You are here

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko meets with Council of Catholic Bishops of Europe participants

Religious denominations must play a key role in resolving international conflicts. The head of the Belarusian state claimed when meeting the participants of the Council of Catholic Bishops of Europe on September 28, 2017.

Minsk has already hosted international events. However, it is the first time when Belarus hosts such a large-scale religious forum. Some 50 Catholic bishops from different countries have arrived in the capital of Belarus.

The forum took place in Monaco in 2016, so Minsk had to compete for the right to host such a conference.

Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Belarus, Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev, archbishop:
Various countries would like to host such a forum. We were to submit some arguments. There were plenty of them in particular friendly relations with the Orthodox church and other denominations.

The meeting with the head of the Belarusian state gives the event status of special importance. The event is at the top of the conference agenda. Although the forum is religious, the issues under discussion are a matter of concern to many countries. These are the role of youth in the modern world, economic instability, migrants, and British Brexit.

That is Western Europe is facing a grave crisis resulting in conflicts and affecting the spiritual life of the society, which is a wake-up call for the whole region.

The core idea of the meeting is to make peace wherever there are conflicts. Certainly, this regards Ukraine.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
We have been doing and will keep doing everything that depends on us so that the Minsk process and unprecedented Minsk conventions facilitate peace on Ukrainian soil.
We have confirmed our stance on the war in the Ukraine lately by emphasizing this once again. Our stance is not new still. I can tell you as representatives of the most conscientious part of our society that we proposed a way-out for European politicians to prevent aggravating the situation. Unfortunately, in spite of their agreement there followed no action. However, today when thousands of people have died, when the conflict has grown international, everybody admits that we were right. Actually, a great many of people propose the same I did when the conflict started.

The situation in Donbass remains unstable, which enhances the importance of consolidation.

Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainan Greko-Catholic church:
The church of the Ukraine (not only Orthodox and Catholic, but also Protestant) does its utmost in order to make peace that we pray for. We pray that the world known Minsk conventions would eventually be implemented.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Someone said it feels here like at home. It is not ‘like at home’, you are at home just. There are faithful to you here, those who care about you, respect you and appreciate each word you say. That is why you are at home.

Everyone who acknowledges Belarus as a sovereign and independent country can consider it home.

You are quite right giving your voice in favor of youth today. You do well as you see no future for the youth without peace and security in the whole world, primarily on this continent, the European continent, which is our responsibility.

The situation in the Ukraine is disastrous. It is a disaster, while even greater one is that we are unable to stop the war. We are unable to secure not only the future of the youth of this wonderful state, which Ukraine is, but also deprive the middle-aged and the older generation of any hope. This is evidence of the worst crisis in Europe.

Your very loud voice and appeal, a strong one, to politicians and state leaders are necessary to stop the war and increase security on the European continent until we have not lost Europe at all. We say that we have reached hot collisions in Europe. British Brexit is another dangerous precedent, which can destroy the European Union. We are advocates of unity of Europe and the European Union as we support the multipolar world.

One can judge the situation in Belarus by the participants of the meeting. The Catholic forum has gathered together orthodox priests and authorities to negotiate.

Alexander Lukashenko has even suggested that Belarus should host a meeting of the Pope with Patriarch Kirill.

Alexander Lukashenko:
The effectiveness of the meeting of the Pope and our Patriarch Kirill somewhere far away in Cuba has been touched upon here. I suppose they should think of meeting here, in Minsk. It is the place where one can discuss problems of West and East, North and South, as well as those of the whole world. In case you come to this understanding with the orthodox church, Belarusian people and I will do everything for this meeting in Minsk to be a history record.

Vinko Puljić, cardinal, head of the Bishop Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, member of European Bishop Conferences:
I am impressed by the efforts taken in Belarus to ensure peaceful coexistence of all the denominations existing in Belarus. All religions ought to satisfy human needs and craving for peace.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko meets Council of Catholic Bishops of Europe participants