Great number of pilgrims coming to visit the ancient Polotsk and The Savior and St Evfrosinya Convent in Polotsk annualy ,it has become a recognized center of the Belarusian Orthodox Church and spirituality. These people want to venerate the relics of Evfrosinya Polocka and bow to the cross - the symbol of rebirth Belarusian spirituality of this sacred shrine.
The Savior and St Evfrosinya Convent - one of the first female Orthodox monasteries at the Rus' territory, founded in the XII century.
Evfrosinya was born in the family of Prince Svyatoslav-George and the Princess Sophia, and gave her the name of an ancient Predslava. When she was 12 years old, parents had prepared and planned to give a dowry her marriage. But the prince”s daughter chose a different path - to dedicate his life to serving to God. ”Zhitie" tells us that Evfrosinya had a dream where an angel took her to the village Selco near Polotsk, where the river Polota a wooden Church of the Savior and the stone temple-tomb of the bishops of Polotsk. The angel said: ”You should be there.”
In Seltso Evfrosinya founded two monasteries - male and female. Almost nothing is known about the male monastery. The Savior and St Evfrosinya Convent stands still on the ancient land of Polotsk. When the monasteries were opened, children there where taught to read, write and receive knowledge of natural history, medicine, rhetoric, it worked scriptorium - workshops to rewrite the books, created by icon-painting workshops.
Pearl of the monastery - Savior Church with unique frescoes of the XII century. One of the most precious relics of the monastery is the famous Cross of Evfrosinya of Polotsk, created in 1161 a master jeweler Lazar Bogsha (cross disappeared during the war, now in the monastery a copy is kept). This cross, and relics of the saint patron have been the subject of worship to thousands of pilgrims who arrive annually in Polotsk. Curiously, on the walls of the church graffiti of the XVII century are preserved - such as ”Bob was here” (only in Latin) - and the year: 1617, 1632 ...
On the Evfrosinya's request architect Ioan built church of St. Saviour at the monastery. A talented architect built a temple for 30 weeks.The church of St. Saviour is the brightest representative of Polotks's architectural and spiritual heritage.
In the XII century church of St. Saviour was painted with frescoes. Ancient frescoes were covered by strata of plaster and beautiful paintings in tempera and oil in the XIX.
Holy Cross Cathedral was erected in the 1893 - 1897. The project was made by the church architect B. Korshikova. Cross proclaims the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. Unique work of ornamental art of this time is Cross of Evfrosinya. The cross is an important symbol of Christianity, which is the highest sacred values. By order of Evfrosinya in 1161 Lazar Bogscha has created Cross-Ark storage sent from Constantinople and Jerusalem Christian relics. In the middle of the Cross there were Christian relics: the pieces of the Cross of the Lord with drops of blood of Jesus, a piece of stone from the Holy Virgin, the particles of the relics of St. Stephen and St. Panteliymon and blood Dimitriy.
This miracle of skill and beauty was a sign of divine protection over the Belarus, a symbol of spiritualit Polotsk. History of the Cross in the XX century remind a detective story. In 1921 Cross was requisitioned by Soviet government for a time he was in Minsk museum, but in 1929 it was moved to Mogilev. In Mogilev shrine was placed in a museum collectiont, but visitors were praying near the Cross. For this reason, it was referred to the former land bank. Officially, he was kidnapped by the Nazis exactly from there in 1941,but there are other versions. As if the cross got to the east and that was sold at an auction after the war overseas.The looked for this Cross in Europe, America, in the collections of Morgan and Rockefeller, the search was done by well-known Belarusian scientists, Interpol. But the Cross was not found.
But these days, a miracle happened. August 8, 1997 artist of the Brest Nikolai Kuzmich has completed five years work - re-created in the image of the Cross of St. Evfrosinya. He revived the lost technique of cloisonne enamel.In August 24th, 1997 at a ceremony at St. Simeon Cathedral of Brest master gave a sacred shrine to the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
Monastery, which was founded in the XII century of Evfrosinya, experienced many troubles and hard times. In 1960 the monastery was closed. It took more than thirty years, and only in 1992, he took the nuns, who have returned, again, mostly from Zhirovichi Grodno region. Today the monastery has about 70 nuns, including novices who have not yet adopted vows, but are willing to devote their lives to serving God.