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Christmas 2016 in Belarus

The leaving seven days in Belarus were truly a bright start of the new 2016 year. On the one hand, nature finally pleased us with really winter-like weather. On the other hand, last week in Belarus can be called the warmest in terms of manifestations of the best human qualities and charity.

Belarus, together with the whole Orthodox world, met Christmas. Traditionally on this day, President Alexander Lukashenko, with his youngest son Nikolai, was in the Minsk Holy Spirit Cathedral. The Head of State not only congratulated the people but also reminded of the values ​​that make up today's life of Belarusian society.

This is the first Christmas in the walls of the spiritual and educational center to which the Minsk Theological Academy moved from Zhirovichi. In June 2015, during a visit to Belarus, the center was consecrated by Patriarch Kirill. 

Local students have exams before the big holiday, after Christmas, and then go on vacation. Dmitry, from Brest, is one of the students. He has 5 brothers. During holidays, they all gather in the family home.

Dmitry Ustimchuk, graduate student of the Minsk Theological Academy:
But now all the students gather together and go caroling. We sing carols, go to the locals and gather some sweets.

After a festive Christmas meal service here brings together at one table both students and teachers. After 40 days of fasting it is finally time to break the fast.

Yuri Romanovsky, chef of the Minsk Theological Academy:
Baked ham is being prepared for students, for the evening table. There was a special request to make aspic with horseradish. And some also asked me to make the traditional Russian salad (Olivye). We also prepared Italian Caprese.   

Cook Yuri trained in Italy, was the chef of the best restaurants in Minsk and Moscow but preferred the academy's kitchen to secular job.

Yuri Romanovsky, chef of the Minsk Theological Academy:
There is more spirituality. People are very grateful, very good. Each of them is a personality.

In his Christmas speech to believers, President Lukashenko asked God for health, love, peace and harmony.    

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
We saw this at the example of our neighbors: if there is war in a country, no one wants to visit it. People in warring countries want only peace. Just to save lives. And people do not even think about themselves. People think about their children. Therefore, our first prayer to the Lord is that He protects us and preserves our Belarus in a way it is now. We will live in a completely democratic and law-based society as we have lived so far. And the most important thing is the right to live. Nobody needs democracy when people shoot at each other in the street and hundreds of thousands of people a year are killed.

Christmas is the time to show mercy. Support for the needy in Belarus is part of the state policy. This is the same as caring for the younger generation.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
The course that we have identified is sacred: this means the protection of rights, the creation of conditions for normal life. We will introduce all the best from what is present in the world and will be based on it. Today the Church in Belarus has become one of the mainstays of our state, which provides together with other relevant authorities and organizations the balance of our society. The Church acts and operates in conditions of a sovereign and independent state. We have always had a single and a beautiful church, which reflects the soul of the people. It is always stay like this. 

Christmas in Belarusian church