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Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk

Author: Lida added 2-12-2012, 06:31
Saint Sophia Cathedral in PolotskSaint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk is probably the oldest church in Belarus. It was built between 1044 and 1066 by Prince Usiaslau - the Wizard.

The Cathedral stands at the confluence of the Polota and Western Dvina Rivers on the eastern side of the city.

The cathedral was built as a symbol of equality with the second Rome - Constantinople. Like in Kyiv and Novgorod where there were also temples in honour of St Sofia, the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk was intended to be a testimony to the power and independence of the Principality of Polotsk.

Polotsk Sofia looked very symmetrical, had seven domes. In the center of the church was the main dome on each side - four smaller. The temple walls were with frescoes, which have survived only in fragments. The cathedral is not only for praying - there was a library, an archive, treasury, magistrate, kept religious shrines and held receptions of ambassadors. Sophia Cathedral for several centuries became a cathedral church of Polotsk bishops and spiritual symbol of the city.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk
Layout of St. Sophia Cathedral.

During all these years Polotsk Sofia was repeatedly rebuilt, burned and changed owners.

In 1730 - 1750 years the Cathedral was rebuilt the last time in Vilnius Baroque style and was consecrated by the Uniates after the descent of the Holy Spirit. St. Sophia was the main temple of the Basilian monastery. So it remained until today.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk

Now Sophia Cathedral - not only ancient monuments and the tallest building in the city. In 1983, chamber music hall was open in cathedral and in 1985 - majestic organ music sounded. Every year in November, there is an international festival of organ music " Sophia’s Bells", and in April - old and modern chamber music. And every 10 years, on June 5 ancient walls come alive in Sofia - then it is a liturgy in honor of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk.

So, St Sofia’s Cathedral in Polotsk has every right to be included into the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk

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Polotsk, Sophia, Cathedral