11/27/2020, 11.51
BELARUS - RUSSIA
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Catholic bishops’ appeal meets solidarity of Russian Orthodox

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Belarusian bishops cite the Gospel and the social doctrine of the Church. They point to Pope Francis and his request for those in power to listen to their citizens and guarantee respect for human rights and civil liberties. Russian priests and laity: The violence against the population reminds us of the "bestialities of the Nazi occupiers and the Soviet executioners". Lukashenko compared to Herod in the massacre of the innocents. Signatories of the appeal include singers, journalists, scholars.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Belarusian Catholic bishops yesterday issued an appeal "to Catholics and all men of good will" over the worsening of the country’s political and social crisis. The text is published on the catholic.by website and it highlights how Belarus is going through the fourth month of unprecedented conflicts in terms of dimensions and prospects.

The appeal reads: "The violence does not stop, the blood continues to flow, society is divided. None of this augurs well for a bright future, since, as Christ said, the house that divides itself, does not remain standing (see Mt 12:25) ”.

The Catholic Church, "based on the Gospel and on social doctrine", turns to everyone for a peaceful solution to the crisis thanks to dialogue "in a spirit of love for God and charity for one's neighbour, respecting divine and human laws".

The bishops point to the intentions of Pope Francis, who, addressing the rulers of all countries, during the Angelus last September 13, asked those in power to listen to their citizens and guarantee respect for human rights and freedoms civilians.

“We also want to underline - continues the document - that the fundamental purpose of the Church is to announce the Gospel for the edification of the Kingdom of God, which is not governed by the principles of this world and has no claims on earthly power. For this reason, the Church does not carry out state functions and cannot in any way be exploited for political purposes”.

The bishops therefore invite mutual support and solidarity to build a united and undivided Belarus, remembering that "blessed are the peacemakers and those who suffer for justice, as Christ teaches us".

"It is hard to believe that all of this is happening in a peaceful country like ours", the bishops observe, "known for its capacity for tolerance and harmony between people of different religious confession and nationality ... but the good will prevail over the evil ".

Presenting the statement to journalists, the Catholic bishop of Mogilev Aleksandr Jashevskij (photo 1) observed that "this is precisely the position that the president of the Belarusian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, has held since the beginning of the difficult crisis, indicating a peaceful solution for all. Yet since August 31 he has not been able to return to his homeland ”.

Jashevskij then specified that Pope Francis's words in September were not addressed to a particular country, but reading them, "they can be fully applied to the current situation in Belarus, after a month in which the peaceful protests that gather continuously hundreds of thousands of people in our country, faced with the violence of police repressions”.

Another appeal in support of the Christians of Belarus was released on November 25, It is signed by "Catholic and Orthodox priests and lay people from Russia and various nations", "with words of solidarity, support and consolation". It was disseminated from the Pravoslavie i Mir site ("Orthodoxy and the World", where Mir also means "Peace"). Among the signatories are the very popular Russian singer-songwriter Boris Grebenshikov (photo 2), the lead singer of the DDT group Jurij Shevchuk, the journalist Zoja Svetova and well-known Orthodox and Catholic priests in Russia, along with scholars and journalists.

It recalls that the synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church had also addressed the authorities with an invitation to stop the violence against peaceful protests (when the local exarch was Metropolitan Pavel, later replaced by Venjamin).

"The testimonies of torture, humiliation and other forms of violence against those arrested are spread by many photographic reports and video recordings, and bring to mind the bestialities of the Nazi occupiers and executioners of the NKVD [Soviet secret police before the KGB] in your land ”, reads the letter, citing various cases of torture and the recent murder of Roman Bondarenko in Minsk. The authors of the text compare the actions of Aleksandr Lukashenko to those of “the biblical king Herod, who exterminated many young lives, moved only by the terror of losing power”.

“Let us pray to God for the Belarusian land, in the hope that no one will be humiliated, beaten, tortured or killed for their beliefs, we also pray for those who, obeying orders, have the power to use force and weapons against those who protest”, the signatories of the appeal conclude.

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