Meeting with Synod of Belarusian Orthodox Church

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  • 10:58

The state and the Orthodox Church have many points of contact, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting with the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church in Minsk on 14 March.

First of all, the head of state thanked Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, for the invitation to take part in the meeting with the Synod.

"Solid foundations have been laid in our country for cooperation between the Belarusian Orthodox Church and our government, the state as a whole. It could not be otherwise. The history of Orthodoxy in the Belarusian lands is inextricably linked with the history of our statehood," the President said. He drew attention to the fact that many military conflicts happened here, at the junction of civilizations. In such conditions, it was extremely difficult for a nation to form and declare itself, not to mention to create a state.

"The Belarusians have succeeded. This is largely due to the spiritual core of our ancestors. Therefore, the state and the Orthodox Church have many points of contact," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

The President noted with regret that the Orthodoxy around the world is now going through difficult times. “We have to admit this. It hurts to watch the religious confrontation unfolding in brotherly Ukraine: seizure of churches, criminal prosecution of the clergy, struggle for the main shrine of our Orthodoxy - the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.”

“A tragedy is also unfolding in the Holy Land that is sacred to all world religions. Unfortunately, we see attempts to drag as many countries and nations into this conflict as possible,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The head of state emphasized that in the case of Belarus, the centers governing traditional faiths are located outside the country. “As we see today, some of them found themselves in the epicenter of armed conflicts,” he noted.

“All the bloodiest wars in the world started from religious disagreements. The religious card is still played by ideologists of color revolutions and mutinies. In such conditions, it is important to safeguard equal rights and maintain a dialogue between representatives of all faiths. After all, like former Patriarchal Exarch Filaret said, interfaith harmony is the main achievement of Belarus,” the President said.

The head of state stressed that the difficult foreign policy context, fortunately, did not affect the traditions of good neighborliness and religious tolerance of Belarusians. Ethnic and religious relations in the country are stable and steady.

At the same time, the Belarusian society is experiencing unprecedented pressure at the level of ideas and values, the President said.

"On the one hand, this is due to the unprecedented pace of technology development (I mean, first of all, artificial intelligence, modern means of communication, etc.)," Aleksandr Lukashenko explained. “On the other hand, they are pushing the ideas of permissiveness, consumerism, child-free, LGBT and other ideas that are deliberately destructive and ruinous for society and the state."

Society is struggling to develop generally accepted norms of behavior. It is more difficult for a person to make the right moral choice, the head of state noted. "Many people are looking for and do not find answers to the eternal questions: who I am, why I am, what my purpose is in general. Unfortunately, people go to church for the answers less and less," the President said.

"The Church expects people to come to God on their own. But I think that this is a reciprocal process, and the church should take a step towards them. It is important to learn to preach word of God in the way that it is understandable to everyone. The society needs pastoral guidance that touches the heart and soul, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “The state highly appreciates the universally recognized authority of our Orthodox hierarchs. Millions of our compatriots listen and heed to you."