Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has lit a Christmas candle at the icon of Faithful Saint Prince Alexander Nevsky in the Memorial Church of All Saints on 7 January.
t the entrance to the church the President was welcomed by Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Pavel, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, as well as by Archpriest Fyodor Povny, Belarus' Commissioner for Religions and Nationalities Leonid Gulyako and Minsk Mayor Anatoly Sivak.
Upon arrival at the church Alexander Lukashenko laid flowers at the monument to Alexis II and examined the bells that will be installed on the memorial church, as well as the interior design of the church. The President lit a Christmas candle at the icon of Faithful Saint Prince Alexander Nevsky.
It was noted during the church service that many people took part in the construction of the Memorial Church of All Saints. “We erected this temple against all odds. It is an age mate of our independent, sovereign Belarus. Let it always symbolize our sovereignty. It will send a message to all ill-wishers that we will never come to heel again,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President underlined that Belarusians are a proud, independent, tolerant and very kind-hearted nation that has always treated all its neighbors well, including Russians and Ukrainians.
The head of state noted that the Nativity of the Lord is more than just a Christian tradition for Belarusians. This holiday unites people with varying degrees of religiosity; it touches their deepest feelings: the desire to love, forgive and live in peace and accord.
“The very atmosphere of this holiday encourages you to do good things. A great number of charity acts and other campaigns are held during this time for a reason. I sincerely appreciate people who lend a helping hand to those who are having hard times now. This should be our human need. You help someone today and they will help you tomorrow,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian President emphasized that Christmas sends a strong message to the humanity. It symbolizes the birth of a person who was destined to perform a feat, to sacrifice his own life in order to save other people.
“During its history the Belarusian land lost millions of its sons and daughters who did not spare their lives to defend their homeland. Time erased many names. However, we commemorated the heroes of the past century and our days by building this magnificent memorial church. It is of the same age as our young, sovereign and independent state. Everything in this project, from the very idea of it to the implementation, serves the main goal, i.e. to preserve the historical memory, strengthen peace and accord in the society,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The crypt of the memorial church symbolizes justice and tolerance, it carefully preserves the names of the heroes regardless of their nationality and religious beliefs; it keeps soil from various parts of the world where Belarusians fought for the right cause.
“There is no reversing history. However, history should not be forgotten, either, because there is no better protection than memory of the tragic past. We value peace, because we went through the grief and atrocities of wars like no other nation in the world. Our state, the Belarusian people, our church have always been united in this mission,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President extended Christmas greetings to the attendees and wished all Belarusians good health and well-being. “Let our land welcome more babies. It is very important for us. Let these babies have a happy childhood and a long, interesting and exciting life – this depends only on us. Let our beautiful and strong Belarus be always prosperous due to our brains and hands. We should do our best to make it happen. I would like to emphasize it on this Christmas day. This is what I call everyone for on this day,” the President concluded.
The head of state presented a Nativity icon to the Memorial Church of All Saints. Alexander Lukashenko was given a special edition of the Gospel made on the occasion of the consecration of the high altar of the Memorial Church of All Saints.