I was wondering why there seemed to be security guards, Outside TV broadcasting and long queues of people waiting to enter the forecourt of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Minsk.
In the queue people were carrying bags, many of them being traditional wicker baskets. Once inside the barriers and on the forecourt of the cathedral, the congregation unwrapped from their bags a large cake or bread into which they then put a lighted candle. Everyone would wait until the priest had circulated around them splashing people and presumably the cake with Holy water. The priest seemed to be smiling but everyone else seemed very serious. Once the priest had moved on people then hurriedly packed away their cake to make way for more people to take their place.
I've never seen anything like that and I'm sorry that I don't know the significance of this event. One thing that seemed noticeable was that this was very much a family event with young and old alike all taking their turns at the table to have Holy Water splashed on their cake. Some people went into the church after they had received this blessing whilst others turned around presumably to go home to eat their now blessed cake or bread.
With outside TV broadcasting I guess this event is a very significant one for Belarusians. I also saw dignitaries sweeping in from their limousines before greeting the priest and going inside the Cathedral. Surely this is an event of some significance. It took place on Saturday 3rd May and the following Sunday morning.
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is one of famous symbols of Minsk. It is a beautiful, big, long, two-towered Russian Orthodox cathedral in the very heart of the city.
Some interesting facts about this cathedral:
It was completed in 1642. At first it was a part of a larger ensemble and origin serve Bernadine nuns, consecration was delayed for 40 years because of the Muscovite invasions. In 1741 the original structure was damaged by fire but later reconstructed. The convent was closed in 1852 and the building given to the Russian Orthodox Church for use. Monastery being closed by the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution.
Today this cathedral is restored to its origin glory. On the top of cathedral is Minsk Icon of Holly Mother. From local stories it could be dating from around 1500.
The history of the two-towered Cathedral of the Holy Spirit dates back to the middle of the 17th century when it was built as a Roman Catholic Church for the Bernadine Order. In the middle of the 19th century the building was handed over to the Russian Orthodox church.
After the October Revolution it was used as a gymnasium and a prison. Just lately the church has been restored and it is nowadays seen as one of the last surving sights of Old Minsk.
The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit can be found just south of the old town district, which is known as Trinity Suburb (Traiyetskoye Predmestye).
Address: Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, ul. Kirillya i Mefodiya 3, Minsk
Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Ghost was built in 1642 - 1687 in the baroque style. Later it was renovated in the middle of 18th century and in the year of 1869. This Orthodox Cathedral in 17th century for some time was Bernardine Convent.
Cathedral has wonder-working icon of the mother of God. It was moved to Minsk in 1500. As legend tells, this icon was made by St. Luke the Evangelist. For some time it was kept in Byzantium.
Close to the Niamiha street and facing the Svislač river and the old district of Troïskoie Predmestie, there's the symbol of orthodox Minsk, the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. High on the upper town hill, you can see it from all around the lower part of the city along the river.
The church is really not big and perfectly restored with its ultra white walls and dark green roof. It's the heart of Minsk, nearby there's the city hall, the catholic cathedral and not far the Lenin street and October square. You'll always pass here around walking in the centre of Minsk, and it's probably one of the places which Minskian people like most.
There are still a lot of reconstruction works around the Cathedral, expecially on the lower banks of the river. It will be very interesting to see how it will look in the next years.