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Monument to Patriarch Alexy II in Minsk: history of its creation

The bronze monument to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II was installed at the Cathedral of All Saints in Minsk in 2012 in acknowledgement of his deeds from all the Belarusians. He became Patriarch when the Soviet Union collapsed, but he managed to save the unity of these nations. He did much for the rehabilitation of the Orthodox Church and building of temples and church schools.

The Patriarch visited Belarus many times and always spoke warmly of it. He visited a lot of eparchies and called at every Belarusian’s house spiritually. He blessed the laying of the foundation of the Cathedral of All Saints on Kalinovskogo Street in 1991. In 2008, Alexy II confirmed the full title of the church “The Memorial Church of All Saints built in memory of victims fallen for their homeland”. That visit was the last one for him.

Fyodor Povnyi, archpriest, senior priest of All Saints parish in Minsk:
He visited Minsk twice between the consecration of the church and his last visit. These three steps are like the ascension to the temple. He is reflected in that manner and form which I saw him last time, when he came to that image of the temple, which construction was in progress, and his eyes expressed admiration and some inner joy.

Fyodor Povnyi had a desire to reflect the image of this outstanding person in the history of Belarus. Thus, the archpriest inspired the sculptor Vladimir Slobodchikov and the architect Igor Morozov who were not acquainted with Alexy II. The masters examined a lot of information about the Patriarch. The head of state approved the idea, the exarch Metropolitan Philaret gave his blessing, and Patriarch Kirill supported the idea as well.

Fyodor Povnyi, archpriest, senior priest of All Saints parish in Minsk:
The Patriarch was very humane, very straightforward, and easy to talk. And we wanted to reflect it in the image, mood, appearance, and character of what we can see here today. We worked in the workshop, and the work itself was very difficult, but interesting, and we’ve made it.

Igor Morozov, architect, double laureate of State Prize of the Republic of Belarus:
I came across some material about the Patriarch when he was in Kyiv celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the christianization of Kievan Rus'. He spoke of the unity of Slavic nations, Orthodox nations, he said that we have a long road to the temple and we have to pass through it. After that I had idea of making him a traveler who goes to the temple and who shows you the way. He stops for a moment and admires this beauty. Father Fyodor’s insistence helped us finalize the image. Squinty eyes, asymmetric beard, unchanging smile. We gathered together to discuss all these details.

Monuments to the Patriarch were erected in Yoshkar-Ola, Moscow, and Tallinn. Belarus is not the exception. There are two monuments – in Minsk and in Vitebsk. In the latter case, the figure is more classic and static, but the monument in Minsk is the image with spiritual power; the portrait proved to be alive.

The height of the bronze figure is about three meters. The pedestal is made of three monolithic slabs and base green granite stone. The sculptor Vladimir Slobodchikov admits that he examined 3,000 pictures to portray the Patriarch.

Vladimir Slobodchikov, sculptor, Honored Artist of the Republic of Belarus, member of The Belarusian Union of Artists:
I was astonished by the simplicity in his eyes, which is why we decided not to make the monument look pompous. The Patriarch’s image is simple; he is dressed in simple clothes.

Igor Morozov, architect, double laureate of State Prize of the Republic of Belarus:
You can notice that the pedestal is very low. In fact, it is an ascending road. This was done intentionally to show the unity of the patriarch with people, that he had connection both with the faithful and with the faithless.

Patriarch Kirill arrived at the opening of the monument in Minsk for a day. The authors of the monument deservedly received the award of the Belarus-Russia Union State. This award is given every two years for strengthening the relations between Russia and Belarus. The city needs historical and spiritual memory. The creative team is sure that the more you invest in development, the more you get.

Fyodor Povnyi, archpriest, senior priest of All Saints parish in Minsk:
When we hold public events, children love to climb these stairs near the monument, and to sit next to it. The last Khorovoye Veche (Choir Meeting) gave an interesting composition: the Patriarch is together with children; he is always with us. I have a habit: when I leave the temple, drive or walk by the Patriarch I take a blessing from him.

Monument to Patriarch Alexy II in Minsk: history of its creation