Exarch of Belarus about protests: Let’s stop this enmity and hatred!
The Head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslawye, exhorted the Belarusians to prudence, peace, possible dialogue and harmony.
In view of the ongoing protests that gripped Belarus in the wake of presidential elections, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslawye, called on the opposing sides to stop and cool off.
Addressing various representatives of the Belarusian society, the Head of the Orthodox Church of Belarus noted that “today we did not anticipate being affected by this trouble, when relatives and friends could stand against each other,” TUT.BY reports.
Vladyka asked "the defenders of our homeland, who are tasked to defend the people, not to measure their power and their capabilities in relation to those who think today that there is another way but do not know how to take it right."
He also appealed to “parents whose children go to the barricades”: “I would like to exhort them to tell their children that there is another way – the path of peace and harmony – to be followed in order to preserve peace and unanimity in our homeland”.
The hierarch also appealed to the authorities, asking them to think about what can and should be done today to get out of the current situation.
“I would like to appeal to those who came to Belarus to show off here, to incite enmity and hatred here: return to your homes, do not kindle the flames of enmity and hatred in this land,” Vladyka Pavel added. “Our Belarusian nation has gone through so many troubles, sorrows, and wars that, probably, will go far among many other generations and peoples. Let the Belarusian people live on their own and choose the path along which they will move on.”
He noted that he does not want to condemn either of the sides and realizes that there are “other forces, the dark forces and their servants, who live by sowing enmity and hatred among humans and, perhaps, receive some dividends from this. But we live in this country. And I would like to wish that peace, unanimity and harmony will continue to remain in our blessed land."
The hierarch exhorted the clergy to continue praying to the Lord to help Belarus get out of the current crisis.
“Let's all stop together, let’s put a stop to this enmity and hatred. Because as long as passions rage in us, we cannot make any correct decision. Only with a cool head and fervent prayer can we find a solution to what worries us. Yes, there are outstanding issues, but they can be solved and must be solved not through confrontation or, God forbid, bloodshed again. (...) May God prevent something worse to happen. Therefore, it is necessary to stop, to calm down for everyone: both one side and the other side – and all together to resolve this situation,” called on Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslawye.
On the eve of the presidential elections, Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslawye called on all citizens of the country to maintain mutual respect, not to succumb to provocative calls and not to embark on the path of violence and confrontation. However, on the election day, August 9, mass protests sparked in Belarus, which continue to this day. The security forces use force against the demonstrators; as a result of the clashes, hundreds of people – both among the protesters and security forces – have received various injuries.