President presents For Spiritual Revival awards

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Belarus has withstood an uneasy period in its modern history without catastrophes and losses, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he presented For Spiritual Revival and other special awards to the workers of culture and arts on 10 January.

"We managed to withstand an uneasy period without catastrophes and losses with the help of the best qualities of our national character, namely mercy and friendliness, generosity and readiness to share everything we have," the head of state emphasized.

The President noted that Belarusians have preserved independence, civil peace, and accord. This is a moral victory of the Belarusian people who managed to build a society based on the laws of conscience, justice, and care for people.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that it is a pleasure to begin a year with awarding those, whose talents and noble deeds had earned acknowledgement of the society.

The head of state noted that the institution of the For Spiritual Revival award and other special prizes is the best demonstration of the importance that Belarus attaches to spiritual values and philanthropic deeds.

"There is no stranger's sorrow. This truth is part and parcel of our people. Belarusians can be together in joys and sorrows. Last year was crowned by the largest-scale charity campaign "Our Children" in the history of sovereign Belarus," the President said.

In his words, it is culture based on Christian traditions and Slavonic roots that is one of the sources of the internal power of Belarusians.

The President noted that the state support of culture has never been stronger. Every year billions of dollars are funneled into the restoration of architectural monuments in Polotsk, Gomel, Mir, Nesvizh, and other towns. The Bolshoi Theater has been completely restored. Other theaters, museums, the Belarusfilm studio were given a new lease of life. The state is the main sponsor of art projects and initiatives.

"The Belarusian civilization was created by wisdom and word, not by fire and sword. It is our country that gave birth to such Christian beacons as Euphrosyne of Polotsk and Kirill of Turov . It is the Fatherland of the great enlightener, Francysk Skaryna, who gave the Slavs the first print publication 495 years ago. Belarus has enriched the world culture with the poems of Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas, whose 130th anniversary will be celebrated this year," the President said.

The head of state believes that the declaration of the Year of Books in Belarus will give a new impetus to the development of society and open broad spiritual horizons.

Today culture is aimed to consolidate the society, strengthen Belarusian statehood, the President said.

When addressing the awardees, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that they are the elite of the Belarusian society. He also noted: "By your personal example you have proved that limitless riches are not required to help people. It is important to have a generous heart and be ready to give part of your soul to others."

The 2011 For Spiritual Revival award was bestowed upon doctors of the early intervention department of the central children’s clinic in Gomel who saved thousands of babies from grave illnesses; founders of the family-type orphanage Galina Bushmakina and Igor Bushmakin; Archbishop of Novogrudok and Lida Gury; authors of unique mosaics that immortalize the First World War victims and a TV series about hero cities.

"Your works enrich the spiritual heritage of the Fatherland, help the society become purer and kinder. We are grateful for your self-forgetfulness and humanism," Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Special prizes were presented to actress Bella Masumyan, ballet dancer Yekaterina Oleinik, merited pedagogue Yevgeny Gladkov, and other people of culture.

Prizes of the special fund to support talented youth and an official letter of thanks of the President were conferred on Lidia Zablotskaya who took part in the 2011 Junior Eurovision and her pedagogues.

The President stressed that the state will continue supporting culture, talented people, and especially pedagogues.

The award ceremony was attended by Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk Filaret, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.