Everyone has own way to church

Alexander Lukashenko sees no obstacles to good relations between believers in Belarus, speaking at meeting with Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, in Minsk
Alexander Lukashenko sees no obstacles to good relations between believers in Belarus, speaking at meeting with Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, in Minsk.


Patriarch Kirill awards Alexander Lukashenko the Order

Belarus is home to people of various religions, noted the President. “I see no obstacles to believers’ relationships and we very much appreciate this. We’ll protect this as much as possible. Catholics and Orthodox believers live peacefully, without rebuke of each other. We try to help one another, to allow everyone to find their own path to church.” Mr. Lukashenko also noted that, concerning questions of religion, ‘people should decide themselves where they go and what they do’.

The Belarusian Orthodox Church occupies a leading place in the religious life of the country. “Belarus is a stronghold of Orthodoxy on the western borders of our once great Fatherland,” underlined Mr. Lukashenko. He and the Patriarch touched upon events in neighbouring Ukraine, with the President promising that Belarus will do all it can to end conflict.

The Head of State noted that Belarus’ peace-making mission on behalf of Ukraine is well-known, saying, “We — brothers, Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians — come from one root. It hurts us to see our brothers in trouble. We will do all we can to ease the situation and, if possible, to stop this fratricidal war.”

Belarus appreciates the fact that believers in Belarus bear each other no grudges, and intends to maintain this state of affairs, as the President emphasised. The conflict in Ukraine began with a split in the church, as Mr. Lukashenko mentioned. He said, “It began when spiritual values were betrayed and when people started to defy them. All then passed into the plane of military opposition.”

Belarus appreciates the fact that believers in Belarus bear each other no grudges, and intends to maintain this state of affairs, as the President emphasised. The conflict in Ukraine began with a split in the church, as Mr. Lukashenko mentioned. He said, “It began when spiritual values were betrayed and when people started to defy them. All then passed into the plane of military opposition.”

President Lukashenko expressed gratitude to Patriarch Kirill for his work in Belarus, where people appreciate the selfless role of the Patriarch and his attitude to the country. He commented, “I always have appreciated your efforts, and will continue to do so, being ever grateful for the good you do in our country: as Patriarch, and as a Russian person in our Slavic land.” The Head of State noted that Patriarch Kirill has repeatedly visited Belarus and knows how far Belarusians are devoted to their spiritual roots and values.

Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, thanked Belarus for its role in organising the peace negotiations for Ukraine, adding that the situation is one he greatly grieves for. “It is a real wound to my heart,” he said. “The Orthodox Church comprises people from the East and from the West in its congregation, bringing special responsibility. Today, our Church is a unique organisation in Ukraine and a unique force of peace-making potential, having remained outside of the two factions.” Patriarch Kirill declared that it is impossible to divide a congregation by political principle. “Both here and there, are Orthodox people; both here and there, they suffer and die,” he said.

He also noted that each time he visits Belarus, he feels warmth and joy. He added, “Setting foot on Belarusian land, you always recollect the special contribution of Belarus in protecting the Fatherland in the last, big war. It has been especially wonderful for me to arrive in this year of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Victory.”

Belarus was the first to meet the terrible hordes which fell upon our land. At great cost, it stood against the enemy, preventing it from immediately crossing the hundreds of kilometres which separated the western border from the capital,» noted the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church.  He underlined that Belarus played a special role in the Great Victory, and is convinced that, in this year of its 70th anniversary, his duty is to bow to the heroes who died for the freedom and independence of the Fatherland.

The Head of the Russian Orthodox Church thanked Belarus for inviting him to visit Brest Fortress, where his uncle died, near its walls. He said, “This holy place is an example of heroism, courage, and the ability of people to endure to the end of their physical strength, continuing to struggle, and remaining faithful to their oath.”

During the meeting, Patriarch Kirill gave the President of Belarus the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov of the 1st Degree, and gave him an icon of Saint Vladimir: a prince deemed equal to the apostles. Mr. Lukashenko gave the Patriarch a silver embossed icon of the Guardian Angel and took the Patriarch on a short tour of the Palace of Independence.

By Vladimir Khromov

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