Ceremony to unveil monument to first Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Metropolitan Filaret
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko attended the monument to the first Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Metropolitan Filaret at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk on 3 May.
The ceremony was also attended by Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Veniamin.
“I am glad that we have unveiled a monument to the first Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, our Metropolitan Filaret on Radunitsa, a day when we commemorate our dearest people who are no longer with us. Without exaggeration, Metropolitan Filaret is our outstanding contemporary, Hero of Belarus, a man who was not only a spiritual father, but also the conscience of the nation. He would always say: Your Motherland is where you serve. And he proved by everything he did that our Belarus was his destiny, his Fatherland, and we were his huge beloved family,” the Belarusian leader noted.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Metropolitan Filaret devoted much effort to the revival of churches, parishes, monasteries and convents, and to theological education. It was with his blessing that Holy Scripture was translated into the Belarusian language and a feast was established in honor of All Saints' Church.
Aleksandr Lukashenko highlighted peacemaking efforts of Metropolitan Filaret. Back in the times of the Cold War, he spoke about patriotism, anti-fascism, unacceptability of the use of nuclear weapons and called to end the arms race.
“Using international platforms and the press, he sent a clear-cut message that the price paid by the Soviet people for victory in the Great Patriotic War was too high, and therefore peace is the greatest value for us. I am convinced that being in heaven, next to the patron saints of Belarus, he asks for peace and harmony in our beautiful land,” the President said.
“We all see very well that the biblical battle between good and evil is not over. It is still going on throughout the planet under various circumstances and in the most unusual forms. What such a confrontation leads to is clearly seen in our dear and fraternal Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
At the same time, the President noted that it is not for nothing that they say that the darkest time is before dawn. In such a difficult period, you can clearly see who is your enemy and who is your friend.
“In the Year of Historical Memory, we, the Belarusians who have gone through a lot, oppose Western hypocrisy again with our calm Belarusian wisdom and rationality,” the head of state said.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Metropolitan Filaret has been gone for more than a year, but it is still difficult to talk about him in the past tense. “We miss his voice, unfailing benevolence, subtle humor, wise fatherly advice and prayerful help,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned another message of the clergyman. These words, which the head of state called a spiritual testament, were said by the metropolitan in August 2020 when Belarus was going through a difficult period. “The current task and duty of the nation is to preserve peace and harmony in our native land. This is our responsibility to God and to our descendants,” Metropolitan Filaret said back then.
The head of state urged people not to take each other for granted, to protect the world and the country, and to keep in mind the words of Metropolitan Filaret with which he ended every sermon: “Hurry up for good deeds!”
“Our good deeds will be the best tribute to his blessed memory,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.
After the official part of the event, the President and Metropolitan Veniamin visited the cathedral where they lit candles at the Crucifixion. Metropolitan Veniamin presented an icon from the personal collection of Metropolitan Filaret to the head of state.
“Our main task is to carry on the work of Metropolitan Filaret,” Metropolitan Veniamin said.