Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Minsk on 7 January.
According to the tradition, the head of state lit a Christmas candle, talked to parishioners.
“This is a joyful and kind holiday. We all hope that it will bring us not only good things but also miracles. Such holidays, my favorite ones, show that each of us make their own journey to God. This is very important," said the President.
He expressed his conviction that those who go to churches seek peace, forgiveness, and Christian values. “More than two thousand years ago Christmas became a certain starting point in the history of the new civilization, the new world order of love, justice, kindness and mercy. These traits are absolutely inherent in the Belarusian people, in this or that extent. But in general, honesty, decency and fairness are in our DNA,” said the head of state.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned the ongoing pandemic, noting that he has been carefully analyzing the situation during the second wave as he did during the first one. “In fact, I am living by it, because it is a very important moment in the life of the Belarusian society,” he said.
The President said that God keeps Belarus safe, especially when compared to what is happening in other countries. “What we see there is a social disaster. God forbid such things happen here. We are grateful to God that He kept us safe during the first wave of the disease and during the second one. It is a sign that we still cherish the holy things that He [Jesus Christ] preached more than two thousand years ago,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
“God forbid things get worse,” the President added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that only together can we preserve the land where we live and where future generations will live.
“We need to stop and think about our future. It is on this holy day that He [Lord] warns us from up there,” the head of state said. “He wants us to think about the future, to think about the future of our children. This is very relevant and very important. We must understand that only together we can preserve this piece of land so that our children could live here by their wits after us. In the New Year's address I said that we can lose everything we have. And the worst thing is that we can lose it irretrievably.”
“We can go back to how previous generations lived. After 1917, after the October Revolution, before it. We do not want our children to live like beggars and be oppressed, again. Our children don't need that,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the Holy Cross Exultation Church is primarily a monument to more than 80,000 Soviet people and soldiers who died in this place during the Great Patriotic War. “These were the people who did not betray, who did not give up. These were the people who fought and who died during the Great Patriotic War. It's very important for us now. Our entire Belarus, as I often say, is a monument to that war. We, Belarusians, should never glorify Nazism, even in the smallest way. Never! In the name of the memory of those who died. We must honor the people thanks to whom we live today," the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also commented on the events in 2020 as he visited the church.
“Christmas is a holiday that defines a new life for at least a year ahead. I really want us not to repeat the previous year, although I would not vilify it. We needed that year to understand some things, to think about the future, to see people next to us, to understand who is who. We needed to live through such a year, but we needed it earlier. I do not want anything like that to happen again, this year or next year,” said the head of state.
He wished the coming year to be better than the previous one. “It will be better if we do our best to make it better. The most important thing is to take care of each other, our loved ones,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The head of state presented the church with the Icon of the Mother of God The Seeker of the Lost. The icon depicts the image of the Mother of God leaning over the infant Jesus and comforting his grief. By this, the Mother of God represents the last resting place and the last hope for those who have almost taken the fatal step and crossed the threshold of death, both physical and spiritual. The icon was made in the workshop of St. Elisabeth Convent in Minsk.
Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl gave the head of state a bronze model of the Holy Cross Exaltation Church, a souvenir bell and also the book by Nikolai Gavrilov “God shall wipe away every tear”.