MINSK, 7 January (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko lit a Christmas candle near the Icon of the Mother of God of Minsk at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk to mark Christmas celebrated by Orthodox Christians on 7 January, BelTA informs.
The Belarusian head of state met with Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Pavel, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus. Attending the event were also the laity, representatives of Orthodox brotherhoods and sisterhoods, and Sunday school students.
Alexander Lukashenko said that on his way to the church he was thinking about many different holidays. “The criterion of their diversity is people's attitude to these holidays,” he said. "Some mark Day of October Revolution or the 1st of May, while others use these days to run their own affairs. There are, however, holidays that are celebrated by everyone. These are universal holidays. We go out to celebrate them. These are both social and, as we say, spiritual holidays. Some social holidays are filled with spirituality as well. These are Victory Day, Independence Day, Women's Day,” said the head of state.
He stressed that such spiritual holidays as Christmas or Easter are celebrated by all the people. “These holidays are the days of invigoration and inspiration for the people,” the president said. In his words, these holidays are marked on different days by everyone, regardless of the religious confession.
“Our greatest achievement is that everyone in our country celebrate this holiday,” the Belarusian leader added.
Metropolitan Pavel extended Christmas greetings to Alexander Lukashenko. “Today we are speaking about Christmas as not just an international holiday but the holiday of all eternity. As long as people live on earth, it will be the greatest holiday for them,” he said.
The Metropolitan wished the head of state “God's help in his service, strong health and long life.”
The President donated the Icon of the Nativity of Christ to the Belarusian Orthodox Church. The icon was made using unique wax tempera techniques. The icon painting is similar to the Polotsk fresco and is traditional to the Belarusian school of icon painting of the 12th century.
Alexander Lukashenko got the Icon of the Savior as a gift from Metropolitan Pavel who brought the icon from Jerusalem. The icon was blessed in Holy Sepulcher Church.More about President