Belarusian Telegraph Agency – September 2016
MINSK, 22 September (BelTA) – The church should be more actively involved in social processes, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at the meeting with the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church on 22 September, BelTA has learned. “We hope that the church will be more actively involved in social processes. It is very important for the Orthodox Church to continue promoting religious accord in Belarus demonstrating an example of civilized relations,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed. The President remarked that the Belarusian Orthodox Church plays a leading role in the life of the country together with other religious denominations.
“They have always coexisted peacefully thanks to the rational and balanced policy of the state and the Orthodox Church in relation to Catholics and other believers. My position is clear: we have nothing to quarrel over. As a strong and large religious denomination, the Orthodox Church should respect and support others,” the head of state is convinced. Alexander Lukashenko stressed that the education of the younger generation and the engagement of young people in various social projects is a priority for the church. “The country has created excellent conditions for education and work, is doing its best to support talented youth. However, the society regularly has to solve new tasks, and the church should take a more active part in the resolution of these tasks,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “I cannot say that the state and priests do little, but it is essential for the church to find a delicate approach in this process. The church needs proactive, well-educated, and honest personnel. Therefore, the state is providing and will provide every assistance to the ecclesiastical schools of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, in the education of priests. The state will do the same for other religious denominations.”
The head of state believes that other religious denominations should follow the example of the Belarusian Orthodox Church and train Belarusian citizens as priests. “Belarusians should serve here although foreigners are infinitely devoted to our nation and state. I have been promoting this idea, especially, in relation to Catholics, since the very first days of my presidency. And there has been big progress: many Belarusians have become Catholic priests,” Alexander Lukashenko remarked. The President emphasized that the church often helps people form a responsible attitude to life and health. “For people who cannot cope with weaknesses or addiction on their own, priest’s advice is even more important than the talks with relatives and doctor’s orders,” the head of state said.