The Epiphany Church in Polotsk
Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries
Polotsk is the oldest town in Belarus, situated in the Vitebsk region. It was first mentioned in 862 in "the Tale of Bygone Years". The construction of the stone Epiphany Church began in Polotsk in 1761. The Epiphany Monastery in Polotsk appeared long before the construction of the church, in 1653. Despite the fact that all the churches in Polotsk had to become Uniate, the Epiphany Monastery remained Orthodox.
The Epiphany Monastery suffered from terrible fires in 1683, and then in 1754. The monastic brotherhood decided to build the Epiphany Church, the construction of which lasted for sixteen years. The church in Polotsk opened its doors in August 1777. Initially, the church had two towers with crosses and one apse. The northern tower of the church had seven bells. Years later, the walls and the inner part of the dome of the Orthodox church in Polotsk were decorated with colorful murals, which have preserved to present days. However, later the exterior of the Epiphany Church had modified many times.
Empress Catherine II herself provided financial support to the Orthodox Church in Polotsk. After that, a church was built in honor of St. Catherine the Great Martyr, the patron saint of the Empress and the St Euphrosyne of Polotsk church appeared.
Hard times came for the Epiphany Monastery during the October Revolution, when it was temporarily closed. But, despite the revolutionary unrest, in 1920 the Epiphany Church continued functioning; the doors of the church were always open for believers and those in need.
Later, the purpose of the Epiphany church was repeatedly changed: in the 1930s there was a gym, and in the 1980s - an art gallery. It is necessary to mention that the building was perfectly suited for exhibitions of works by famous artists - spacious halls, a lot of light and a good location helped to hold presentations of the best artistic achievements of Belarus and other republics. The Epiphany Church in Polotsk was visited by artists, concerts and meetings with people of art took place as well.
Since 1991, the church is under the protection of the Polotsk Diocese and now has the status of an Orthodox cathedral. The Epiphany complex includes the Museum of Belarusian Printing and library named after Simeon of Polotsk. All expositions of the library-museum are devoted to the life and work of the spiritual writer, Moscow court astrologer Simeon of Polotsk. Opposite the museum, there is a memorial stone with the personal stamp of theologian Simeon of Polotsk.
What relics does the Epiphany Church keep in Polotsk? Here you can find the collection of well-known icons of the Mother of God, the author of which, according to a legend, is the first icon painter evangelist Luke. The icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" is very valuable.
The lovely Belarusian town of Polotsk is rich in historical shrines. It is recommended to visit the only preserved monastery of the 12th century - the St. Euphrosyne Monastery, which contains the incorruptible relics of St. Euphrosyne herself and chains that she wore during her lifetime.