Visit to St. Ilya Church of Holy Dormition Convent in Orsha

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  • 16:15

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the St. Ilya Church of the Holy Dormition Convent in Orsha on Easter.

The President lit a candle and presented an icon of the Resurrection of Christ to St. Ilya Church. The head of state got an icon of St. Blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky as a gift for Easter.

The head of state began his speech at the church with gratitude to the clergy for their work: “These temples and churches, which are not in the center of Belarus, but far away from Minsk, make our people true and sincere Belarusians.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko called Easter a holy, most anticipated religious holiday.

“As a man from the Soviet times, I have to say that we have always waited for this holiday. If I were asked what holidays - secular and religious - come first for me, I would name Easter. We all, especially children, waited for this holiday to come. So did adults. It was a true holiday for us, not just an opportunity to feast. It was in our hearts and, most importantly, in our heads. Easter is a holy holiday of spring,” the head of state said.

He added that nature always brings warmth after Easter. This warmth also fills the hearts and souls of people. This year Easter is celebrated just ahead of a great secular holiday - Victory Day.

“I chose this church not only because I was born here, on the banks of this majestic ancient river. I thought about the fact that our river Dnieper and this church have always united our peoples. This is a very ancient temple. We have few such churches in Belarus. This river and this church have always united three Slavic peoples - Russians, Ukrainians and us, Belarusians,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted with regret that there was an ongoing conflict in the neighboring country. “I am absolutely convinced that with our prayers we will return to the times when our peoples will be together,” the Belarusian leader emphasized. “We hope that this holy month of May will bring peace to our brotherly people. And we will once again celebrate all the holidays on the banks of the Dnieper together, as it used to be before.”

“Since time has chosen us, we must preserve peace and quiet in our land. This is the most important task for our generation,” the President said.

In his words, on Easter people in churches or at home in front of icons pray first of all for their health and the health of their loved ones. “I absolutely agree with you here. The main thing is health. As I always say: health comes first, the rest is achievable,” the Belarusian leader said.

People also pray for peace. “People need nothing if there is no peace, no peace with yourself, in your souls and hearts. It is a tragedy if there is no peace in the family, if there is no peace in the country. We have fully realized this now,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He added that if earlier we heard about wars somewhere far away, now the war was actually raging behind the fence, at the doorstep of Belarus.

“On this day we also pray for daily bread, so that everyone has it on their tables. We have achieved this. Older people remember very well what was it like 30 years ago. We lacked even bread then,” the head of state said.

Most importantly, Aleksandr Lukashenko continued, people pray for a peaceful sleep for their children. He recalled that a lot of children from Donbass come to Belarus for vacation now: “And after a week spent here, they are asked what they are dreaming about. They say: “We dream about peace and quiet in our homeland. We want to fall asleep and wake up to tranquility, not to the sounds of bombings.”

2024 is of special significance to Belarus as the country marks the 80th anniversary of its liberation from the Nazis.

“This year holds great meaning to us. During the years of fascist aggression Belarus did not exist. It was wiped off the face of the earth, from its western to its eastern border. Everything was destroyed. People survived only thanks to our nature, our forests that hid them,” the head of state said. “Is it possible to forget these heroic feats of our people? We cannot do it!” 

The President also touched upon the political processes taking place inside Belarus. The current time is complicated by the ongoing change of generations. “It is very important for us not to break the traditions that we have created together with you. It is important for our children to keep everything we have created. This is not because we must hold on to the past. We need to do this because the one who tears the thread of generations, provokes, at least, chaos and, maximum, war,” the Belarusian leader said.

“The fact that we stood on the shoulders of the previous generation saved us. We absorbed everything that our fathers and grandfathers had created. That is why we survived. Any country breaking this generation bridge brings chaos to its land. There are always those who want to take advantage of it. Therefore, in this difficult time of generation change I would like us to preserve all the best that was created on our land,” the head of state added.

Addressing the residents of Orsha, the President noted that they have everything necessary for life - from fertile soil to a large number of enterprises.

“So many enterprises have been built in and around Orsha that there is not enough workforce today. I have already said that we will do everything necessary to provide these enterprises with workers. Today people have an opportunity to earn and provide for their families,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.