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07 January 2023, 11:21

Lukashenko goes to Saint Elisabeth temple complex on Christmas Day

MINSK, 7 January (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has come to the Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk for Orthodox Christmas, BelTA has learned.

Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee Vladimir Kukharev, Commissioner for Religions and Nationalities Aleksandr Rumak, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus Veniamin, and the convent's mother superior Euphrosyne welcomed the head of state in the convent.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said with a smile: “Happy Christmas! After slush such frosty weather kills everything bad.”

On the way to the temple named after the sanctifier John of Shanghai and San Francisco Aleksandr Lukashenko was informed about the construction of new facilities on the convent's territory and about the beautification of the complex.

In the temple the president lit a Christmas candle and congratulated the parishioners on Orthodox Christmas. “It is truly a light holiday. And Orthodoxy is just an occasion for all the lay people, all the citizens of Belarus with Orthodox and Catholic Christian [faith], for Muslims – for the entire world to celebrate this light holiday. But this day and this holiday are special for us, for Orthodox believers. This is why from the bottom of my heart I'd like to congratulate you on this holiday and wish the key thing – strong health,” the head of state said. “I wish you god's blessing and very strong health.”

After the Christmas service Aleksandr Lukashenko talked to the clergy and discussed the development of the convent complex with them once again. “It is a city within a city. An Orthodox city. In spring we should take a proper walk here,” the president was delighted as he announced his forthcoming visit.

The head of state was gifted a tea set made by local artisans. “But everyone says that we cannot make it, that we lack some paint for it. I've recently given instructions to make a tea set and it was made only with the tenth attempt! They could learn from this one! Well done! Just the place to order from,” Aleksandr Lukashenko was grateful.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also talked to the parishioners, who had gathered outside the temple in anticipation of the president's arrival. “I wish you good mood! I wish you well, peace, and most importantly strong health! I wish to have this kind of frosty weather for a week. So that it would kill all the germs. I wish you success!” he said.

The convent was established in 1999 in honor of the holy and righteous martyr, Grand Princess Elisabeth. It is home to over 100 nuns now. There are five temples on the premises. The convent patronizes a nursing home for children with disabilities and special needs, psychoneurological nursing homes No.1 and No.3 for the elderly and people with disabilities, psychoneurological nursing home No.4, the national applied science center for psychiatric health, and a number of other medical institutions and social and pedagogical ones.

The convent complex also includes two residential wings for nuns, a building for social rehabilitation workshops, workshops for artisans specializing in church art, a Sunday school building, and a residential wing for pilgrims.

The spiritual education center Kovcheg [Ark] started working in the convent in 2022. It primarily caters to young Belarusians and endeavors to inspire a worldview based on spiritual values, moral values, patriotic values, and traditional family values. The center's operation is also geared towards enhancing public morals, towards the restoration and development of historical and cultural legacy, rebirth of Orthodox Christian traditions.

The government supported the convent's efforts to build the spiritual education center. The president ordered exemption from customs duties and VAT on the goods the convent imported in order to build and equip the spiritual education center.

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