Meeting with Synod of Belarusian Orthodox Church
The church should be more actively involved in social processes, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting with the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church on 22 September.
The President remarked that the Belarusian Orthodox Church plays a leading role in the life of the country together with other religious denominations. “They have always coexisted peacefully thanks to the rational and balanced policy of the state and the Orthodox Church in relation to Catholics and other believers. My position is clear: we have nothing to quarrel over. As a strong and large religious denomination, the Orthodox Church should respect and support others,” the head of state is convinced.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the education of the younger generation and the engagement of young people in various social projects is a priority for the church. “The country has created excellent conditions for education and work, is doing its best to support talented youth. However, the society regularly has to solve new tasks, and the church should take a more active part in the resolution of these tasks,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “I cannot say that the state and priests do little, but it is essential for the church to find a delicate approach in this process. The church needs proactive, well-educated, and honest personnel. Therefore, the state is providing and will provide assistance to the ecclesiastical schools of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, in the education of priests. The state will do the same for other religious denominations.” The head of state believes that other religious denominations should follow the example of the Belarusian Orthodox Church and train Belarusian citizens as priests. “Belarusians should serve here although foreigners are infinitely devoted to our nation and state. I have been promoting this idea, especially, in relation to Catholics, since the very first days of my presidency. And there has been big progress: many Belarusians have become Catholic priests,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.
“The Church has always inspired architects to create architectural masterpieces. Many churches in Belarus are monuments of historical and cultural value. Today they need special care. The State has been providing assistance with their restoration for many years. Meanwhile, ministers of religion can address people at their local level and ask them to contribute to the restoration of what has been lost and destroyed. Then, they will value it more,” the President said.
The Belarusian leader stressed that the fundamental principles of the Orthodox Church, i.e. justice and humanity, inspired people to heroism. These are the values that helped them live through the most difficult times with dignity. “I have placed these values - justice and humanity - at the basis of my policy,” the Belarusian leader said.
“I would like to emphasize the constructive stand of the church toward the current political events in our country. It once again proves your interest in the dynamically developing Belarusian state,” the President is convinced.
The head of state thanked the Belarusian Orthodox Church for its contribution to the development of Belarus and the society. He also expressed confidence that joint work will help coordinate efforts to strengthen the society and promote its spiritual enrichment. “The church is not a social and political platform. It is a special force – a powerful creative force,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.
In the photo: Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko; Metropolitan Filaret, Patriarchal Exarch Emeritus of All Belarus; Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Pavel, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.