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04 May 2022, 09:01

Lukashenko unveils monument to Metropolitan Filaret

MINSK, 4 May (BelTA) – A monument to Metropolitan Filaret has been unveiled near the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk. Attending the ceremony was Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. He said that the first Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus was not only the spiritual father, but also the conscience of the nation, BelTA has learned.

Proposals to erect a monument to Metropolitan Filaret were submitted to the president in May 2021. Aleksandr Lukashenko supported these proposals. The monument was created by a team led by sculptor Andrei Khotyanovsky.

It was decided to unveil the monument on Radunitsa, a major Christian holiday when people commemorate the departed. The ceremony was attended by the clergy, Minskers and visitors to the capital city.

The head of state brought white roses, the favorite flowers of Metropolitan Filaret.

“We have unveiled a monument to the first Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, our Metropolitan Filaret. Without exaggeration, he is our outstanding contemporary, Hero of Belarus, a man who was not only a spiritual father, but also the conscience of the nation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

During his brief speech, the president repeatedly cited Metropolitan Filaret. “He would always say: Your Motherland is where you serve. And he proved by everything he did that our Belarus was his destiny, his Fatherland, and we were his huge beloved family,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

Metropolitan Filaret devoted much effort to the revival of churches, parishes, monasteries and convents, and to theological education. It was with his blessing that Holy Scripture was translated into the Belarusian language, a feast was established in honor of All Saints' Church, Belarus' relic - the Cross of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk - was recreated, the House of Mercy of the Belarusian Orthodox Church was opened.

“Using international platforms and the press, he sent a clear-cut message that the price paid by the Soviet people for victory in the Great Patriotic War was too high, and therefore peace is the greatest value for us. I am convinced that being in heaven, next to the patron saints of Belarus, he asks for peace and harmony in our beautiful land,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned another message of the clergyman. These words, which the head of state called a spiritual testament, were said by the metropolitan in August 2020 when Belarus was going through a difficult period. “The current task and duty of the nation is to preserve peace and harmony in our native land. This is our responsibility to God and to our descendants,” Metropolitan Filaret said back then.

It is no secret that the head of state had a special attitude to the Patriarchal Exarch who was his spiritual mentor and a good friend. They met not only during official events, but the president also repeatedly visited Metropolitan Filaret even after he handed over his position to Metropolitan Pavel.

Metropolitan Filaret and Aleksandr Lukashenko. An archive photo
Metropolitan Filaret and Aleksandr Lukashenko. An archive photo

After Metropolitan Filaret's death, Aleksandr Lukashenko attended the farewell ceremony and subsequently cited the clergyman in his speeches on numerous occasions.

“More than a year has passed since Metropolitan Filaret passed away. Yet, it is still difficult to talk about him in the past tense. We miss his voice, unfailing benevolence, subtle humor, wise fatherly advice and prayerful help,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Metropolitan Filaret died at the age of 86. During the monument unveiling, 86 white doves were released into the sky of the Belarusian capital city.

After the official part of the event, the president and Metropolitan Veniamin visited the cathedral where they lit candles at the Crucifixion. Metropolitan Veniamin presented an icon from the personal collection of Metropolitan Filaret to the head of state.

“Our main task is to carry on the work of Metropolitan Filaret,” Metropolitan Veniamin said.

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