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Belarus' Zhirovichi Monastery gearing up for 500th anniversary celebrations

Society 21.11.2019 | 14:16
Zhirovichi Monastery. Archive photo
Zhirovichi Monastery. Archive photo

MINSK, 21 November (BelTA) – Plans are in place to restore a building, cast new bells, and unveil a monument ahead of celebrations timed to the 550th anniversary of the Zhirovichi Icon of the Mother of God and the 500th anniversary of the stavropegic Holy Assumption Zhirovichi Monastery, Aleksandr Snezhko, assistant to Archbishop of Novogrudok and Slonim, said at a press conference in Minsk on 21 November, BelTA has learned.

The Belarusian government has provided assistance to the monastery for many years, Aleksandr Snezhko noted. “The buildings of the monastery have been either restored or renovated. Restoration of one of the oldest buildings of the monastery – the first dormitory – is underway. A new set of bells will be made for the monastery with support of the Russian embassy,” he said.

Moreover, Zhirovichi will unveil a monument to Holy Martyr Seraphim of Zhirovichi. A bronze figure of the martyr on a granite pedestal will be erected by the entrance to the monastery. “He was a true man of faith who made a significant contribution to the revival of the Orthodox church in Eastern Belarus after World War II. During the war, Seraphim of Zhirovichi together with another priest traveled around the eastern part of the country. There was not a single functioning Orthodox church there at the time, but thanks to the efforts of the two priests, 74 churches opened in Eastern Belarus. Later Seraphim of Zhirovichi was arrested and died as martyr,” Aleksandr Snezhko said.

The main celebrations will take place on 20 May; festive services will start on 19 May. Thanks to a new facility with guest rooms and a refectory, the monastery can accommodate pilgrims all year round. However, during the celebrations this may not be enough, so the organizers are mulling over setting up a tent camp around one of the holy wells in the vicinity of the monastery.

The Zhirovichi Monastery is one of the largest architectural ensembles of the 17th-18th centuries in Belarus. It has never closed throughout its history, maintaining the continuity of traditions for five centuries. The monastery is involved not only in spiritual but also in social activities. For example, a rehabilitation center for people with various addictions operates at the monastery. Medical specialists and clergymen help patients of the center return to normal life.

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