Thousands of people prayed with heads of Orthodox Churches in Minsk

Minsk, July 29, Interfax – Some 20,000 people attended the liturgy served by the heads of the Orthodox Churches in a Minsk square on Monday.

“One of the first lands to be christened after Kiev was the Polotsk land, the land you now symbolically think of as the people of Belarus,” Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said after the liturgy marking the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Christening of Rus.

The Christening of Russia caused “big changes in the people’s mentality, their morals, and public life, and also intensified the development of culture and arts, putting Russia on the same level as the European countries,” he said.

“We feed on God’s grace. If someone has not experienced this influence yet, I am calling on you all to experience it. […] If a person feels the work of grace in his heart, he will never give up this gift,” the patriarch said.

He called for strengthening the spiritual unity of the people of historical Rus.

Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia called for promoting Christian culture among young people and gave an icon to Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, who was his fellow student.

“The duty of the Orthodox Churches is to keep our true Orthodox Church, our faith. To keep it we need to think about the future, about our young people,” he said.

Metropolitan Filaret, in turn, said the people who were present at today’s liturgy are “a live icon of universal Orthodox faith.”

“Those who fought against Orthodox faith tried to make Belarus an atheist stronghold. It’s symbolical that this land, which was scarred by social catastrophes and wars, now celebrates the 1025th anniversary of the Christening of Rus,” he said.