Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Piety, Psalms 34, Wisdom 2:23--3:9, Luke 17:7-10, Pope Francis Daily, Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, Polotsk Belarus, Catholic Catechism Part Three: Life In Christ - Chapter 3: Gods Salvation Law and Grace - Article 3:1 The Church, Mother and Teacher; Moral Life

Tuesday,  November 12, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Piety, Psalms 34, Wisdom 2:23--3:9, Luke 17:7-10, Pope Francis Daily, Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, Polotsk Belarus, Catholic Catechism Part Three: Life In Christ - Chapter 3: Gods Salvation Law and Grace - Article 3:1 The Church, Mother and Teacher; Moral Life

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge, reason and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our Soul...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Tuesday in Ordinary Time

Rosary - Sorrowful Mysteries


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis November 12 Daily:

  Reflection of Book of Wisdom

(2013-11-12 Vatican Radio)
Pope Francis reflects on the loving nature of God’s hands, saying even when scolding us, these hands never give a slap but instead a caress. This was the focus of his homily at the Tuesday morning mass at the Santa Marta Guest House.

In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the reading from the Book of Wisdom that recalls how we are created from the soil by God’s hands, “those hands which have never abandoned us.” “God created man to be incorruptible,” said the Pope but the devil entered the world and those who belong to him know all about it.

He went on: “We all have to undergo death but it’s one thing to undergo this experience when belonging to the devil and it’s another to undergo this experience when in the hands of God.” “Our God, like a Father with his child, teaches us to walk, teaches us to walk along the path of life and salvation. It’s God’s hands who caress us in our moments of pain and who comforts us.” God’s hands, the Pope continued, “are hands that are wounded from love” and who heal us. “I could never imagine those hands giving us a slap, Never. Never.” “Even when he scolds us, he does it with a caress.”

The Pope ended his homily by urging those present to reflect on “God’s hands who created us like a craftsman.” They are wounded hands and they accompany us throughout life. Let us, he said, “entrust ourselves into God’s hands like a child put its hand into the hand of its father. It’s a safe hand.”


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope:  Winter

Church must include sick, disabled


Vatican City, Winter 2013 (VIS)
Pope Francis has called for the “real inclusion” in the Christian community of people with sickness and disability through inclusive ministry in parish communities and Catholic associations.

“To favour the real inclusion of the sick in the Christian community and to arouse in them a strong sense of belonging, it is necessary to have inclusive ministry in parishes and in associations,” he said on Saturday. “It consists of truly valuing the presence and witness of fragile and suffering persons, not only as the recipients of evangelical work, but as active subjects of this same apostolic activity.”

The Pope made these comments in the Paul VI Hall during an audience attended by people with sickness or disability and some members of UNITALSI, an Italian association that travels with the sick and disabled on pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, and to other international Marian sanctuaries. The association is marking 110 years since its foundation.

“Dear sick brothers and sisters,” he said, “Do not simply consider yourselves to be objects of solidarity and charity but feel fully included in the life and the mission of the Church.

“You have your place, a specific role in the parish and in every ecclesial environment,” he continued.

“Your presence, silent but more eloquent than many words, your prayer, your daily offering of your suffering, in union with that of Jesus crucified for the salvation of the world, the patient and even joyful acceptance of your condition are a spiritual resource, assets for every Christian community. Do not be ashamed to be a precious treasure of the Church!” he said to applause.

“The poor, even the poor in health, are a richness for the Church,” he said. And the men and women who work or volunteer with them “have received the gift and the obligation to gather this richness, to help promote it, not only in the Church itself but in all of society.”

He commented on how the current “social and cultural context is more inclined to hide physical fragility, to consider it only as a problem that demands resignation and piety or sometimes the rejection of people,” he said.

But UNITALSI is called to be a prophetic sign and “to go counter to this worldly logic, helping the suffering to be protagonists in society, in the Church and in the association itself”.

The Pope underlined how UNITALSI’s 110-year commitment to the sick and to people with disabilities has been “typically evangelical”.

“In fact, your work is not welfarism or philanthropy, but the genuine proclamation of the Gospel of charity and a ministry of consolation… moved by love for Christ and by the example of the good Samaritan, you do not turn away in the face of suffering,” he told the members present. “On the contrary, you seek to be a welcoming glance, a hand that uplifts and accompanies, a word of comfort and a tender embrace.”

He urged them to continue despite difficulties and fatigue, and to imitate Mary’s maternal care. In following Mary, she will help each person to be a reflection of the merciful God, he said.

“Every sick and fragile person can see in your face the face of Jesus; and you, too, can recognize Christ in the person who suffers,” he said.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 11/12/2013.


November 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children; Anew, in a motherly way, I am calling you to love; to continually pray for the gift of love; to love the Heavenly Father above everything. When you love Him you will love yourself and your neighbor. This cannot be separated. The Heavenly Father is in each person. He loves each person and calls each person by his name. Therefore, my children, through prayer hearken to the will of the Heavenly Father. Converse with Him. Have a personal relationship with the Father which will deepen even more your relationship as a community of my children – of my apostles. As a mother I desire that, through the love for the Heavenly Father, you may be raised above earthly vanities and may help others to gradually come to know and come closer to the Heavenly Father. My children, pray, pray, pray for the gift of love because 'love' is my Son. Pray for your shepherds that they may always have love for you as my Son had and showed by giving His life for your salvation. Thank you."

October 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:  “Dear children! Today I call you to open yourselves to prayer. Prayer works miracles in you and through you. Therefore, little children, in the simplicity of heart seek of the Most High to give you the strength to be God’s children and for Satan not to shake you like the wind shakes the branches. Little children, decide for God anew and seek only His will – and then you will find joy and peace in Him. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

October 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children, I love you with a motherly love and with a motherly patience I wait for your love and unity. I pray that you may be a community of God’s children, of my children. I pray that as a community you may joyfully come back to life in the faith and in the love of my Son. My children, I am gathering you as my apostles and am teaching you how to bring others to come to know the love of my Son; how to bring to them the Good News, which is my Son. Give me your open, purified hearts and I will fill them with the love for my Son. His love will give meaning to your life and I will walk with you. I will be with you until the meeting with the Heavenly Father. My children, it is those who walk towards the Heavenly Father with love and faith who will be saved. Do not be afraid, I am with you. Put your trust in your shepherds as my Son trusted when he chose them, and pray that they may have the strength and the love to lead you. Thank you." 


Today's Word:  piety  pi·e·ty  [pahy-i-tee]  

Origin:  1275–1325; Middle English piete  < Middle French  < Latin pietās,  equivalent to pi ( us ) + -etās,  variant (after i ) of -itās;  see pious, -ity

1.  reverence for God or devout fulfillment of religious obligations: a prayer full of piety.
2.  the quality or state of being pious: saintly piety.
3. dutiful respect or regard for parents, homeland, etc.: filial piety.
4. a pious act, remark, belief, or the like: the pieties and sacrifices of an austere life. 


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 34:2-3, 16-19

2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and rejoice.
3 Proclaim with me the greatness of Yahweh, let us acclaim his name together.
16 But Yahweh's face is set against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 They cry in anguish and Yahweh hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.
18 Yahweh is near to the broken-hearted, he helps those whose spirit is crushed.
19 Though hardships without number beset the upright, Yahweh brings rescue from them all.


Today's Epistle -  Wisdom 2:23--3:9

23 For God created human beings to be immortal, he made them as an image of his own nature;
24 Death came into the world only through the Devil's envy, as those who belong to him find to their cost.
1 But the souls of the upright are in the hands of God, and no torment can touch them.
2 To the unenlightened, they appeared to die, their departure was regarded as disaster,
3 their leaving us like annihilation; but they are at peace.
4 If, as it seemed to us, they suffered punishment, their hope was rich with immortality;
5 slight was their correction, great will their blessings be. God was putting them to the test and has proved them worthy to be with him;
6 he has tested them like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a perfect burnt offering.
7 At their time of visitation, they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.
8 They will judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king for ever.
9 Those who trust in him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await his holy ones, and he intervenes on behalf of his chosen.


Today's Gospel Reading -  Luke 17:7-10

Jesus said: 'Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, "Come and have your meal at once"? Would he not be more likely to say, "Get my supper ready; fasten your belt and wait on me while I eat and drink. You yourself can eat and drink afterwards"? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, "We are useless servants: we have done no more than our duty."

• The Gospel today narrates the parable which is found only in Luke’s Gospel, and has no parallel in the other Gospels. The parable wants to teach that our life has to be characterized by an attitude of service. It begins with three questions and at the end Jesus himself gives the answer.

• Luke 17, 7-9: The three questions of Jesus. It treats of three questions taken from daily life, and therefore, the auditors have to think each one on his own experience to give a response according to that experience. The first question: “Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep would say to him when he returned from the fields, ’Come and have your meal at once?” All will answer: “No!” Second question: “Would he not be more likely to say, ‘Get my supper ready; fasten your belt and wait on me while I eat and drink. You yourself can eat and drink afterwards?” All will answer: “Yes! Certainly!” Third question: “Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told?” All will answer “No!” The way in which Jesus asks the questions, people become aware in which way he wants to orientate our thought. He wants us to be servants to one another.

• Luke 17, 10: The response of Jesus. At the end Jesus himself draws a conclusion which was already implicit in the questions: “So with you, when you have done all you have been told to do, say ‘We are useless servants, we have done no more than our duty”. Jesus himself has given us example when he said: “The Son of Man has not come to be served, but to serve” (Mk 10, 45). Service is a theme which Luke likes. Service represents the form in which the poor in the time of Jesus, the anawim, were waiting for the Messiah: not like a king and glorious Messiah, high priest or judge, but rather as the Servant of Yahweh, announced by Isaiah (Is 42, 1-9). Mary, the Mother of Jesus, says to the Angel: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word!” (Lk 1, 38). In Nazareth, Jesus presents himself as the Servant described by Isaiah (Lk 4, 18-19 and Is 61, 1-2). In Baptism and in the Transfiguration, he was confirmed by the Father who quotes the words addressed by God to the Servant (Lk 3, 22; 9, 35 e Is 42, 1). Jesus asks his followers: “Anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave” (Mt 20, 27). Useless servants! This is the definition of the Christian. Paul speaks about this to the members of the community of Corinth when he writes: “I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God gave growth. In this neither the planter nor the waterer counts for anything, only God who gave growth” (1Co 3, 6-7). Paul and Apollos are nothing; only simple instruments, “Servants”. The only one who counts is God, He alone! (1Co 3, 7).

• To serve and to be served. Here in this text, the servant serves the master and not the master the servant. But in the other text of Jesus the contrary is said: “Blessed those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. In truth, I tell you, he will do up his belt, sit them down at table and wait on them” (Lk 12, 37). In this text, the master serves the servant and not the servant the master. In the first text, Jesus spoke in the present. In the second text, Jesus is speaking in the future. This contrast is another way of saying: the one who is ready to lose his life out of love for Jesus and the Gospel will find it (Mt 10, 39; 16, 25). Anyone who serves God in this present life will be served by God in the future life!

Personal questions
• How do I define my life?
• Do I ask myself the three questions of Jesus? Do I live, perhaps, like a useless servant?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Josaphat Kuntsevych

Feast Day: November 12

Josaphat Kuntsevych, O.S.B.M.
Josaphat Kuntsevych, O.S.B.M., (c. 1580 – 12 November 1623) (Belarusian: Язафат Кунцэвіч, Jazafat Kuncevič, Polish: Jozafat Kuncewicz, Ukrainian: Йосафат Кунцевич, Josafat Kuntsevych) was a monk and archeparch (archbishop) of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who died at Vitebsk in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (now in Belarus), on 12 November 1623, killed by a mob of Orthodox Christians. He has been declared a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.

He was born Ioann (John) Kuntsevych in 1580 or 1584 in the city of Volodymyr in the province of Volhynia, then part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, now in Ukraine. His birth occurred while the Ruthenian Church was nominally unified. It had belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church, but in 1596 come under the authority of the pope through the Union of Brest.

Although of noble Belarusian descent (szlachta, Kuncewicz familly), his father had embarked in business, and held the office of town-councilor. Both of Kuntsevych's parents encouraged religious participation and Christian piety in the young John. In the school at Volodymyr he gave evidence of unusual talent; he applied himself to the study of the Church Slavonic language, and learned almost the entire horologion by heart, which from this period he began to read daily. From this source he drew his early religious education, because the clergy seldom preached or gave catechetical instruction in that period.

Owing to the straitened financial circumstances of his parents, Kuntsevych was apprenticed to a merchant named Papovič in Vilnius. In this Polish-Lithuanian city, divided through the contentions of the various religious sects, he became acquainted with men, such as Josyf Veliamyn Rutsky, who supported the recent union with Rome, and under whose direction he furthered his interest in the Catholic Church.

Monk and archbishop

In 1604, in his early 20s, Kuntsevych entered the Monastery of the Trinity of the Basilian monks in Vilnius, at which time he was given the religious name of Josaphat. Stories of his sanctity rapidly spread and distinguished people began to visit the young monk. After a notable life as a layman, Rutsky also joined the Order. When Josaphat was ordained to the diaconate, his regular services and labor for the Church had already begun. As a result of his efforts, the number of novices to the Order steadily increased, and under Rutsky—who had meanwhile been ordained a priest—there began the revival of Eastern Catholic monastic life among the Ruthenians (Belarusians and Ukrainians). In 1609, after private study under the Jesuit priest, the Blessed Peter Faber, Josaphat was ordained a priest by a Catholic bishop. He subsequently became the hegumen (prior) of several monasteries. On November 12, 1617, he was consecrated as the bishop of the Eparchy of Vitebsk (possibly a titular see created for him), and coadjutor for the Archeparchy of Polotsk. He succeeded as archeparch in March 1618.[1]

Kuntsevych faced a daunting task of bringing the local populace to accept union with Rome. He faced stiff opposition from the monks, who feared the Latinization of the liturgy of the Church. As archeparch, he restored the churches: he issued a catechism to the clergy, with instructions that it should be learned by heart; composed rules for the priestly life, entrusting to the deacons the task of superintending their observance; assembled synods in various towns in the dioceses, and firmly opposed the Polish Imperial Chancellor Sapieha who wished to make too many concessions to the Eastern Orthodox. Throughout all his strivings and all his occupations, he continued his religious devotion as a monk, and never abated his desire for self-mortification. Through all this he was successful in winning over a large portion of the people.[2]

Kuntsevych's activity provoked a strong reaction. A rival hierarchy was set up by the Orthodox Church, with the monk Meletius Smotrytsky being appointed the Orthodox Archeparch of Polotsk. Smotrytsky publicly claimed that Josaphat was preparing a total Latinization of the Church and its rituals.[2] The inhabitants of Mogilev revolted against Kuntsevych in October 1618 and chased him out of the city. Kuntsevych then complained to King Sigismund who brutally suppressed the Orthodox revolt—all leaders of the revolt were executed, including Bohdan Sobol, the father of Spiridon Sobol, while all Orthodox churches were taken away and given to the Greek-Catholics.[3][4]


The suppression caused Kuntsevych to be even more fiercely resisted by the Orthodox. During November 1623, despite warnings, he went to Vitebsk. There, on November 12th, the Orthodox sent to his residence a priest who stood in the courtyard of his house shouting insults at him. Archbishop Josaphat had the priest taken away and confined to his house. In response, the town bell was rung, which summoned a mob.[2] The mob attacked the archbishop's residence, and in the course of the attack an axe-stroke and a bullet ended his life. His body was tossed into the river. It was recovered and honored—eventually transported to Rome and given the honor of burial within St. Peter's Basilica.[2]



As a boy Kuntsevych was said to have shunned the usual games of childhood, prayed much, and lost no opportunity to assist at the Church services. Children especially regarded him with affection. As an apprentice, he devoted every leisure hour to prayer and study. At first Papovič viewed this behavior with displeasure, but Josaphat gradually won such a position in his esteem, that Papovič offered him his entire fortune and his daughter's hand. But Josaphat's love for the religious life never wavered.

Kuntsevych's favourite devotional exercise was the traditional Eastern monastic practice of making prostrations, in which the head touches the ground, while saying the Jesus Prayer: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' Never eating meat, he fasted much, wore a hair shirt and a chain around his waist. He slept on the bare floor, and chastised his body until the blood flowed. The Jesuits frequently urged him to set some bounds to his austerities.

From Kuntsevych's zealous study of the Slavonic-Byzantine liturgical books he drew many proofs of Catholic doctrine, using his knowledge in the composition of several original works — On the Baptism of St. Volodymyr; On the Falsification of the Slavic Books by the Enemies of the Metropolitan; On Monks and their Vows. Throughout his adult life, he was distinguished by his extraordinary zeal in performing the Church services and by extraordinary devotion during the Divine Liturgy. Not only in the church did he preach and hear confessions, but likewise in the fields, hospitals, prisons, and even on his personal journeys. This zeal, united with his kindness for the poor, won great numbers of Orthodox Ruthenians for the Catholic faith and Catholic unity. Among his converts were included many important personages such as Patriarch Ignatius, former Patriarch of Moscow, and Manuel Kantakouzenos, who belonged to the imperial family of the Byzantine Emperor Palaeologus.


The Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee
After numerous miracles attributed to Kuntsevych were claimed and reported to Church officials, a commission was appointed by Pope Urban VIII in 1628 to start inquire for his possible canonization, for which they examined under oath 116 witnesses. Although five years had elapsed since Josaphat's death, his body was claimed to still be incorrupt. In 1637, a second commission investigated his life and, in 1643, twenty years after his death, Josaphat was beatified. He was canonized on June 29, 1867 by Pope Pius IX.[5]

 The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church keeps his feast day on the first Sunday after November 12. (This Church uses the Julian Calendar, whose November 12 now corresponds to the Gregorian Calendar November 25.) When, in 1867, Pope Pius IX inserted his feast into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, it was assigned to November 14, which was the first free day after November 12, which was then occupied by the feast of "Saint Martin I, Pope and Martyr." In Pope Paul VI's 1969 revision of the calendar, this latter feast was moved to Pope Saint Martin's dies natalis (birthday to heaven), and Saint Josaphat's feast was moved to that date, his own dies natalis.[6] Traditional Roman Catholics continue to celebrate the feast day of "St Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr" on November 14.[7]


St Josaphat Kuntsevich is the patron saint of a number of Polish and Ukrainian churches and parishes in the United States and Canada including:
  • the Basilica of St. Josaphat, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • St Josaphat's Parish in Chicago, Illinois
  • St. Josaphat's Parish of Bayside, Queens, New York
  • St. Josaphat's Roman Catholic Church in Detroit
  • St. Josaphat Parish in Cheektowaga, NY, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo
  • St. Josaphat's Cathedral and Ukrainian elementary school in Toronto, Ontario
  • St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in the Edmonton Eparchy, Edmonton, Alberta
There is a relic of the saint in the "catacombs" of Holy Trinity Polish Mission in Chicago.

Priestly Society of St. Josaphat

Recently, a dissident group of Ukrainian Catholics, who oppose the changes made in the Ruthenian Rite to reduce Roman influence, have formed the Priestly Society of Saint Josaphat. They are linked to the Society of St. Pius X which has not recognized the authority of the Second Vatican Council.


    1. ^ "Archbishop St. Jozafat Kuncewicz, O.S.B.M.". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
    2. ^ a b c d "St. Josaphat". AmericanCatholic.org. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
    3. ^ http://www.odinblago.ru/istoriya_rpc/istoryaRC_mitr_makariy/5/2.3_2/ (in Russian)
    4. ^ http://www.mogilev.biz/spravka/history/unia/ (in Russian)
    5. ^ Blazejowsky, Dmytro (1990). Hierarchy of the Kyivan Church (861-1990). Rome. p. 281.
    6. ^ "Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 149
    7. ^ See the General Roman Calendar as in 1954, the General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII, and the General Roman Calendar of 1962.
     This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Markevyc, Josaphat (1910). "St. Josaphat Kuncevyc". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia 8. Robert Appleton Company. pp. 503–504.

    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


    Today's Snippet I:   Polotsk, Belarus

    Polotsk is a historical city in Belarus, situated on the Dvina River. It is the center of the Polatsk Raion in Vitsebsk Voblast. Its population is more than 80,000 people.[6] It is served by Polotsk Airport and during the Cold War was home to Borovitsy air base.


    Polotsk in XVI
    The Old East Slavic name, Polotesk, is derived from the Polota River (the real meaning of the name is Puolauta and this in the Lithuanian language means 'falling into', i.e., the river which flows into a bigger river), that flows into the Western Dvina nearby. The Vikings rendered that name as Palteskja.

    Polotsk is one of the most ancient cities of the Eastern Slavs. The Primary Chronicle listed Polotsk in 862 (as Полотескъ, /poloteskŭ/), together with Murom and Beloozero. However there is debate about this, as some historians believe Polotsk was not yet in existence in the 9th century, and this record was an invention of the compiler.[7] However, an archaeological expedition from the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus suggests that Polotsk did exist in the first half of the 9th century.[8] The Norse sagas describe the city as the most heavily fortified in all of Rus.

    Between the 10th and 12th centuries, the Principality of Polotsk emerged as the dominant center of power in what is now Belarusian territory, with a lesser role played by the Principality of Turov to the south. It repeatedly asserted its sovereignty in relation to other centers of Kievan Rus, becoming a political capital, the episcopal see and the controller of vassal territories among Balts in the west. Its most powerful ruler was Prince Vseslav Bryachislavich, who reigned from 1044 to 1101. A 12th-century inscription commissioned by Vseslav's son Boris may still be seen on a huge boulder installed near the St. Sophia Cathedral. For a full list of the Polotsk rulers, please see the list of Belarusian rulers.

    Siege of Polotsk in 1579
    In 1240, Polotsk became a vassal of Lithuanian princes. Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytenis annexed the city by military force in 1307, completing the process which Lithuanian princes had begun in the 1250s.[9] Polotsk received a charter of autonomy guaranteeing that the grand dukes ′will not introduce new, nor destroy the old′.[10] It was the earliest to be so incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.[10] By doing so, the Lithuanians manage to firmly grasp the Dvina trade route into their hands, securing an important element for the surrounding economies.[9] The Magdeburg law was adopted in 1498. Polotsk was a capital of the Połock Voivodship of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1772. Captured by the Russian army of Ivan the Terrible in 1563, it was returned to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania just 15 years later.

    That period of warfare started the gradual decline of the city. After the first partition of Poland, Polotsk was reduced to the status of a small provincial town of the Russian Empire. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, it was the site of two battles, the First Battle of Polotsk and the Second Battle of Polotsk.

    Cultural heritage

    View of Polotsk in 1912
    The city's Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Polotsk (1044–1066) was a symbol of the independent-mindedness of Polotsk, rivaling churches of the same name in Novgorod and Kiev. The name referred to the original Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and thus to claims of imperial prestige, authority and sovereignty. The cathedral had been ruined by the troops of Peter I of Russia. Hence the present baroque building by Johann Christoph Glaubitz dates from the mid-18th century. Some genuine 12th-century architecture (notably Transfiguration Church) survives in the Convent of Saint Euphrosyne, which also features a neo-Byzantine cathedral, designed and built in 1893—1899 by Vladimir Korshikov.[11]

    Cultural achievements of the medieval period include the work of the nun Euphrosyne of Polotsk (1120–1173), who built monasteries, transcribed books, promoted literacy and sponsored art (including local artisan Lazarus Bohsha's famous "Cross of Saint Euphrosyne," a national symbol and treasure lost during World War II), and the prolific, original Church Slavonic sermons and writings of Bishop Cyril of Turaw (1130–1182).

    The first Belarusian printer, Francysk Skaryna, was born in Polotsk around 1490. He is famous for the first printing of the Bible in an East Slavic language (in Old Belarusian) in 1517, several decades after the first-ever printed book by Johann Gutenberg and just several years after the first Czech Bible (1506).

    In September 2003, as "Days of Belarusian Literacy" were celebrated for the 10th time in Polotsk, city authorities dedicated a monument to honor the unique Cyrillic Belarusian letter Ў, which is not used in any other Slavic language. The original idea for the monument came from the Belarusian calligraphy professor Paval Siemchanka, who has been studying Cyrillic scripts for many years.

    Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk

    Another view of the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Polotsk
    The Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Polotsk was built by Prince Vseslav Briacheslavich (rr.1044–1101) between 1044 (it is first mentioned in the Voskresenskaia Chronicle under the year 1056) and 1066. It stands at the confluence of the Polota and Western Dvina Rivers on the eastern side of the city and is probably the oldest church in Belarus.

    The cathedral is, like the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev and Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod, named after the Holy Wisdom of God. After building his own cathedral, Vseslav, who was an izgoi prince, tried to seize the Kievan throne. Failing in that attempt, he raided the surrounding principalities; in 1067, he raided Novgorod the Great and looted the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom there, bringing a bell and other loot back to decorate his own Cathedral of Holy Wisdom.[1] The cathedral is mentioned in The Tale of Igor's Campaign, where it says that Vseslav would make nocturnal trips to Kiev as a werewolf and would hear the bells of Holy Wisdom at Polotsk as they rang for matins.[2]

    The cathedral has been significantly rebuilt and heavily modified between the eleventh and eighteenth centuries. Indeed, only parts of the church date back to the time of Vseslav, although the names of the builders are inscribed in a stone at the base of the cathedral: David, Toma, Mikula, Kopes, Petr, and Vorish. The burial vaults of 16 Polotsk princes dating back to the eleventh century have been uncovered (indeed, Vseslav himself, said to have been a sorcerer as well as a werewolf, was buried in the cathedral he built). According to the Voskresenskaia Letopis (s.a. 1156), the cathedral originally had seven domes,[3] later reduced to five after it was rebuilt following the fire of 1447. During 1596–1654 and 1668–1839 church was a Greek-Catholic (Uniate) cathedral. It was rebuilt again in 1618–1620 by Greek-Catholic Archbishop St. Josaphat Kuntsevych (rr. 1618–1623) following a fire in 1607, and again after a fire destroyed the cathedral and the city in 1643. In 1705–1710, Peter the Great and Aleksandr Menshikov used the church as a powder magazine; the magazine exploded. Over the next almost three decades (1738–1765), the Uniat archbishop, Florian Hrebnicki, rebuilt the cathedral. The Vilnius' architect Johann Christoph Glaubitz was responsible for the current appearance, which is an example of the "Vilnius Baroque" style. Currently it is a baroque structure with towers and the domes have been removed (or at least not rebuilt). The cathedral housed a library and other important cultural artifacts, but the library was destroyed when King Stephen Báthory of Poland took the city during the Livonian War in the late 16th century. The town was also occupied by the French during the Napoleonic Invasion in 1812 (indeed, two battles were fought at Polotsk in August and October, the second seeing house-to-house fighting) and also during the Nazi Invasion in the 1940s during which a large number of inhabitants were slaughtered.[4]

    The cathedral has also changed functions several times over the centuries. With the Union of Brest, the cathedral became a uniate or Eastern Rite Catholic Church and remained as such until 1839 where Bishop Joseph Siemaszko terminated the union and restored the Belarusian Greek Catholic Church with the Russian Orthodox Church. During the Soviet period, the cathedral housed the Polotsk Regional State Archive (from 1949 to 1954.) In 1967, restoration work took place as the cathedral was to be turned into a museum of atheism, but the museum was moved to Vitebsk in 1969. The cathedral is now part of the State Museum-Preserve of Polotsk and used as a concert hall with an organ. There is talk of returning the building to the Russian Orthodox Church


    1. "World Gazetteer". Archived from the original on 2013-01-11.
    2. Occidental spelling according to the Belarus Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
    3. Occidental spelling according to the official Belarus website.
    4. Occidental spelling according to "Nations Online" website.
    5. Spelling according to Google Maps.
    6. polotskgik.by - City
    7. Wladyslaw Duczko.Viking Rus: Studies on the Presence of Scandinavians in Eastern Europe. 2004, p.126
    8.  Archaeologists have won the dispute in the ancient chronicles of the earlier date base of Polotsk
    9. The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1300-c. 1415. p.706
    10. The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1300-c. 1415. pp.769-770
    11. Savelyev, Yu. R. Vizantiysky stil v architecture Rossii (Савельев, Ю. Р. Византийский стиль в архитектуре России. - СПБ., 2005) Saint Petersburg, 2005. ISBN 5-87417-207-6, p.260
    12. Bandy at Bandy2008


    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part Three: Life in Christ 

    SECTION ONE: Man's Vocation Life in the Spirit


    Article 3:1 The Church, Mother and Teacher; Moral Life

    1699 Life in the Holy Spirit fulfills the vocation of man (chapter one). This life is made up of divine charity and human solidarity (chapter two). It is graciously offered as salvation (chapter three).

    1949 Called to beatitude but wounded by sin, man stands in need of salvation from God. Divine help comes to him in Christ through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him:
    Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.Phil 2:12-13

    Article 3
    2030 It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of "the law of Christ." From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the "way." From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints who have gone before him and whom the liturgy celebrates in the rhythms of the sanctoral cycle.

    2031 The moral life is spiritual worship. We "present (our) bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,"Rom 12:1 within the Body of Christ that we form and in communion with the offering of his Eucharist. In the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments, prayer and teaching are conjoined with the grace of Christ to enlighten and nourish Christian activity. As does the whole of the Christian life, the moral life finds its source and summit in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

    I. Moral Life and the Magisterium of the Church
    2032 The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth."1 Tim 3:15; LG 17 "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls."CIC, can. 747 # 2

    2033 The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, with the help of the works of theologians and spiritual authors. Thus from generation to generation, under the aegis and vigilance of the pastors, the "deposit" of Christian moral teaching has been handed on, a deposit composed of a characteristic body of rules, commandments, and virtues proceeding from faith in Christ and animated by charity. Alongside the Creed and the Our Father, the basis for this catechesis has traditionally been the Decalogue which sets out the principles of moral life valid for all men.
    2034 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are "authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice."LG 25 The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.

    2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.Cf. LG 25; CDF, declaration, Mysterium Ecclesiae 3

    2036 The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.Cf. DH 14

    2037 The law of God entrusted to the Church is taught to the faithful as the way of life and truth. the faithful therefore have the right to be instructed in the divine saving precepts that purify judgment and, with grace, heal wounded human reason.Cf. CIC, can. 213 They have the duty of observing the constitutions and decrees conveyed by the legitimate authority of the Church. Even if they concern disciplinary matters, these determinations call for docility in charity.

    2038 In the work of teaching and applying Christian morality, the Church needs the dedication of pastors, the knowledge of theologians, and the contribution of all Christians and men of good will. Faith and the practice of the Gospel provide each person with an experience of life "in Christ," who enlightens him and makes him able to evaluate the divine and human realities according to the Spirit of God.Cf. 1 Cor 2:10-15 Thus the Holy Spirit can use the humblest to enlighten the learned and those in the highest positions.

    2039 Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal service and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord.Cf. Rom 12:8, 11 At the same time the conscience of each person should avoid confining itself to individualistic considerations in its moral judgments of the person's own acts. As far as possible conscience should take account of the good of all, as expressed in the moral law, natural and revealed, and consequently in the law of the Church and in the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium on moral questions. Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church.

    2040 Thus a true filial spirit toward the Church can develop among Christians. It is the normal flowering of the baptismal grace which has begotten us in the womb of the Church and made us members of the Body of Christ. In her motherly care, the Church grants us the mercy of God which prevails over all our sins and is especially at work in the sacrament of reconciliation. With a mother's foresight, she also lavishes on us day after day in her liturgy the nourishment of the Word and Eucharist of the Lord.