BOC clarifies its position on believers' participation in protests

The BOC calls for prudence and discretion. Photo: REUTERS / Vasily Fedosenko

The BOC stressed the statements of its representatives regarding the present situation in Belarus reflect their personal view, not the official position of the Church.

On August 21, 2020, the Synodal Department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church for Church-Society Relations published an explanation on the participation of believers in the country's social and political life on the BOC website.

The Church noted that its official position regarding the events taking place in the country, which "cause anxiety and serious concerns for the further preservation of peace and mutual understanding in the public life of our Homeland," reads the Appeal to the people of the Republic of Belarus on ending the popular confrontation on August 15.

“Any statements in connection with the current difficult situation in the Republic of Belarus made by individual representatives of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, both the clergy and laity, are a form of expression of their personal civic position and reflect exclusively the personal view of the declarants on what is happening,” the explanation emphasizes. "All these statements do not reflect the official position of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, and they should not be perceived or interpreted in the interests of any party."

The Belarusian Church reminded the clergy of their promise made before God not to take part in the political life of society, "so as not to be a temptation and a subject of dividing people".

“The Orthodox Church considers it unbecoming to its mission to call for participation or non-participation in political actions but strongly condemns all types of violence, incitement to hatred and intolerance directed at anyone, be it doctors, police, teachers, government officials or any other social groups,” says the explanation. “The Church strongly condemns any form of violence and expresses the hope that the competent authorities will investigate all egregious cases of violence. Fulfilling the Saviour's commandment about peacemaking (Matthew 5: 9), the Church calls for the speedy restoration of peace, unity and mutual understanding."

The BOC calls on believers and “everyone who is not indifferent to the future of Belarus and its people” to join the common church prayer for granting peace, harmony, tranquility and prosperity to the Belarusian people, and “today this call is the main appeal of our Church”.

“As for participation in public life and questions of our own will, we ask each person to show reason and discretion so that our faith, hope in God and church symbols are not used by anyone as a tool in achieving political or other earthly goals, far from the high spiritual and moral ideals that are preached to us by the Saviour of the world Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. Keep faith in God's mercy, stay in hope and kindle in your hearts love for God and your neighbours! Take care of yourself and those who are dear to you, do not give in to provocations, crafty appeals and promises, but in every matter act in accordance with the Gospel moral law and the legislation of the Republic of Belarus,” resumes the explanation of the Synodal Department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church for Church-Society Relations.

As the UOJ reported, the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church called for an end to the confrontation in Belarus.

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