The third city included in the international youth route “Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia” was the ancient city of Belarus, Polotsk.
On the evening of October 23, the project team arrived at the stavropegial Spaso-Euphrosinia Convent.
After the evening service, the participants visited the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior - the only monument of the 12th century in Belarus where the fresco painting was almost completely preserved. It is known that on the territory of Eastern Russia there is only one church of similar preservation - the Transfiguration Church (c. 1140) of the Mirozhsky monastery in Pskov. Also, the project team members were able to bow to the main shrines of the monastery - the holy relics of the Monk Euphrosyne of Polotsk and a copy of the Euphrosyne Cross.
On the morning of October 24, after the Divine Liturgy, Vitaly Petrushkevich, a student of Polotsk State University, studying in the field of “tourism and hospitality”, conducted an excursion for the Smolensk people and spoke about archaeological excavations on the territory of the monastery.
At the end of the visit to the monastery, the abbess of the abbess monastery Evdokia (Levshuk) taught the Smolensk blessing, handing memorable gifts. Archpriest Valery Ryabokon presented the Hodegetria icon of the Mother of God “Hodegetria” and the presentation set with the project symbols as a gift to the abbess Evdokia.
Then, a presentation of the project was held at Polotsk State University. The presentation was attended by 74 people: students and teachers of the university, representatives of public organizations and cultural institutions. tour operators. All participants of the event were presented with presentation kits with the symbols of the project, and it was also proposed to answer the questionnaire.
A graduate of Smolensk State University acted as moderators of the meeting. Researcher at the Museum of Sculpture. S.T. Konenkova Evgenia Orlovskaya and student of the Smolensk branch of the Moscow Energy Institute Vladislav Shankeev.
The opening remarks were opened by the project leader, Rector of the Parish of the Church of the Holy New Martyrs of the Church of the Russian city of Smolensk, head of the Department of the Smolensk diocese for relations between the Church and society and the media, Archpriest Valery Ryabokon, who spoke about the problems, goals, mechanics and the main results of the project.
Participants in the team traditionally started showing presentation clips about the cities of the “Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia” route with a clip about the base city of the project - Smolensk. Project curator, deputy head of the Department of the Smolensk diocese for relations between the Church and society and the media, Maria Zhukova, spoke about the organization of students' work in the project and the technology for creating travel cases developed during the project.
Speakers from the Smolensk Orthodox Theological Seminary Elizabeth Kuznetsova and Andrei Pokatov spoke about the development of a case in the city of Pskov, who spoke about the criteria for selecting places of interest, the difficulties of filming a video about Pskov, and of course, about the Pskov rain that met the team during the first trip.
The third video shown during the presentations, according to tradition, was dedicated to the host city. Sophia Pushenkova and Vitaliy Chalov, students of the Smolensk State Institute of Arts, responsible for the Polotsk case, preceded the screening of the video with a story about their path to creating the Polotsk case.
In her speech, Elena Sergeyevna Mertens, head of the Department of Library and Information Activities and Museology of the Smolensk State Institute of Arts, Elena Sergeyevna Mertens thanked the leadership of Polotsk State University for the partnership in the implementation of the project and presented letters of thanks and books about Smolensk.
In the concluding remarks, Archpriest Valery Ryabokon summed up the presentation and handed over to the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities Denis Alexandrovich Kondakov a certificate confirming the partnership of Polotsk State University in the project.
After the presentation, PSU student Daria Shcherbitskaya, a student specializing in Tourism and Hospitality, conducted a tour of the university for the members of the Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia team.
Then the team went to the first stone building in Belarus, an architectural monument of the 11th-18th centuries, St. Sophia Cathedral, where they heard a story about the difficult fate of one of the oldest temples in Russia. The culmination of the tour was a visit by the team members to an organ concert in the walls of the cathedral. As part of the concert, Ksenia Maksimovna Pogorelaya demonstrated her masterly handling of the organ, since 1988 she has been the titular organist of the concert hall of St. Sophia Cathedral. The city tour continued with a sightseeing tour, where the team was able to see the monuments to prominent Polovtsians such as Euphrosyne of Polotsk, the great enlightener Simeon of Polotsk and the East Slavic first printer Francis Skorin.
At the end of the visit to the city of Polotsk, the Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia team took part in the ceremony of laying flowers at the obelisk on the Barrow of Immortality, where a wreath from the project was laid during the event. The ceremony was attended by students of Polotsk State College, and cadets of the Polotsk Cadet School. The event was attended by representatives of the Vitebsk regional executive committee, as well as the clergy of the Polotsk diocese, represented by the head of the department of the Polotsk diocese for relations with the Armed Forces, Archpriest Alexander Shakhovich.
The next city of the route in the pilot tour was Russian Pskov, to which the project team went after completing a busy stay in Polotsk.