On the 19th of September, 2020 an ecological trail «Through the creation to the Creator» was opened on the territory of the Monastery of St. Eliseus of Lauryshava. The trail was created thanks to the joint efforts of the monastery and the direction «Church and Environment» of the Center for Environmental Solutions and with the support of the working group of the Belarusian Orthodox Church on cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and within the framework of the Program of Cooperation between the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus. The presentation of the trail was timed to celebrating of the period of prayer for God’s creation, which in the Orthodox Church falls on the September days.
The route of the ecological trail «Through the creation to the Creator» is about 1 km long and was created for the purpose of environmental education and upbringing of students of both general education and Sunday church schools, for pilgrims and everyone who visits the monastery.
Before the opening of the ecological trail on the banks of the Neman River, not far from the Monastery of St. Eliseus of Lauryshava, a prayer service was held, which was led by the abbot of the monastery Evsevy (Tyukhlov).
“If we are able to improve our relationship with the creation, then we will be able to adjust our relationship to the Creator. Everything that we sow in the minds and hearts of people — it will go on. You will teach children to take care of nature, the environment and they will teach their children, and this will live forever”, Abbot Evsevy emphasized in his sermon after the prayer.
The event was also attended by Tatyana Kononchuk, Head of the Main Department for Environmental Policy, International Cooperation and Science of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus. She noted: “The ecological trail is a very important moment in educating the population. This is not just any information on boards, it is information about what we breathe, what surrounds us. Everything in the environment is interconnected, and it is impossible to single out which is more important. And it is no coincidence that in recent years we open ecological trails in such holy places. Many things are rethought exactly here, on the way to the temple.
Director of the Center for Environmental Solutions Eugeniy Lobanov said that the program «Church and Environment» is been operated in Belarus for 6 years, and from the point of view of the natural environment, the Monastery of St. Eliseus of Lauryshava is located in an amazing place. The monastery is surrounded by the Neman River, and a pine forest, a dune, a meadow, a pond — all these biotopes can be found in a small area near the monastery. One of the main topics of the ecological trail is taking care of the water resources of Belarus, in particular, the Neman river basin.
The first guests of the ecological trail were the parishioners of the monastery, local people, school teachers from the Novogrudok district, students and teachers of the Institute of Theology of the Belarusian State University and other guests from Minsk. The first excursion along the trail was conducted by one of the trail organizers Sergey Yushkevich.
The trail is equipped with information stands with detailed descriptions of the local flora and fauna, ecological advice and recommendations, theological reflections on the attitude of man to God’s creation.
The trail was created with the financial support of the Coalition Clean Baltic.
This is the third ecological trail, organized by the joint efforts of representatives of the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Center for Environmental Solutions, and opened on the church territory. The first trail was created in 2016 on the territory of the parish in honor of St. Nicholas of Japan in Minsk, the second one — in 2019 in the village of Bogino, Braslav district, Vitebsk region, at the church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos.