Government Bodies
Flag Sunday, 14 July 2024
All news
All news
02 November 2020, 14:03

Lukashenko: Belarus will always be committed to interreligious peace

MINSK, 2 November (BelTA) – The state will always be committed to interreligious peace in Belarus, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, on 2 November, BelTA informs.

The head of state and the leader of the Belarusian Orthodox Church agreed to meet in person to discuss pending issues at the beginning of October t the ceremony to open a new church in the agrotown of Shershuny, Minsk District.

“You know that we value the interreligious peace that we managed to establish during a quarter of a century. Maybe, it it's a bit immodest, but I am proud that we could do it in the period when I have been serving our Fatherland. I appreciate it very much, it is a personal thing. You should understand that we will not give up on this interreligious peace. We will always be committed to its,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Visiting churches, I have always said that the Orthodox Church is the pillar of this peace. Just because it is a gigantic church if we compare it with other religious denominations.”

According to the head of state, many religious denominations and organizations are registered in Belarus, including Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant organizations, communities of Old Believers, Jewish associations, Muslim and Buddhist communities. “We have managed to preserve this balance in the face of all events which were going on and are going on, especially in Minsk. Of course, there were some mistakes on behalf of the authorities and on behalf of our religious denominations. But (I want you and others to hear and to understand me) if any public or religious organization in Belarus tries to ruin the state, of course, I will try to respond. As the head of state in accordance with the Constitution, I must protect this state, this is my primary obligation,” the president emphasized.

Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled the situation with Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz who “went to Poland and was instructed on how to destroy the country”. The head of state warned that such things are inadmissible.

The president added that, apart from the Orthodox Church, the Belarusian state is in close cooperation with other religious denominations. He mentioned the construction of a mosque in Minsk as an example.

“Muslims have never posed problems to us. I often say that almost 100% of Muslims always supported the government and me as president at all elections. We will never say what the president of France has started to say recently about the freedom of speech and religious feelings: what will you get in the country if you start criticizing Muslims? Maybe, he needs mediators between him and Muslims? I can help him with it because I have very good relations with Muslims. But I am absolutely against messing with the feelings of believers. I will never throw stones at believers. My position has always been like that: every person needs to find their own road to church,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In his opinion, the state and the society should take into account the fact that the majority of citizens choose a certain religious denomination, in case of Belarus – the Orthodox Church. “All communities should respect that. This truth helped us establish balance in the society. Our big Orthodox Church has never offended smaller denominations, there have never been any clashes and disagreements in the country in spite of anybody's wishes. Our people will not accept that: they want to pray in peace and to do their job,” the president is convinced.

The president also spoke about the pandemic. He remarked that the consequences of the coronavirus spread had a serious impact on the economy of the state and the church. “Parishes became poorer, because fewer people come to church. Although we did not close churches and will not close them, in difficult situations people always pray for God's help. What does it mean to close churches in difficult situations? We did not close churches in the time of war. Therefore, we will never do it. It is up to every person to decide: if they want to pray, they can go to church alone or with their families. In this case we are ready to show understanding. The government needs to mull over this issue and to support the church in difficult times,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

Subscribe to us
Recent news from Belarus