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Monument to Sophia Slutskaya in Slutsk

The monument to Sophia Slutskaya
The monument to Sophia Slutskaya

The monument to Sophia Slutskaya in Slutsk is one of the important sights of the city. The opening of the monument took place on September 24, 2000 in a park along M. Bogdanovich Street. The monument is dedicated to the last representative of the old princely family of Olelkovich-Slutsky – Sofya Slutskaya, who was canonized by the Belarusian Orthodox Church in 1984.

Sophia Slutskaya is the only daughter of the Slutsk Prince Yuri Yuryevich Olelkovich from her marriage to Barbara Kishka. The princess was orphaned early and became the owner of a third of the family fortune. Following the parents, two uncles who had no children also died. Their fortune passed into Sophia’s inheritance. Also, according to the will of her grandfather, she acquired the status of Princess Kopylskaya. Thus, the young princess was the richest bride in the Commonwealth.

Sophia Slutskaya
Sophia Slutskaya

Sophia Olelko spent her childhood in Berest and Vilna under the tutelage of maternal relatives: initially, the great statesman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Yury Khodkevich took care of the girl, after his brother, the Brest headman and Vilna castellan Jerome Khodkevich. For some time, Yuri Khodkevich was in financial debt to the Radziwill family. Therefore, he decided to give the rich heiress Sophia in marriage to a representative of one of the wealthy and influential dynasties on the territory of Belarus – Janusz Radziwill. In 1600, their marriage took place.

The monument to Sophia Slutskaya in Slutsk
The monument to Sophia Slutskaya in Slutsk

The life and work of Sophia Slutskaya was devoted to church affairs and the good of the Orthodox Church of Slutsk.

At that time, there was a serious confessional conflict on the territory of Belarus. Orthodoxy was banned and severely persecuted by the authorities. Princess Sophia came to the defense of the Orthodox faith in the territory of Slutsk. The princess provided material and moral support to the clergy and residents of the city. Her worldview was so strong that she managed to get a special document from the authorities from an influential spouse who considered himself a different faith, banning her subjects from changing their religion. Moreover, historians still have a lot of discussions about the religion of the princess. Sofia Slutskaya died at the age of 26 during her third childbirth (the couple lost three children).

The monument to Sophia Slutskaya in Slutsk is the authorship of sculptor Mikhail Inkov and architect Nikolai Lukyanchik. The monument is a figure of a saint cast in bronze, as well as a high arch, located behind the princess’s back, consisting of three “petals”. An important detail in the composition is the gesture of Sophia’s left hand. He calls to stop and think for a moment about the transience of being, about the purpose and life of a person. The white arch behind the back symbolizes the Christian church.

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