Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran

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Belarus managed to secure inter-faith peace and accord, President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Jean-Louis Tauran on 4 July.

“I am glad to see you again on our Belarusian land and I welcome you here. I very much hope that your visit will be a success and that today we have no issues to be worried about or the issues that could grow into the problems tomorrow,” the head of state said.

The President pointed out that in Belarus there are 25 religious denominations, and there is interreligious peace and stability.

Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed satisfaction that the two biggest denominations “have found the ways for cooperation”. The President described these relations as constructive and useful to the state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that in recent years a lot has been done for churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. For example, a decision has been recently made to build the Catholic Education Center.

The President continued: “We have no irresolvable issues. I would like to assure you and will ask you to convey this to the Pope that the Catholic Church, as before, will occupy a worthy place in Belarus”. The head of state stressed that the citizens of Belarus have and will have absolute freedom of religious belief and worship.

Jean-Louis Tauran conveyed the Pope’s blessing to the Belarusian nation as he met with the President of Belarus. “Yesterday evening, before coming here, I met with the Pope. He asked me to give you his best wishes and a blessing to the Belarusian nation”.

The cardinal emphasized that his diplomatic career spanned 28 years and he had an opportunity to establish contacts with representatives of many countries. “You come to understand the importance of a meaningful dialogue between the religious community and the state. Therefore, we are glad to hear that representatives of all religious denominations feel at home in Belarus and live in peace and accord”.

“It is very important to have the faith in the supreme power, because any person of any state has two responsibilities, one as a citizen and the other as a religious human being,” Jean-Louis Tauran said.

The President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue stressed that this is his first trip to Belarus. Therefore he is looking forward to discovering the country and seeing how different religions interact with each other.

Jean-Louis Tauran, a famous and respectable cardinal, is a Papal legate who came to Belarus with a purpose to attend the celebrations of 400 years of Budslav Icon of the Mother of God. The celebrations will take place in Budslav on 5-6 July. The event will be the most important Catholic celebration this year. Budslav Icon of the Mother of God is one of the most revered icons which is famous for numerous miracles. Every year people from Belarus and abroad go on pilgrimages to see the icon. This year Budslav will welcome 45,000 pilgrims. The state has rendered necessary assistance to the Roman Catholic Church to get ready for the celebrations. In particular, the government sponsored the restoration of the Roman Catholic church in Budslav, launched more trains for pilgrims. Apart from that a special stamp will be introduced by the time of the holiday.