26 September 2016

God bless the land of Saint Euphrosyne

From the Belarusian Telegraph Agency, with a translation by Pravoslavie.RU:
Modern Belarus is fulfilling a God-given peacekeeping mission, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Pavel, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, said when speaking at the 5th Belarusian People's Congress, BelTA has learned.

“I believe that Belarus has a special mission given to us by God, and the country's leadership has not hesitated to make proper use of this divine gift. In light of the tragic events in the neighboring country, Minsk became a platform for peacemaking initiatives. It is here, in Belarus, that the settlement is being sought to the most difficult international problems,” Metropolitan Pavel said.

Exarch considers that this role is a result of the course of history. “In the 20th century, the Belarusian people walked their own Golgotha. Wars, repressions, all sorts of troubles befell Belarus. Our people survived the crucible of suffering, and this is why we know the value of peace and the price of human life,” Metropolitan Pavel stressed.

The Hierarch emphasized that there is no hostility and confrontation between people, including between representatives of different religious denominations and social groups. “Of course, we understand that this is not just a happy coincidence. On the one hand, this is the result of the relevant policy of the state, and on the other, this shows that the society has certain moral values. The Belarusian Orthodox Church is ready to do everything to ensure that peace strengthen in our land, and that the relations between people develop based on the principles of mutual understanding, mutual respect, trust and mutual support. We constantly pray for peace, and preach the need to cherish this precious gift,” the Patriarchal Exarch noted.

He also said that responsible interaction between Church and State is a guarantee of people's well-being and prosperity. “I rejoice in the fact that over the past decade Belarus has developed a stable system of Church-State relations, which gives us the possibility to create and work together to achieve civil peace and harmony,” Metropolitan Pavel said.

He expressed gratitude to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko “for the words in the defense of Christian values. I believe that this is a very courageous, bold but conscious and meaningful position. Nowadays such state position is extremely important despite the fact that it is sometimes at odds with the outside world because we see aggressive secularism and a tendency to abandon traditional spiritual and moral values gaining strength in a number of countries,” Metropolitan Pavel said.
It is to be recalled, that Belarus under Lukashenko was one of four countries to voluntarily disarm all of its nuclear weapons when it achieved independence from the Soviet Union – the other three being the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and post-apartheid South Africa. Now that the Ukraine is again attempting to regain its nuclear arsenal, gripped as it is in extremism in its fratricidal struggle against its own Russian-speaking population, the role of Belarus as peacemaker becomes all the more vital.

In marked contradistinction to its southern neighbour, Belarus has adopted in its language policies and preferred reading of history, a cultural and civilisational affinity for the Russian mir which coexists with a multi-confessional civic patriotism on the one hand, and a repudiation of the extremes of ethnic and interracial hatred on the other. And the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church has been given the task of witnessing to and building the harmony between state and society, in the sort of virtuous cycle that was hinted at by the proponents of classical Orthodox political thinking. The Great Patriotic War has become, in the official Belarusian history, a point of civic solidarity with its neighbours and with its own Jewish population – ironically, the basis for its modern status as a neutral state uniquely poised to act as a broker of peace.

God bless and grant strength and prosperity to the people and land under the protection and patronage of Saint Euphrosyne! For He knows that in this uncertain world of ours, we have great need of such states as can exert a pacifying and stabilising influence on their neighbours.

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