Whether Belarusians have their Orthodoxy?

Vilnius — His statement, the Primate of the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchal Exarch of all Belarus made 3 January 2017 in an interview with Orthodox TV “Soyuz”. The words of Metropolitan Paul, has caused a mixed reaction in social networks. The leadership of Belarus, in turn, tries not to give harsh comments about it.

The opinion of the Metropolitan

The head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC), which is subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) expressed the opinion that Belarus does not need a national Church. He compared the idea of a national Church with the temptation of eve by the devil. “The same thing happens, say, you see how cool that the Church was national, its… Today, under the pretext of freedom, independence — are trying to impose a new idea that brings people together and divides us,” said Church leader.

In this context, he also spoke about the “Russian world”: “When we talk about the Russian world, there is no policy. We are talking about those who lived in those days — about Rousseau, who came from the Dnieper font, having one faith, one Church, one culture, one script, one language”.

Protests on the Internet

The words of the head of the BOC has sparked discussion on the Internet and the media. Orthodox priest from Minsk Alexander Shramko believes the words of Metropolitan of Paul the “short-sighted”. How then to treat all other Orthodox churches — the Georgian, Serbian, Romanian, asks Shramko. According to him, it is normal that the country had a Church that she was in good relations with the churches of other States. “It’s a total tradition of the Orthodox Church, it is a natural process. Conversely, if the steering center of the Church is in another country, this mistrust creates tension,” — said the priest. A political analyst Uladzimir Matskevich expressed more categorically: “the Presence in Belarus of the Russian Orthodox Church is a threat to sovereignty.”

At the discussion site talks.by there were also critical comments about this: “it is unfortunate that Orthodox priests is to pray for the souls of parishioners involved in politics, and very unsuccessfully, I must be wiser”. “Don’t need religion to mix with politics. Patriarch Kirill hate to see next to Putin at any meetings and meetings. His place in the Temple.”

On the website of the independent newspaper “Nasha Niva” were such comments: “Without a national Belarusian Church will not be a national of the Belarusian state”, “Comrade Paul forgot that the principle of construction of Orthodox churches, the particularity. It means every country, people have the right to their independent Orthodox Church”.

Long-standing debate

With the thesis of necessary existence in Belarus national Orthodox Church, agree co-chair of the party “Belarusian Christian democracy” Pavel Severinets, an Orthodox by religion. As for the Primate of the BOC, the politician pays attention that the Bishop appointed by the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill and sent to Belarus from Russia in 2013. “He still does not understand the specifics of Orthodoxy in Belarus. It seems that Christianity, which appeared in Moscow and Orthodoxy in Belarus is the same. In fact, Christianity is older, more democratic and open to other faiths than the Russian version, prone to xenophobia and chauvinism,” — said Seviarynets.

According to him, these are two different Orthodox churches, but the Church is not a state and not a political party. Therefore, the question of the national Cathedral of the Church decided, through long consultations to peacefully and without conflict it all happened more or less naturally.

The President’s reaction

On 7 January, during a visit to Holy spirit Cathedral in Minsk, Alexander Lukashenko spoke quietly about the national Church. According to him, “life will put everything in its place”. “You should never run ahead of the engine. We absolutely do not impede the fact that we are fraternal Nations — Russians, Ukrainians, and other peoples and nationalities who live in our States, in the bosom of Orthodoxy are together”, — said the President of Belarus.

At the same time, said political analyst Valery Karbalevich, head of Belarus would like very much to BPC were more independent and if they did not obey him, but at least they were controlled. But to go far in this direction Lukashenko would be difficult. This, he said, would be to conflict with the ROC and, hence, and Russia. Second, you can start moving in this direction, but to get a negative result, as seen on the example of Ukraine. “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the path of autocephaly received support from the state, but even supporters of independence are not in a hurry to leave that Church, which is under the Moscow Patriarchate. And this led to serious division in society,” says Karbalevich.

According to the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Belarus, believers consider themselves to be 58.9 per cent of the population. 82% — Orthodox, 12% Catholics, 6% other 23 faiths, including Muslims, Protestants, Jews, Uniates, and others.