On September 17, 2023, celebrations were held in the capital of Belarus in honor of the 230th anniversary of the formation of the Minsk Diocese of the Belarusian Orthodox Church. This year, declared the Year of Peace and Creation, the celebration coincided with a public holiday – National Unity Day.
The central event was the Cathedral Divine Liturgy in the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Minsk, which was led by the Primate of the Belarusian Orthodox Church in the concelebration of Metropolitan Maximilian of Irkutsk and Angara, Archbishop Guriy of Novogrudok and Slonim, Archbishop Anthony of Grodno and Volkovysk, Bishop Pakhomiy of Chistopol and Nizhnekamsk, as well as the clergy of the Minsk diocese.
Before the beginning of the service, particularly revered shrines of Belarus were brought to the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Minsk - icons of the Mother of God "Barkolabovskaya" and "Zhirovichskaya", the Cross of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk.
After the release of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Veniamin offered a prayer of thanks on the occasion of the 230th anniversary of the Minsk Diocese and the state holiday - National Unity Day.
In his archpastoral address, the Primate of the Belarusian Orthodox Church noted that the Minsk Diocese, formed 230 years ago and having a rich and complicated history, continues its service to God and people.
Metropolitan Veniamin drew attention to the fact that in the recent history of the Minsk diocese, the ever-memorable Metropolitan Filaret, the first Patriarchal Exarch of all Belarus, played a particularly significant role, during which the revival of the entire Belarusian Orthodox Church took place.
According to the Patriarchal Exarch, the Minsk land is known for its shrines – the miraculous Minsk icon of the Mother of God, the relics of St. Sophia, Princess of Slutsk. Many priests of the Minsk diocese have testified in difficult times their love for God, the Fatherland and loyalty to the Gospel teaching. Nowadays they were the first to be glorified among the new martyrs of the Belarusian land.
"Celebrating an important date, it is important and necessary to remember historical realities that give us the opportunity to comprehend the past and build the future correctly, confidently, love and thank God for what has been given to us today, cherish and, if necessary, defend what we have," the archpastor concluded.
Archbishop Guriy, on behalf of the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, congratulated the Patriarchal Exarch on his 55th birthday and, as a sign of constant prayer, presented the holy prosphora, as well as a bouquet of flowers.
The Metropolitan of Irkutsk and Angarsk addressed the audience with a welcoming speech. "The fact that Belarus lives peacefully is largely the merit of the Belarusian Orthodox Church," the bishop said. – On this festive day, I wish the Belarusian people a prosperous and peaceful life, so that all people, building themselves in prayer, Christian faith, could bear fruit for the benefit of all. And for everyone to live amicably and with one mind."
Then the anniversary was proclaimed to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the guests of the Belarusian land, the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, the clergy and all those gathered for the holiday.
The chairman of the Parish Council of the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Priest Dionysius Kovalev, congratulated Bishop Veniamin on his 55th birthday on behalf of the clergy and workers of the Holy Spirit Cathedral. After that, the parishioners congratulated the archpastor.
Then a festive concert with the participation of church choirs, professional and amateur groups of Belarus took place at the walls of the Minsk City Hall.
An exhibition dedicated to the memory of the First Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Metropolitan Filaret (Vakhromev), and an exposition of the Pokrov Charitable Foundation for Support, Family and Motherhood, reflecting traditional family values, worked on the site near the Town Hall.
A festive fair of products of the Elisavetinsky Convent of Minsk was held on the territory of the Upper Town.
According to the materials Church.by