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Celebration on account of 450th anniversary of Leu Sapieha (Sapega). Print
Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.On August 19, 2007 in the St. Cyril's of Turau Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY a celebration on account of 450th anniversary of Leu Sapieha, who was a political, social and military figure of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL). For over 30 years he was The Vice Chancellor, that is the second person in the country after the great king and this means а Grand Duke of Lithuania Żygimont (Sigismund) III Augustus.

During the celebration, the Belarusian museum presented a work of art by Ales Shaternik with an image of Leu Sapieha, some well known figures of Belarusian Diaspora spoke at the meeting.

Unfortunately the painter was not able to come for the presentation of his painting and that is why his short letter about the picture was read by his daughter, also a painter, Yulia Shaternik:


He was walking ahead of his time and wanted to lead the society. And the society was looking back into habitual and well known yesterday…. The society did not understand him, for it was looking for living in the present day … The Sapieha’s life motto was belief. 

“Not only I, but my life as well belongs to my mother country” as early as in his young years Sapieha impressed the king and grand duke Stefan Batory by his knowledge of the legislation, that the king appointed him together with Astafij Vałovič (Astaphiy Valovitch) and Kryštaf Radzivił (Chryshtaf Radzivil) to create a tribunal of  the Grand Duchy, and later a Statute of GDL …Thus, the Statute was a result of legislation thought of “local gentry”. In the foreword to the Statute Sapieha express his view on jural state and society. “Where legislation or Statute is overruling, God himself governs everything”. Sapieha believed, that a man should defile certain legal regulations, which would ennoble him and defended from disgraceful acts. And…as for the Country, its guarantee of her prosperity and greatness is its legal mode …The monarchs and the government must be subjects to the legislation. Thus Sapieha’s views influenced the humane character of the Statute laws. For the new constitution a man of simple origin was “God’s creation”… The Statute pronounced evenness of all before the law. It was protecting the rights of women and minors, confirming the principle of religious freedom; it was not allowed to keep free people in bondage… The state was taking responsibility over nature, there was introduced an order of usage of the land, forests, rivers and lakes there… The Statute was pronouncing GDL an independent country … 

Lithuania (Belarus) lived by the Statute until mid 19th century.

During 200 years the Statute was the most unsurpassed code of laws in Europe and made a significant impact on the European legal thinking …

He figuratively defined his titanic work as “showed the best and   way to the knowledge of law to everybody”<<Дарогу ладнейшую і снаднейшаю кождому ку ведомості права показал>>…“I will protect the piece of my country while I live”  - this was the aim of Leu Sapieha’s work …This year it is 450 years since the birth of this fine statesman … 

The painter was thinking about this while painting with oil his work of art “Leu Sapieha on a hoarse, under white-red-white band with inscription “1557 SAPEGA 1633”… The artist used iconoclastic material from so called Sarmatian portraits and specifically the portret of Leu Sapieha from 17th century …

Ales Shaternik

After this the members of the counsel of the Belarusian Museum: Anatol Kolbun and Mikola Sahanovitch told about Leu Sapieha more elaborately, Uladzimir Tsielitsa gave a report.

This celebration went in warm friendly atmosphere.

Join the work of creating the museum by sacrificial work or with money giving, and visit the new exhibitions, which will be held in the future
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