Conversion to Christianity of Polack and Turau Eparchies in the 10th—14th centuries
«Christening in Rus’» is one of the crucial events in the early history of the Eastern Europe, which was represented well and rather comprehensively in a good range of historic sources. Unfortunately, all the remained–till–date written sources of that period show considerable information gaps, generally reasoned by a highest range of socio–cultural realities in direct interest by the authors of such written works.
There are lots of works related to the subject of this article, however, the local and very specific aspect of the subject of our interest — spatio–temporal simulation of the orthodox churches spreading over the modern Belarus’ territory in the first centuries of the «conversion to Christianity» — has not been well presented in the sources and in historiography thereafter.
Taking into consideration the traditional written sources only, the orthodox parishes of Polack and Turau Eparchies in the 10th—14th centuries can be neither chronologically recounted nor mapped, unlike those of the Roman Catholic Church (14th—16th centuries). Thus, the dense mapping of the 14th—16th century Roman Catholic churches may contrast to the «almost–blank» Christianity progress in the 11th—13th centuries, as well as to the history of the Orthodox Church in the 14th—16th centuries, and, consequently, it may result, to a certain extent, in some inadequate understanding of the historic reality of that period.
This article has tried to «substantiate» the conversion–to–Christianity process by associating it to the well–known elements of the social and political structure of this region. For this purpose, in addition to few direct written and archeological informants about location of the 11th—14th century churches and monasteries, we have also applied a wider information range of sources (and — partly — some methods) at our disposal due to historic geography.
During our study we have worked out a map, which demonstrates vividly the main tendencies of the orthodox perishes network spreading over the territory under research, as related tightly to the structural differentiation progress in this ethno–geographical area.
Thus, we can make a reasonable conclusion that a priori systematic process of the Ancient Rus’s conversion to Christianity shows a tight spatio–temporal correlation between the recognised realities of the Belarusian historic geography of the 10th—14th centuries and the orthodox parishes network spreading in this region in the first centuries of the «conversion to Christianity».