BARANOVICHI, 1 September (BelTA) – Churches have always had their doors open in Belarus and will always do, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko told the media in Baranovichi on 1 September, BelTA has learned.
The head of state stressed that every Belarusian should have their own way to the temple. He added that no attack on any church in the country would be tolerated.
According to the president, interfaith peace is the pride of Belarus.
Reporters said that the day before Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz was denied entry to Belarus, and none of the departments commented on the situation. The head of state stressed that this issue is being carefully studied.
“I will not say that I possess full information. It is constantly changing. We are now closely monitoring all those entering and leaving the country,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The president said that the head of the Catholic church suddenly left for Warsaw for consultations and, having received certain tasks, was returning to Belarus but got into the list of banned persons, which is common for Belarus and Russia. “He is not the only one, he is just a better known person,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko, adding that there was information that Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz might have more than one citizenship. “We are looking into the matter. I do not claim it. We want to study the issue. If everything is according to the law, we will act accordingly. It does not matter whether he is the main Catholic, the main Orthodox, or the main Muslim. He has to live by the law. If you mix church and politics and call for believers, Catholics, who are wonderful people, there is double responsibility for that,” said the head of state.
“We have not closed churches, even if they were engaged in anti-Lukashenko, anti-state propaganda. We have not closed them. On the contrary, we are trying to support and protect them. You have seen it [on Independence Square, where the Red Church is located]. Fake news said that we did not allow people into the church,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said, adding that the special police forces were protecting the prayers from the crowd of protesters.
“Whatever personalities there are (Kondrusiewicz, Lukashenko and others), the churches have always had their doors open in the country and will always do, because a prayer, believers, and their way to the temple is sacred. I have always said that every Belarusian should have their own path to the temple, and we keep it sacred,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state also noted: “We will never allow any attack of the state on the Catholic or Orthodox churches, Muslims, or Jews. Inter-denominational peace, inter-ethnic peace is our pride. We have always been proud of it.”
The president added: “All those walkouts and statements that there are half a million, a million of them and that there will be an end to the authorities will be over soon. Look, if there were a million of them, we would not be taking here right now.”