By Kostas Onisenko
The disputed President of Belarus believes that the opposition will raise the issue of the Autocephaly of the local Church, which – according to him – will lead to an inter-religious conflict.
Alexander Lukashenko, according to the official count, won the presidential election in Belarus a week ago. During a meeting with members of the country’s Security Council, he criticised the proposals of the opposition. Through his speech, he clearly aimed at influencing Belarusians, most of whom feel very close to Russia and the Russians.
Alexander Lukashenko argued that the opposition was actually proposing ousting Russia from a number of fields, such as the economic, military, linguistic, and religious field. He also raised a number of issues, such as the language issue, and he implied that the opposition intended to ban the use of the Russian language in Belarus.
As for the church issue, Lukashenko spoke of the opposition’s intention to restore the Autocephalous Church of Belarus as a counterweight to the “exarchate” of the Moscow Patriarchate. “We have always been proud of the fact that we have interfaith peace. No one never bothers a soul. Neither the Orthodox nor the Catholics. Muslims, Jews and [people of different religions] live happily here. We will now be involved in a war, that is an inter-religious and, given the situation, an interethnic conflict. This will happen in order to eradicate and disgrace the things we are proud of,” Lukashenko said.
It is recalled that the Church of Belarus as well as the Moscow Patriarchate, to which it belongs, have recognised the result of the elections some hours after the end of the vote-counting process. The first who spoke openly of possible recognition of the Autocephaly of the Church of Belarus was Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine. In a post he made, Metropolitan Epifaniy said that Belarus met all the conditions to ask from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be included in the Tomos of the Autocephaly and that it must do so.