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Liozno District Executive Committee
Main / News / Region


1 September 2011

Rarest image of Saint Wenceslas of Chechia discovered in Polotsk

VITEBSK, 1 September (BelTA) - Sensational discoveries were made by Belarusian and Russian experts in the course of the works in the Holy Transfiguration Church of the Saviour and St. Euphrosyne Monastery in Polotsk, BelTA learnt from chief art expert of the interregional directorate for scientific and artistic restoration of the Culture Ministry of Russia Vladimir Sarabyanov. Restorers uncovered the images of the first Russian saints-martyrs Boris and Gleb. This would not be unusual if not the time of these images – the 12th century, which is about a century later after they were canonized. Until now, the earliest images of the holy brothers were dated back to the 13th century. According to Vladimir Sarabyanov, the image of the brothers in the temple in Polotsk bore close resemblance to what the brothers looked like in life. Boris and Gleb were considered local saints so the Byzantine artists who painted the temple probably used the actual portraits that were in possession of Euphrosyne of Polotsk, who was related to them. The tradition of icon-painting developed much later on. Opposite the wall where the portraits of Boris and Gleb were uncovered there is one of the rarest images of martyr Prince Wenceslas of Czechia, deeply respected in the Czech Republic. There are not many portraits of him in the Orthodox churches. He is a local saint. According to Vladimir Sarabyanov, this is the only image of the Czech Saint found on the territory of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. There is nothing unusual about his portrait being placed opposite the martyrs Boris and Gleb. The Czech Prince was killed by his brother like the Russian saint princes. Yet, it is a mystery why Saint Wenceslas was pictured in the Polotsk Church. He was allegedly related to the Polotsk princedom. One thing I am sure about, if the Czechs learn about the image of their patron in Polotsk, the flow of Czech pilgrims here will be endless, Vladimir Sarabyanov believes.