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Prayer for Belarus: ceremony at the Memorial Church of All Saints in Minsk

This week the Memorial Church of All Saints in Minsk hosted an incredibly beautiful and symbolic "Prayer for Belarus". It so happened that our country was constantly at the intersection of all the world's wars. These winds of history scattered Belarusians around the world. Many of them never returned home. Last Friday, 7 capsules with earth from places where Belarusians died during WWII were brought to Belarus. 

The symbolism of candles lit in the Church of All Saints on Friday was obvious: peace is fragile. 

Natalia Breus, CTV:
The Temple and at the same time Monument of All Saints was conceived as a place of national remembrance. In honor of all the saints means not only in honor of the heroes of faith, or men of faith, but also in honor of those who committed true deeds for the good of their country. Even if their names are unknown. And today the temple is a true open book of folk memory.

It is here where the remains of three soldiers are located. These are soldiers of the Patriotic War of 1812, the First World War and the Great Patriotic War (part of WWII in Soviet history). This is a special secluded room under the temple, just below the altar. It was decided to perpetuate there the capsules with earth from the burial places of Belarusian soldiers. Taking part in the ceremony was President Alexander Lukashenko and his sons. 

A special expedition brought to Minsk handfuls of earth from various mass graves. Many of the soldiers of the Great Patriotic died far from home, fighting for peace thousands of kilometers away from home - in Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and Hungary. The symbolic ceremony was attended by diplomats of these countries.

Archpriest Feodor Povnyi, senior priest of All Saints parish:
Belarus looks today in Europe as a Slavic Switzerland. It is a kind of a detonator peace processes.  

Belarus honors the memory of those who defended the country, and still remembers what war brings to people. The Belarusian President lit a memorial candle from the Holy Fire.

Despite the fact that Belarus is a secular state, respect for faith is one of Belarus' traditional values. Belarus is a peaceful home to people of different religions. Alexander Lukashenko talked to the leaders of four religious denominations. The country has always welcomed dialogue of people of different views and beliefs.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
This is very important to hear everyone, especially during this period. At the UN, from the Pope to all the heads of state who were there, the idea is the same: it is necessary to stop this scuffle, it is necessary to stop the war, we must let people live in peace.

Pavel, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus:
Today, we are together. We wish Belarus a peaceful sky. We want our homeland to always be an initiator of the most peaceful ideas, and you are the inspirator of them. 

Grigory Khaytovych, chairman of the Jewish religious community in the Republic of Belarus:
We can say that in recent years, thanks to sound public policy, the word "anti-Semitism" has virtually disappeared from our vocabulary. We enjoy very good relations with other faiths.

Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Archbishop, Metropolitan of Minsk-Mogilev Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church:
Belarusians are modest in terms of their character. This means they are tolerant towards others, and we are trying to perceive others as brothers or sisters. This fact contributes greatly to these good relations between the denominations.

Mufti Abu Shekir Shabanovich, chairman of the Muslim Religious Association in the Republic of Belarus:
We have a common destiny, a common life. Our paths to the Almighty go in parallel. But this does not prevent us to live in peace, harmony and strengthen our civil society.

Interfaith peace and quiet life - this is what those present were praying for.

Addressing the believers, Alexander Lukashenko said that our region has become a crossroads of many different ethnicities and cultures.

Alexander Lukashenko:
I do not know whether there is another country in the world where leaders of different religious and public organizations are not only friends with each other but also actively help each other. The beautiful thing was said by the representative of our Muslim community. When he was asked in Europe, how many Muslims there are in Belarus, he said: "About 10 million." This is truth. We, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and representatives of other faiths - all in all, there are about 10 million. Of each denomination. It is a guarantee that we will always live in peace. Because we respect each other.

Today, many parts of the world are restless and thousands of people flee the world's major hot spots.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Against the background of refugees' sinister stories, Belarusian citizens very clearly feel the warmth of home, the quiet of the blue-eyed monastery where shells do not explode, mothers don't cry and helpless children and the elderly don't die. It is indeed a great thing when the people lives in peace. When there is no peace, you don't need anything else. Ask these refugees. We can do everything with our own hands in our native Belarus. But only if there is peace and tranquility. And be assured: no matter how complex and difficult it is for us, peace and security for our citizens will be certainly provided, no matter what the cost is. Peace is the most precious thing a man can have for prosperity and progress.

Prayer for Belarus: ceremony at the Memorial Church of All Saints in Minsk