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Belarus President: 2017 is a watershed year

Christians all over the world celebrate Easter these days. The coincidence of different calendars is quite rare. This is the case when a special mood reigns in all the churches and prayer houses of Belarus. Festive services began on 15 April and believers greeted the next morning with the words: "Christ is risen!"

Easter Sunday was celebrated in the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Belarus' town of Baran. The Belarusian head of state also visited the Easter service. Alexander Lukashenko donated the icon "Jesus Christ the Almighty" as a gift to the church. It is made in the style of the Vetkovsky school of icon painting.

In turn, the Archbishop of Vitebsk and Orsha Dmitry presented the head of state with the icon of Alexander Nevsky. After that, the President, together with his son Nikolai, lit a candle and attended the festive liturgy.

The Head of State thanked clergymen for their work. Alexander Lukashenko noted that Belarus will cope with all difficulties, and 2017 should become a turning point. The President stressed that such spiritual events do unite people.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I would like to thank all the clergymen, Metropolitan Pavel, for the work they are doing in the name of the Belarusian people and our neighbors. Secondly, it may seem strange to you, although not entirely, because today is the day of all Christians, let us as the largest confessions, the largest one (the Orthodox) send from this church our greetings to Catholic Christians who are also celebrating this great holiday today. It is really a great and bright holiday, no matter how someone may try to eclipse it.

I want to address all my people, countrymen and wish you good health. We all can cope with all these difficulties about which we just spoke. We have no other choice. And this year will be a turning point.

After the festive liturgy, Alexander Lukashenko talked with parishioners. The President knows the problems of local residents so the President paid much attention to the economic potential of the region. Plans include the development of infrastructure and construction of housing. The main requirement of the head of state is to provide local residents with decent work. To do this, Belarus needs to more actively involve investors. The results of this work will be summed up at the government meeting.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Once, as you know, it was one of the developed regions. Here, Soviet strategic aviation was based. The military left, leaving everything behind. And since then, I will not say that we have done much, but we somehow tried to give people jobs. Investors are coming, we will develop production facilities. Believe me, we basically will remove the problems that exist today in the Orsha district. You will be asked: it is necessary to get used to the fact that people have to go to work. It is not job that looks for people but it's people who need to go look for a job.

We will develop small settlements, especially where there is infrastructure. We do not want to move the entire population to Minsk from the whole Belarus, as it happened in Russia in the case of Moscow. Why can't people live here if they have a decent job? These are beautiful and comfortable places. Therefore, we will build housing in these places. We will hold a government meeting here, on the spot, and government members will come here to attend that meeting. But you also need to do something. It's no good that we can't bring in order such beautiful places, which are convenient for people's life. Of course, it's not because this is my homeland. My homeland is the entire Belarus today. But this place deserves its development. Live long, I wish good health to you. Believe me, we will resolve all problems.

In conclusion, the President once again congratulated everyone on the bright holiday. On this day, despite the bad weather, the church was more crowded than ever. Everyone strives to pray for the health of loved ones and well-being at Easter. And according to the ancient tradition, everyone could try themselves in the role of a bell ringer. This is the only time of the year when bells can sound at any time of the day.

Belarus President: 2017 is a watershed year