Ceremony to present For Spiritual Revival awards, special prizes to art luminaries, Belarusian Sports Olympus award
Today’s evening is wonderful. We’ve already started the routine life of the new year but we still feel the atmosphere of light and kind New Year and Christmas festivities. The atmosphere that inspired us to institute the unique Spiritual Revival award many years ago.
The Spiritual Revival award ceremony is one of the key events of the year. It has become part and parcel of the life of Belarusians as a modern tradition that connects the past and the present of the native land, fills goals and aspirations of citizens with a special meaning. Year after year such meetings bring us together with the best and most sincere feelings: pride in worthy people, gratitude for compassion and kindness, courage and heroism, veneration of the creativity and talent of our compatriots.
We, Belarusians, are a nation with a beautiful soul. I think about it every time when I study success stories and sign award papers. I think [the head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church] Metropolitan Veniamin and I think the same thoughts at this time.
There are primarily hardworking and honest people behind every professional or personal accomplishment. People, who wholly dedicate themselves to their own mission, people, who live and work for the benefit of the native country and the nation. It is what patriotism is all about. It is manifested in love for children and a selfless aspiration to dot on those, who are deprived of motherly caress by fate. It is manifested in the selfless fight for the life and health of people, in the careful attitude to the cultural legacy of the nation, time-honored traditions and spiritual values of Belarusians. It is manifested in the protection of historic truth, the memory about heroes of our land, the information sovereignty of the country. In the nurturing of young Belarusians to love their country and take pride in their ancestors, in sport victories for the glory of Belarus.
During this ceremony I want to take an aside moment to comment on yesterday’s negotiations with the IIHF. As soon as they ended, our opposition figures living abroad attacked our best friends (not Belarusians, but foreign friends who have always supported us). It is a shame to have such people among us. But I want to say, since this matter is broadly discussed, that we are ready to host any international sporting events, including in the cultural dimension. As for the Ice Hockey World Championship, (we won the right to host it in a fair competition), I said that that we are ready to organize it even tomorrow. But there is still a lot of work to do for this. And, unfortunately, we will have to prove again that we are worthy.
We are ready to talk to any honest people, including the opposition, but not traitors. We are ready to engage in a dialogue with any opposition (you have seen this and you know it) on any issues, from constitutional changes to the future of our Belarus. But we will not kneel down before anyone!
We were on our knees for many, many centuries. Enough is enough. We have risen from the knees and will stand firmly on our feet. Therefore, I want to warn everyone who still cherishes hope to turn the country upside down: nothing will come out of it.
During the negotiations with Rene Fasel we agreed on one thing: sport should unite nations, not divide them. If they withstand pressure from their own politicians, we will hold a beautiful sports event in our country. We can do it without Latvia if they don’t want it. I am sure that our Belarus, a beautiful, hospitable and safe country, is the best place on earth to implement the ideas of Olympism, cultural ideas. And we are ready to do this. I emphasize once again: we are ready to maintain a dialogue in this regard with any forces, including opposition, that will strive to make the country better. You cannot build a country and even take power in Belarus through destruction. Belarusians will not tolerate regress and destruction. They promise us that we will overcome all this and become rich – it has never worked this way and never will. Examples of our neighbors suggest otherwise.
You are the pride of the nation. Such people write history. Good deeds and undertakings like yours remain in the memory of the people, give future generations a moral and spiritual guide, lead to new highs. Thus, the chronicle of Belarus continues.
Today, when the world is becoming more aggressive, it is especially important to stand firm on our land, to remember that the Belarusians lived here for centuries and will continue living here, to keep in touch with the generations that came before us, to understand that we have our own way. It was started by great people and will be continued by us.
Knowing what trials our ancestors went through, how heroically they defended our land in wars, how, having no statehood, they saved the cultural traditions and spiritual values, we see the main thing.
The best traits of the Belarusian national character – kindness and compassion, diligence and determination, creativity and brilliance – can be found in everyone. Metropolitan Filaret was a true hero of Belarus, a sincere and open person. Unfortunately, he has passed away. He stood at the origins of today's ceremony and supported all awardees with his blessing.
Metropolitan Filaret will forever remain in the history of Belarus as an example of selfless service to Christian values that unite Belarusians. Dear friends, let’s observe a minute of silence in memory of Metropolitan Filaret.
Our common goal is to be worthy descendants of Metropolitan Filaret and other great figures in the long history of our native land and to preserve the link between times and epochs that new generations could rely on.
May the restored Turov Cross become another unique relic, along with the previously revived Cross of Euphrosyne of Polotsk, and will keep us safe along the way. These relics were brought to the stage of the Palace of the Republic during the ceremony. And this is a symbolic moment.
I wish a Happy New Year and a Merry Christmas once again, dear friends.