LAST UPDATE: 15:20
By Kostas Onisenko
The Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kiyv and all Ukraine, called on the people of Belarus to protect their democratic and free future and to establish an autonomous Orthodox Church.
With this message, Metropolitan Epifaniy addressed the Belarusians on his personal account on Facebook. He recalled the common ecclesiastical and state course of the Ukrainian and Belarusian people and stated that the Orthodox Church of Belarus had all the prerequisites to ask the Mother Church to be included in the Tomos of the Autocephaly.
Metropolitan Epifaniy posted his message in two languages: in Ukrainian and in Belarusian. At the same time, the text was accompanied by a photo of the “unofficial” flag of Belarus, in red and white colours, and not with the flag established in the country by the former USSR, which is used to this very day as the official flag. The “unofficial” flag is nowadays the symbol of the protesters who continue for the fifth consecutive day to demonstrate in the streets of Belarus. They are protesting against fraud in the presidential elections that took place last Sunday.
Thousands of protesters have been arrested, hundreds of them were injured and at least one person was killed during clashes with the police. It is recalled that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow was the first religious leader to congratulate Alexander Lukashenko on his “victory” in the elections. The message that Metropolitan Epifaniy sent to the Belarusians states the following:
“These days, the people of Belarus are suffering greatly – our neighbors, with whom we have had many centuries of common ecclesiastical and state history (…). Its non canonical annexation by Moscow has had and continues to have tragic consequences for Orthodoxy throughout Eastern Europe. With the will of the faithful and with the blessing of our common Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church of Ukraine has been established among the Autocephalous Sister-Churches. The Orthodox Church of Belarus has the same reasons and right to request a Tomos (of Autocephaly) by the Mother Church whenever it wishes.
However, regardless of matters of jurisdiction, we, as Orthodox Christians, form a single Church of Christ. Therefore, we, as the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, cannot remain indifferent and not sympathize, when the future of the people of Belarus, the independence of the state, the freedom and security of the citizens, their lives are in danger,” he reports.