Dozens of thousands of Orthodox believers visited church with their family on Christmas Day, offering friendly greetings and congratulations. Of course, this time of year isn’t only for gift giving, as Mr. Lukashenko reminded everyone in his speech. The enduring values of mercy and compassion, mutual understanding and tolerance support altruistic actions: caring for others deserving our love and sympathy.
On Christmas Day, the President visited the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk, thanking the Church for its great contribution to strengthening peace and accord across Belarus. Extending his warmest greetings, the President stressed, “You can rely on the state and authorities, feeling sure that our country will always be peaceful and calm. We guarantee it.”
The new year will be complicated but Mr. Lukashenko is confident that the country will survive successfully ‘thanks to the kindness of our people and their wish to live in peace in our God-given land’.
“I congratulate all Belarusians, our friends, brothers and neighbours. I wish peace and kindness to them and, especially, I wish peace to our close southern neighbour. We will do our best to enhance peace and accord in the souls and hearts of these fraternal people,” said Mr. Lukashenko.
The President lit a candle for the Icon of the Mother of God of Minsk, together with his younger son Nikolay. Then, the Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl, the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Pavel, presented the revered Icon of the Mother of God ‘Of the Three Hands’ — brought from the Athos.
The Presented gave the Belarusian Orthodox Church a souvenir panel picture, depicting the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Polotsk. The panel picture is made of silver, using an embossing technique on cardboard. Built in 1893, the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is part of St. Yevfrosiniya Monastery in Polotsk, which holds the relics of St. Yevfrosiniya Polotskaya.