SLONIM, 24 January (BelTA) – The preparations for the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the miraculous Zhirovichi Icon of the Mother of God and the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Holy Dormition Stavropegic Monastery in Zhirovichi should be finished by 1 May, Belarus' Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko said as he addressed a meeting of the national organizing committee for the event, BelTA learned.
“Preparations are under way. At the moment we are evaluating the progress in the construction and assembly work, the refurbishment of Slonim District and the preparation of the facilities for reception and accommodation of guests. Last year Slonim hosted the Belarusian Written Language Day celebrations and the district prepared really well. I am sure that it will pull off the organization of this festive event too,” Igor Petrishenko remarked. He emphasized that the aim is to wrap up all the preparatory work by 1 May.
“I have no doubt that all the planned work will be completed thoroughly and in due time. All the preparations are going as planned. The authorities of Grodno Oblast are monitoring the quality of the work,” said the deputy prime minister.
At the moment the bell tower and the monks' residence at the monastery are undergoing wide-ranging restoration. Plans are in place to spruce up Zhirovichi District, refurbish significant objects in the locality, and overhaul residential buildings, roadways, engineering networks and set up tourist camps. The landscaping of the territory continues.
“Zhirovichi Monastery is famous well beyond Belarus' borders. It attracts a great number of tourists. It is important to make good use of the anniversary celebrations to ensure a further upsurge in tourist flows,” noted Igor Petrishenko. He pointed out the need for a high-quality information support of the upcoming celebrations.
The festive events will be held in May 2020. Zhirovichi Monastery will be the center of celebrations. The agro-town of Zhirovichi, Slonim District, Grodno Oblast and other regions of Belarus will not stay away from the important event. The anniversary celebrations will feature theme tour routes around the holy sites, natural attractions and historical landmarks of the region, with an option of online excursions.
An exhibition of icons from the collection of the Stabrovsky Slonim local history museum is scheduled for May-August 2020. During the festive events Zhirovichi will also host an exhibition of rare and hand-made books named In Touch with Spirituality, a folk handicraft fair and master classes in folk craftsmanship. The locality will also become the venue for the 5th Zhirovichi Fest open festival.
The region also offers a tour route called the Holy Places of Grodno Region which features excursions to local Orthodox churches and monasteries.