place is a truly inexhaustible source of faith, spirituality, wisdom and unity of the Belarusian people, the people whose soul resembles this town. At first glance the town may look small and modest. But behind the modesty there is more than a thousand years of history, which has a lot of significant pages and important events, which have become part of the history of various nations and states,” the president said.
The head of state confessed that Turov is his favorite city: “I love this small, cozy Belarusian city very much. It is small in size, but in its warmth and openness it is the greatest city of our Belarusian land together with Polotsk.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko added that the soul of our nation and the beauty of Turov open up only to those who come to the Belarusian land in peace and good thoughts, to people with God in their hearts: “Our famous countryman bishop Cyril of Turov, a Belarusian saint, philosopher, enlightener and spiritual mentor, said that back in the 12th century. As contemporaries say, the second Chrysostom. The wisest saint already knew then that the most important values are the peace, work on the native land and consent between people.”
“It is what has helped Belarusians more than once to overcome hardships, wars, and turmoil. It still does. Our country has been tested many times and is tested again. Everyone can see that God protects us, protects us until we keep Him in our hearts and thoughts” said the Belarusian leader.
Over the past few years, Belarus has been working to recreate the altar cross of the diocese of Turov of the 12th-13th centuries. It belongs to the erecting (altar) crosses of the Byzantine and Old Russian temples. A famous Belarusian relic - the cross of Venerable Euphrosyne of Polotsk – can be named among them.
Back in 1962, during the excavations of the Turov settlement, four lead icons - of the Blessed Virgin Mary and three saints - were discovered on the layer of the 12th-13th centuries. According to scientists, they were located on the altar cross. The cross itself was the main sanctuary of the diocese of Turov and was kept on the altar of the cathedral of the city. It is known that the temple was destroyed by an earthquake in the first half of the 13th century.
The decision has been recently taken to recreate the Turov cross. The corresponding order was given by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 16 June 2017 during his visit to the Polesie State Radiation and Ecological Reserve. In August 2019, the concept of the Turov cross was approved by the then Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl. The work began in the autumn. Two identical crosses were made according to medieval technologies – the one for the diocese of Turov and the other for the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.