Belarusian Orthodox Church abroad: anathema on Lukashenko
by Vladimir Rozanskij

In the document, published in Toronto, the president is termed a "dictator", "executioner of the Belarusian people" and "possessed by the devil". The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is chaired by Archbishop Svyatoslav Login and is linked to the Ukrainian Church recognized by Constantinople. In Minsk demonstrations, strikes and layoffs.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Coab) has published a solemn anathema against President Lukashenko, calling him "former president of Belarus", "self-proclaimed" (samozvanets, a historical term for Russian rioters), " dictator" and "executioner of the Belarusian people "and declaring him" possessed by the devil ", as reported by the Belarusian section of Radio Svoboda.

The COAB is a set of Belarusian Orthodox parishes distributed in various countries (United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia, today also in patria) that joined together while in exile during the Soviet years, proclaiming themselves an autocephalous Church, not recognized by the others Orthodox churches of the world.

It is presided over by Archbishop Svyatoslav (Login, photo 1), born in Cernigov in Ukraine, where in the early 1990s he became a priest of the Ukrainian Patriarchate of Filaret (Denisenko), later he joined the new Ukrainian autocephalous Church recognized by Constantinople, and therefore by Alexandria and Cyprus. Svyatoslav resides in New York and carries the Belarusian title of Novogrudsk.

The anathema against Lukashenko (photo 2) was pronounced on November 22 during a solemn liturgy in the church of St. Kirill of Turovsk (an ancient bishop of primitive Rus', now in Belarusian territory) in the Canadian city of Toronto, where many Belarusians live . The official text states that the archbishop and his priests pray "for the health of the victims and inmates, and for the eternal salvation of the peaceful people killed during the protests, for the defenders of Belarus, whose sufferings and sacrifices will not remain without fruit, and inspire compatriots in the fight against evil and falsehood in favour of the good, freedom and independence of our homeland ”. Lukashenko was excommunicated and expelled from the Orthodox Church, to which he does not formally belong.

The autocephaly of the Church, in imitation of the Ukrainian one, is one of the worst scenarios feared by the disputed president, who in May 2019 had two priests of the COAB, Father Leonid Akalovitch and Hieromonk Vikentij (Kavalkov) convicted by a court in Minsk of "organizing mass subversive political actions" and an attack on the state after gathering a crowd in Freedom Square, in the centre of Minsk, to recite an Orthodox rosary (moleben) in memory of the victims of Stalinism.

In the meantime, protest marches continue in the country: also on Sunday 22 November they led to over 300 arrests and various violence by the Omon in Minsk. Protesters gathered by the tens of thousands, divided into small groups in various areas of the capital, to try to escape blockades and police raids. The processions have formed in the courtyards of apartment buildings in almost the whole city, and this will be the format chosen also in the next protest events.

The current phase of the demonstrations must also face the second wave of the spread of Covid-19, which is proving very intense also in Belarus, and therefore the need to comply with health prevention measures. Many people have lost their jobs in the country due to protests and strikes, which have resulted in mass layoffs and job vacancies. Many concerns derive from the almost total blockage of the production and sale of studded tires for cars, without which it will be very difficult to travel on winter roads.

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