BOC bishop to clerics: I do not bless participation in actions and rallies
During the protests in Belarus, Met. Gurias reminded the clergy and flock of the Dormition Lent and called to respond to modern challenges with prayer and repentance.
The hierarch of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Archbishop Gurias (Apalko) of Novogrudok and Slonim, published an appeal to the clergy and flock on the occasion of mass protests in the Republic of Belarus, in which he forbade his clerics to participate in political actions and rallies.
“Dear clergymen of the Novogrudok Eparchy, I remind you of the deacon and priestly oath you took before the Cross and the Gospel when ordained to the priesthood, and I do not bless any of you to take part in any political actions, meetings, strikes and processions,” reads the text of the BOC hierarch’s address published on the website of the Novogrudok Eparchy.
Archbishop Gurias reminded the clergy of their duty to "pacify people with sincere prayer, divine services, and perform Sacraments, and not call for enmity and violence against each other".
The bishop reminded the faithful of the Dormition Lent and called upon them to answer the challenge faced by his people with prayer, repentance and mutual forgiveness.
“In an outburst of our emotions, non-forgiveness of mutual grievances to each other, clarification of certain circumstances, we can cause irreparable harm to the peaceful Belarusian people and our dear homeland,” he wrote. “My dear flock of the Novogrudok Eparchy! I implore all of you: with prayer and repentance, patience and love for relatives and friends, answer the calls of those who want to hurt the hearts of the Belarusian people."
Archbishop Gurias urged his flock to pray not only at home and in church, but also on the way to work, and not to allow hatred or anger in their hearts.
“We will change ourselves for the better by our own repentance. Indeed, in order to be citizens of Heaven, one must first of all be worthy citizens of the earth. The choice is ours <…>. I pray to the Most Pure Lady the Virgin Mary that in these holy days of the Lent peace, prudence, brotherly love and mutual forgiveness would reign in our minds and hearts,” he concluded.
Earlier, the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church called on the people of the Republic of Belarus to end the people’s confrontation, and later it became known about the help that the Church provides to those detained and injured during the protest actions.