Saint Euphrosyne of Polotsk
Born 1104
Polotsk, Belarus
Died 1167
Mar Saba Monastery near Jerusalem
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church; Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized 1984, Belarus by Pope John Paul II
Feast 23 May
Patronage Belarus

Predslava Svyatoslavna of Polotsk, Abbess of, was born 1104 in Polotsk, Polatsk Rayon, Vitsebsk Voblasts, Belarus to Svyatoslav Vseslavich of Vitebsk (c1065-c1130) and Sofiya Vladimirovna (c1078-c1140) and died 1167 Mar Saba Monastery, Palestine of unspecified causes.

Euphrosyne of Polotsk (Belarusian: Еўфрасіння Полацкая; 1104–1167) was the granddaughter of Prince Vseslav Bryachislavich of Polotsk, and daughter of Prince Svyatoslav of Polotsk. She is one of the 15 patron saints of Belarus, whose lives are celebrated in the Belarusian Orthodox Church, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, a feast that was instituted in the year of her canonization in 1984.[1]


Predslava was born between in 1104, into the Rurik noble family, members of which were the Princes of Polotsk, in what is modern day Belarus. Her father was Prince Svyatosla Vseslavich, second son of Vseslav Bryachislavich.[2]

She refused all proposals of marriage and, without her parents' knowledge, ran away to the convent where her aunt was the abbess. She became a nun and took the name Euphrosyne. With the blessing of the Bishop of Polotsk, she began to live near Saint Sophia cathedral, where she spent her time copying books.[3] The money she thus earned she distributed to the poor.

Around 1128 Bishop Elias of Polotsk entrusted Euphrosyne the task of organizing a women's monastery. At the newly constructed Transfiguration monastery (renamed Saint Euphrosyne Monastery at Seltse she taught the young women to copy books, singing, sewing and other handicrafts. Through her efforts, in 1161, a cathedral was built which survives to the present day.[3]

She also founded a men's monastery dedicated to the Mother of God, as well as, two churches. The Transfiguration Cathedral, still stands today and is considered to be the most precious monument of early Belarusian architecture.

Towards the end of her life, she undertook a pilgrimage to Constantinople and the Holy Land.[3] Patriarch Michael II of Constantinople gave her an icon of the Theotokos, which is now called the Virgin of Korsun. The Crusader king, Amalric I of Jerusalem, also received her in the Holy Land.[4] There she died about 1173. Her body, after the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, was carried by the monks to Kiev and deposited there in the Monastery of the Caves. It was only in 1910 that the relics of the saint were brought back to her native town of Polatsk.


Monument to Euphrosyne of Polotsk in Polotsk

Her feast day is celebrated on May 23.[5][6] Euphrosyne is the only virgin saint of East Slav origin.

Euphrosyne (or Efrosinia) of Polotsk is a patron saint of Belarus.[2] In Belarus there is a Convent of Saint Euphrosyne in Polotsk and a Saint Euphrosyne Orthodox Church in Minsk.[7] In addition there are churches dedicated to Euphrosyne of Polotsk in London,[8] Toronto,[9] Vilnius[10] and South River, New Jersey (see: St. Euphrosynia Belarusian Orthodox Church).

Cross of Saint Euphrosyne

The cross of Saint Euphrosyne was a splendid gem-studded cross created at her behest by a local master, Lazar Bohsa (Belarusian: Лазар Богша). The famous six-armed golden cross was decorated with enamels and precious stones and presented by her to the church of the Holy Saviour in 1161. Of exquisite beauty, the relic survived centuries of turbulence until World War II, when it mysteriously disappeared during the evacuation of the museum in 1941. For the last time, the cross was seen in Mogilev. Despite some efforts of the Belarusian government to trace in the early 1990s the whereabouts of this treasure, which included even searching in private collections in the United States, nothing has been found.

See also

Portal.svg Saints
  • Cross of Saint Euphrosyne
  • List of Catholic saints
  • Boris stones



Offspring of Svyatoslav Vseslavich of Vitebsk (c1065-c1130) and Sofiya Vladimirovna (c1078-c1140)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Vasilko Svyatoslavich of Polotsk (c1095-1144) 1095 1144
Predslava Svyatoslavna of Polotsk (1104-1167) 1104 Polotsk, Polatsk Rayon, Vitsebsk Voblasts, Belarus 1167 Mar Saba Monastery, Palestine
Gradislava Svyatoslavna of Polotsk (c1110-c1180) 1110 Polotsk, Polatsk Rayon, Vitsebsk Voblasts, Belarus 1180
Vyacheslav Svyatoslavich of Vitebsk (c1100-c1170) 1100 1170
Davyd Svyatoslavich of Vitebsk (c1105-c1170) 1105 1160


Footnotes (including sources)


Warning: Default sort key "Euphrosyne Of Polatsk" overrides earlier default sort key "Rurik, Predslava Svyatoslavna".