By Igor Slavinsky
In early 2011, fifteen laureates were honoured on the stage of Minsk’s Palace of the Republic. According to the President of Belarus, churchmen, cultural workers, publishers, doctors and teachers from orphanages are worthy of being called truly benevolent.
Spirituality is revealed through various professions, as asserted by Lyudmila Torteva, the head doctor at Gomel’s Zhivitsa Regional Children’s Rehabilitation Centre. “It’s not just the latest medical technologies which revive people’s hope; human compassion, sympathy and love are just as important,” she stresses. According to Ms. Torteva, everyone should display these qualities, allowing us to battle apathy and disinterest.
Hegumene Yevdokia, Mother Superior of the Convent of the Saviour and St. Yevfrosiniya in Polotsk, echoed these thoughts, saying, “Each person should perform only good actions.”
Addressing the laureates, Mr. Lukashenko underlined the importance of morality, saying, “People have always searched not only for material prosperity, but for spiritual heights. Today, morality and culture play a leading role in artistic creativity, science, education and medicine. Our future directly depends on ideals, approved today.”
According to the President, our sovereign Belarusian state is inspiring us to ‘do as much as possible to strengthen and grace our common house’. Developing this thought, he quoted Belarusian literary legend Vladimir Korotkevich: ‘This is a land of open souls and doors; this land is our home and cathedral’. This poetic attitude towards our native land — as to a sacred relic — unites and inspires Belarusians.
The President of Belarus focused on the development of national culture in his speech, emphasising that it guarantees the preservation of our national identity; it is the cornerstone of independence. “You, creative personalities, shouldn’t forget your social and spiritual mission,” noted Mr. Lukashenko. “The country is expecting wonderful, major works from you, to educate our people in the spirit of traditional ideas and values. These should reflect the positive changes taking place in our lives.” Mr. Lukashenko explained that the state will always respect the right of artists to enjoy freedom of thought and self-realisation.