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07 January 2024, 11:07

Lukashenko visits John the Baptist church on Christmas

MINSK DISTRICT, 8 January (BelTA) – On the bright holiday of the Nativity of Christ, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the Church of the Holy Prophet John the Baptist in the agricultural town of Shershuny, Minsk District, BelTA has learned.
In line with a tradition, the head of state lit a Christmas candle in the church and talked with the clergy and parishioners.

Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that when he had attended the opening of this church in 2020, local parishioners had invited him to visit this church again. “I promised to do so, that’s why I am here today. I have come to this bright, good church to wish Merry Christmas to all of you, all Belarusians, visitors, everyone who hears me,” said the president.
The head of state thanked the Patriarchal Exarch of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Veniamin, and all the clergy for what they do for the Belarusian people, the state, the church in the name of the life of Belarusians. “In fact, they are doing a great job. Of course, this year they will have to invest a lot of effort into making sure that the Year of Quality becomes a reality for every person. Our clergy deserve respect and appreciation for what they do,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.
Addressing the parishioners and all Belarusians, the head of state wished them, first of all, health, because everything else depends on hard work. “We have enough smart people. We also have enough kind and hardworking people. Therefore, I wish health and happiness to you. And most importantly I wish that your children bring you joy. May they always be healthy and bring you joy. Merry Christmas!” said the president.
The head of state gave the “Majestic” icon of the Mother of God to the church. The icon was made in the traditional style of the Belarusian school of icon painting that uses a unique wax tempera technique.
The president was gifted an icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. This is one of the most revered saints, who became known as the Wonderworker during his lifetime. It is believed that even after his death he continues to walk around the world and work miracles.
Metropolitan Veniamin, in turn, noted that Christmas is a joyful, solemn, but at the same time mysterious time in the life of all humanity. “The Lord shows his acts of kindness to people, to all of humanity. He came to save the entire human race. In the Year of Quality, we can enjoy these divine gifts. Yet, we need to work hard, make sure that everything is of high quality, and not only in industry, but also in the spiritual sphere,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko visited this church in the agricultural town of Shershuny right after its opening and consecration in October 2020. This church has two domes made in the Byzantine style. Its capacity is about 150 people. Its construction began in mid-2018 and was completed in the second half of 2020. The construction works were funded by a well-known philanthropist in Belarus.
“I really want this place to be not just holy, but to be revered by you, I wish you want to come here all the time,” Aleksandr Lukashenko told the parishioners back then.
He said that he had personally approved the design of the new church. “We wanted to build this church and a house for the person who will live and work here, on a hill, in a free place,” the president said in October 2020. “Over the last quarter of the century, more than 1,500 similar religious buildings have been built in the country. We will be gone, but our children will remember that we did such good things in the name of our children and our grandchildren.
In his congratulations to the Orthodox Christians of Belarus, the head of state emphasized that the bright holiday of Christmas gives believers hope for spiritual salvation, teaches boundless love and sacrifice in the name of their neighbor.
“Christian compassion and care, humbleness and goodwill have long become part of the cultural identity of the Belarusian people. We open our hearts to those who come with peace, and we ourselves are ready to share food and shelter with those in need,” the congratulations said.

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