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16.03.12 / The 46th International Tourism Fair, «ITB Berlin 2012», which took place from March 7 to 11 in Berlin, once again confirmed its status as the world's biggest tourism and services exhibition.
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To cleanse the soul, get acquainted with the godsend of holy sites, touch the wonderworking icons, drive to the sacred springs, acquire new religious experience — all that one can do while visiting sacred sites of Belarus. Such belarusian sanctuaries as Evfrosinjevskiy convent of Polotsk, the biggest temple of Belarus in honour of the Resurrection of Christ in Brest, Catholic Church in Novogrudok built in the place of a pagan temple, Biblical fresco paintings of St. Stanislav temple in Mogilev are known throughout the world.
Universal importance of belarusian landmarks is proved by UNESCO authoritative experts. Cathedral church with a crypt-reliquary of Radzivilly in Nesvizh, Borisoglebskaya (Kolozhskaya) church of XII century in Grodno, Spaso-Evfrosinjevskaya church and St. Sofia cathedral in Polotsk, Nikolaevskiy monastery, defense temples in Synkovichi near Slonim and in Kamaji near Postavy, wooden churches of Polesje pretend to be added in the list of the World Heritage.
In 2002, apart from Holly Spirit Cathedral and Petro-Pavlovskiy cathedral, churches in the name of the Peer Apostle Mary Magdalina and Blessed Grand Duke Aleksandr Nevskiy, one more church was added to belarusian orthodox sanctities. Belarusian Orthodox Church in Minsk opened a House of mercy with a medical center, hotel, icon workshop, sacred spring and a house temple in the name of the Suffering Job.
Our country not only stands on the European intersection. Belarusian land is a crossroad of ways to God: Christians and Jews, Muslims and Krishnaites, Zen Buddhists and Bahaists, esoteric religion adepts and pagans have been living here in peace and consent for centuries. Traditions of east and west interlaced in Belarus, and each religion has left its spiritual and material trade in these places. One can see an Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Judaic synagogue in the Mir town, which has already become a visiting card of the country. And this is not exclusion, it is a rule: hieratic buildings of different religions neighbour practically in all cities and towns of the republic.
Two centuries ago prospective rabbis from different places, even from Africa and Japan, have been coming to a belarusian town of Volozhyn, where yeshiva, a famous Jewish Ecclesiastical Academy, was located, to comprehend Talmudic secrets. Today Jews from all over the world come to Belarus to honour the graves of great adepts of Torah, zaddiks and rabbis. 78 ancient Jewish cemeteries, more than 100 synagogue buildings and yeshivas have preserved on the belarusian land.
Muslims have been living on the territory of Belarus for more than 600 years, wooden mosques have remained in different regions of the country, and every Islam adept can accomplish a religious ceremony and meet coreligionists there. The oldest Muslims’ temple in the republic is located in the unofficial capital of the belarusian Tatarians – the city of Ivje of the Grodno region.
Christian and Judaic child and youth camps function in the republic, outside activities are combined with prayers and mental education. Religious tourism in Belarus has an educational character. But you can not only travel across Belarus and visit religious places with cognitive and educational purposes. Pilgrimage is more than just an excursion while which one can get acquainted with belarusian history and religious traditions, worship peculiarities, saints and holiness men of faith whose life and activity was connected with sanctities that have been included into a religious route.
Yearly thousands of dedicated people come to wonderworking icons and immortal hallows of belarusian saints: Evfrosinjya Polotskaya, godly princess of Slutsk Sofiya, saint righteous man Ioann Kormianskiy. Copies of Turinskaya winding-sheet (a burial cloth, in which the body of Christ was wrapped) are kept in the Church of St. Symon and Alena in Minsk and Cathedral church in Grodno.
Belarusian land is rich with marvelous visitations and bodings. Icons that pour myrrh, amazing figures of Christ and the mother of God that are showing through trees and stones, unique crosses-round stones which grow straight from underground as it was in the ancient Turov — all that attract people captivated with the unknown. Many people arrive to dive into saint belarusian springs, which health is proved by scientists as well as clergymen. Uspenskiy Holly Stavropegial Friary in Zhyrovichi gives all the afflicted a possibility to improve mentally and allows them to live in the friary for some time in order to find their way to God and carry away joy and pacification in their hearts. The faithful strive to Khmelevo village (Zhabinkovskiy district of Brest region) in order to touch the wonder-making icon of Częstochowa and talk to Father Seraphim who is being respected as a real miracle worker. Pilgrims are also hosted at the orthodox Holly Mother of God Christmas Nunnery that is located on the territory of the Brest Fortress. Here pilgrims can taste religious and material fare, stay in a temple for a night.
Pilgrim tours across Belarus are often associated with a certain date. Yearly on June, 5 people arrive to honor the saint hallows of a holy protectrix of Belaya Rus a reverend Euphrosyne of Polotsk. Pedestrian pilgrimage of Catholics to the Budslav icon of the Feast of St. Mary has been accomplished for centuries on July, 2. On August, 8 catholic pilgrims head for Dominican church Rakovskaya.
In order to visit sacred sites of Belarus, one can command services of a tour operator. Those who want to become a real pilgrim and to go on a sacred pilgrimage with prayers and fasting, taking part in services and talks with a spiritual director shall contact pilgrim divisions of belarusian orthodox and catholic eparchies, Judaic Collegia Pontificum of Belarus.
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